Placed in the far northwest corner of Africa, the Atlas Mountains stretch across Morocco in an east northeast direction, for 1600 miles into neighboring Tunisia and also Algeria. This particular mountain range, with many summits in excess of 4000 meters in elevation, effectively separates the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines from the nearby Sahara Desert.
Found within the Atlas Mountains are many sub ranges. The area of mountains with the top, snowiest summits is described as the High Atlas.
It might occur as a surprise that mountains in Africa might actually be described as “snowiest” though it is real. In reality not only does Morocco have a number of the very own ski areas of its, including Oukaimeden with 6 lifts & 2,000 feet of vertical gain, but backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering in Ski Morocco are genuine outdoor activities.
And so with a wish to go skiing and check out new mountains within an unfamiliar portion of the planet, Christy and I and our great friend Chris Davenport made the journey from Colorado to Marrakech. We thought we might climb as well as ski new mountains on an alternative continent, and also obtain a little cultural experience too.
Unfortunately Morocco is encountering many huge variations in snowfall from year-to-year, similar to some other mountain ranges across the planet nowadays. By many estimates, precipitation in the High Atlas has reduced by sixty %. The regular yearly temperature has gone up over the 1.5 degrees Celsius mandated by the Paris Climate Accord. Like so many mountain communities that hinge on snowfall for water and the regional economy of theirs, Moroccans are expecting this season is an outlier instead of the new common. Some time will tell.
We were aware it was a bright, dry winter. But we nevertheless needed to go. We were not moving there in search of deeper powder, we wished to experience skiing in Africa, and find out how much the High Atlas Mountains were all about. Besides, we reckon that even in case it had been a lean season, there is usually snow somewhere to ski, we simply needed to think it is.
And only one of the great things about Morocco is the fact that in case you’ve hiking a little distance to reach the ice, there are locals who’d love helping.
As for locating the mountains with the very best ice, that is where Aaron Gould-Kavet arrived in. A Vermonter, residing in Colorado, Aaron is checking out the High Atlas on skis for years. Like lots of individuals that go to Morocco and come away with a fondness for the school, Aaron has an enormous appreciation for the people of its, culture, along with mountains – particularly, the indigenous Berber smaller communities which have occupied the Atlas Mountains for over 10,000 years.
He’s been trying to distribute the term on the Atlas Mountains, along with skiing in particular. He understands firsthand the way they provide excellent challenge and adventure, fun skiing with [in the majority of years] reliable snow. But much more importantly, he thinks that the mountains are able to offer a sustainable financial advantage for the indigenous Berber communities that dwell there. Berbers usually rely on grazing goats and sheep for the livelihoods of theirs, but there is an increasing potential in backyard tourism based around climbing and skiing their nearby mountains. And Aaron is working really hard to market that.