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Skiing Afghanistan
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
23 Jun 2014

The Bamiyan Valley is one of the most beautiful places Afghanistan has to offer but it is best known for the destruction of the ancient Buddha statues by the Taliban in 2001. Before skiing arrived to Bamiyan, winter was a desolate time of unemployment. Now, skiing has attracted visitors and is one sign of repose.

For most Afghans, skiing is a very alien concept and there is a severe lack of gear and equipment for all new ski enthusiasts. Many villagers make their own poles and skis out of wood with metal sheeting shaped and nailed to the skis. The Bamiyan ski club and the Aga Khan Foundation are determined to attract more people and spectators to the sport and enable more and more locals to enroll in this new unlikely activity. To promote skiing and tourism in the region, the Bamiyan Ski Club organizes the Afghan Ski Challenge every year in March. The event gathers skiing enthusiasts from Afghanistan and Switzerland.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 011
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
20 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Ski equipment in a guest house in Bamiyan, where the Afghan Ski Challenge takes place every year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 009
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
19 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Sultan Ali, 18, with homemade skis made out of wood. "Our village, Jawzeri, consists of approximately 65 houses. Around 30 people from here are trying to learn how to ski, but only 10 really know how to do it well. We don't have any proper equipment and nobody is here to teach us, so we simply ski on the slopes around our village with our homemade skis made out of wood."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 010
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
19 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Sultan Ali, 18, with homemade skis made out of wood. "The first time we saw skis in our lives was in 2011 when foreigners from the US and Switzerland came to Bamiyan to ski here. We saw their equipment and wanted to try it as well."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 008
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
19 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Sultan Ali, 18, with homemade skis made out of wood. "Our village has never received proper ski equipment, but we wanted to learn it and had to be creative. So one boy in the village had the idea to make wooden skis with plastic underneath. We cut all the wood ourselves and shape it, it takes two days to finish one pair of skis."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 007
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
19 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Sultan Ali, 18, "Most villagers in Jawzeri think that skiing is a very good sport and exercise. We are really keen to learn and keep practicing, and our biggest dream is to have proper equipment one day and represent the village - or even Afghanistan - in different ski competitions."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 004
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
19 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Sultan Ali, 18, "Here in Jawzeri you can find a lot of enthusiasm and motivation for skiing, despite that fact that we don't get any support for this new sport. In Bamiyan village, for example, there is a group of young Afghans who participate in the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place every year. They have proper skis, equipment and support from some foreigners - hopefully we will be able to participate one day, too."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 006
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
19 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Villagers stand and watch the skiing. Sultan Ali, 18, "Here in Jawzeri, in our village, we only have one real pair of skis and boots which we got from foreigners some months ago. But that's all we have, we have no ski boots, no skins for the skis to be able to walk up the mountains and no poles. At least the skis we can make out of wood and plastic."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 005
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
19 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Sultan Ali, 18, "Some older people in our village, let's call them the traditional ones, are a bit skeptical about skiing. We don't have any doctors here and if we fall and get injured we would have a serious problem. At the beginning, most of them didn't like the idea of skiing at all, but now they start to open up and pray with us to get proper equipment."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 002
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
19 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Sultan Ali, 18, tries on his homemade wooden skis. "We are the first ones who started making wooden skis. Nowadays we have around 10 wooden skis in our village. The second village is called Chap Dara and they also produce their own skis made out of wood...but here at Jawzeri we were the first".

