Sign In:

×

Last Step!

Please enter your public display name and a secure password.

Plan to post in the forums? Change your default forum handle here!

×
×

Skiing Africa… by Mule

Editor's Note: Planet Skier just put out this quick video trip report from one of the most far-flung destinations we've seen from our Stash members: Africa. Taking pack mules up to access the main lifts at a tiny ski area in Morocco, PS scored smooth, velvety pow in a (very large) corner of the globe we don't talk about much here. Thanks for sharing!

Avalanche pack, check. Skis, check. Mule, check. I am sitting on a mule, on my way to the ski slopes in Oukaïmeden in the Atlas mountains of Morocco.

We are here, because Europe had a bad snow year. And I have to say, there is too much skiing in Africa. I was hoping that after Oukaïmeden, Lesotho, and South Africa, I'd be able to cross of the continent as fully skied. But no. There is another ski area in the far-away other end of Morocco, there are two ski areas in Algeria, there is snow on Kilimanjaro, and there is dune skiing in Namibia. Sigh, plenty to cover still.

Oukaïmeden is about two hours away from the city of Marrakesh and easily accessible. It is a busy snow town with tons of tourists and cars on the road. But most of the tourists have come for a day trip to experience the snow, a rarity for the locals. We only saw foreign tourists once. That is a loss, coming here was an amazing experience for us.

The village is fairly basic, with our hotel, the Chez Juju, being a rare exception in providing western-class accommodation. Most other buildings are bare stone huts. The rooms in Chez Juju are basic, but there's wireless that works if you ask the bartender to reset the router :-) And the food is magnifique! The French kitchen delivers amazing dinners, yet in local style. Much recommended.

But lets get back to the main topic: skiing. The Atlas mountains are some serious mountains, ranging all the way to the 4,167 meter Toubkal, visible from the ski area. We skied nearby, in the ski area's backcountry, offering easily accessible untouched snow. We run into a guy at the parking lot who offered to guide us, so for 20 $ we got a guide for the day. The exploration was still a bit unnerving, given that there were clearly some places where avalanches were a possibility. We skied one at a time and passed these points quickly. Exploring the highest peaks far beyond Oukaïmeden would be a far bigger effort, and will likely require you to bring your own guides and be completely self-sufficient.

The most interesting terrain was to the skier's right from the main lift. A set of couloirs and valleys visible from the lift offers a lot of skiable snow. Further to the right a steep couloir leads onto untouched snow fields. It can only be accessed by traversing steep to the right from from the very top of the lift.

Another interesting area is the ridge to the skier's left. This area leads back to the village, and the remains of ski lifts and structures show that it used to belong to the official slopes.

But even the official slopes under the current main lift are decent: 600 meters of difficult, steep, black run straight down.

But the most wonderful thing for me were the views. We were skiing on white snow, while the red mountains and hills falling below us were all red, with traditional Berberianvillages often visible under us.

Oh, and why the mules? The village is next to the beginner lifts, but the main lift is about 2 kilometres away. The most convenient way to reach that lift was by mule. And I wanted to get a ride a on a camel, but unfortunately the camels were only available on lower altitudes.

There are a few additional pictures on the Planetskier's blog.

Play
READ THE STORY
​VIDEO: Hoji’s 2021 Winter Edit Is Pillow Skiing Porn
Up Next Ski

​VIDEO: Hoji’s 2021 Winter Edit Is Pillow Skiing Porn

​VIDEO: Hoji’s 2021 Winter Edit Is Pillow Skiing Porn

Eric Hjorleifson is pretty much the king of skiing on tech bindings. As a hut keeper in Canada's Esplanade Mountains last year, Hoji had unparalleled access to some of the best human-powered freeride skiing on the planet. By that, we mean dreamy BC faces covered in pillow stacks and spines where he put on a clinic in playful skiing in insanely technical terrain. Now if this high pressure would please end soon…

Play
READ THE STORY
​VIDEO: Trevor Kennison Hits The X Games Big Air Jump
Up Next Ski

​VIDEO: Trevor Kennison Hits The X Games Big Air Jump

​VIDEO: Trevor Kennison Hits The X Games Big Air Jump

Trevor Kennison isn’t afraid to go big. But you probably already knew that. The sit skier who became the first adaptive athlete to air into Corbet’s just made history again as he became the first to hit an X Games big air jump. The jump is 70 feet to the knuckle, 80 feet to the sweet spot…and Kennison took it nearly to the parking lot. After coming up a bit short on a practice jump, he took another crack at it and sent it pretty much to flat. Twice. Check it out.

Play
READ THE STORY
​VIDEO: The Nines 2022 Course Preview
Up Next Ski

​VIDEO: The Nines 2022 Course Preview

​VIDEO: The Nines 2022 Course Preview

It’s April, so that means ski season is winding down for most of us. But there’s still room for one more freestyle comp – The Nines 2022. Returning to Crans-Montana, Switzerland, for a historic 30th edition of the series, the Nines promises to wow us with ski and snowboard progression like we’ve never seen it before. Check out the course preview with some truly insane features and keep an eye out for more from the competition coming soon!