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Skiing in Afghanistan 003
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
19 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Sultan Ali, 18, "Some months ago, there was a young man from New Zealand who came to the village with proper ski equipment and taught some people here how to ski. He used to come 2-3 times a week, he worked temporarily in Bamiyan. But now he has returned to New Zealand and nobody really comes to Jawzeri as we are quite off the beaten track."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 001
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
19 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Sultan Ali tries on his homemade wooden skis. "Our wooden skis are not professional at all but they do the job. The bad thing is that we don't have skins to put underneath so that we can walk up the hills easily. We don't have ski-lifts in Afghanistan, so at least we would need some ski skins like the boys have in the Bamiyan village." Sultan Ali (18 years, Jawzeri, Afghanistan)

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Skiing in Afghanistan 029
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans gets ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge which takes place once a year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 028
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Spectators from the village watch the group of young Afghans skiing in Bamiyan province, Afghanistan.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 022
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Member of the Afghanistan ski team Sajjad Husaini, 22, says, "Skiing in Afghanistan was introduced by American and Swiss foreigners about 5 years ago. All the equipment we have here in Bamiyan was brought by foreign skiers, and now we have almost 20 skis and proper equipment as poles, boots and skins which is fantastic for us."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 023
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place once a year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 012
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Member of the Afghanistan ski team Sajjad Husaini, 22, "Here in Bamiyan you can ski from January to March and every winter foreigners come and teach us how to ski properly. Four of us locals are now even working as ski guides for other Afghans interested in learning how to ski. There is no test you have to pass here in Bamiyan, you become a guide by experience."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 027
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Sajjad Husaini, 22, member of the Afghan ski team, "We, the serious skiers from Bamiyan, want to become professional skiers and guides and represent Afghanistan in international competitions one day. We have been participating at the annually Afghan Ski Challenge here in Bamiyan and I even won the boys challenge last year. Unfortunately, there is no ski federation, infrastructure or real support yet in Afghanistan."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 026
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Sajjad Husaini, 22, member of the Afghan ski team, "We, the ski guys from Bamiyan, have been skiing for around 3 years now and teach more and more to locals who want to get into skiing. Many of our foreign friends from Switzerland, the US, New Zealand and Italy support us, and the Afghan Ski Challenge is getting more and more popular every year. We have hope that the Afghan ski business will get big and flourishing in the future."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 025
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place once a year. Member of the team Rahimullah Attayeezada, 20, said "From January to March we go skiing regularly here in Bamiyan, we have to train for the Afghan Ski Challenge. This year was the 4th ski challenge and there are also participants from other countries. But usually the locals win as we are faster running up the hill."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 021
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. Rahimullah, 20, "I am very happy to have the possibility to ski here in Bamiyan, and I am aware that most of the people here don't have access to this sport and lack proper equipment. Now even the girls participate at the Afghan Ski Challenge, we have a boys and a girls competition. Believe me, that is big step forward for my country."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 024
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place once a year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 020
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place once a year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 019
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place once a year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 018
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan A young villager watches the group of Afghans skiing.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 017
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Spectators watch the group of young Afghans skiing in Bamiyan province, Afghanistan.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 016
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place once a year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 015
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place once a year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 014
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place once a year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 013
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Member of the Afghanistan ski team Sajjad Husaini, 22, "I spent 12 years of my life as a refugee in central Iran. When I returned to Afghanistan, my uncle introduced me to Gul Hussain Baizada, one of the local supports of the Afghan Ski Challenge. That was in 2011, and since then I have been skiing and training with all my passion. In the evening I go to university to study law, but I wish to become a professional skier to represent Afghanistan in the future."

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Local Afghan Bread Maker in Bamiyan
Bamyan, Afghanistan
By johnjournalist
01 May 2013

A Bamiyan shop keeper makes a traditional bread called Bolani in the central Afghanistan province in Afghanistan.

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Afgahan Child of Bamiyan
Bamyan, Afghanistan
By johnjournalist
01 May 2013

An Afghan child in the Bamiyan region of Afghanistan

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A Hazaran Afghan in Bamiyan
Bamyan, Afghanistan
By johnjournalist
01 May 2013

A man from the Hazaran triple in Bamiyan Afghanistan

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Bamiyan Buddhas Timelapse Video
Bamyan, Afghanistan
By johnjournalist
30 Apr 2013

A timelapse video of the buddhas of Bamiyan destroyed by the Taliban.