Will Snowboarding Save Diplomacy With Iran?

When it comes to Iranian culture, snowboarding doesn't generally come to mind. But in a country that has remained largely enigmatic for three decades, the slopes near Tehran have become a cultural meeting point between Iran and the rest of the world.

In the Alborz mountains north of Tehran, skiing was introduced to the country a few decades prior to the revolution in 1979. Since the institution of Islamic rule, snowboarding has become popular among Iran's well-heeled urban population. Despite the country's association with a certain conservative streak, a modest tourism industry has grown around snowboarding.

In the past few years, the Dizin ski resort has become the Middle East's prime snow attraction, drawing visitors' praise of the powder and sun. Even European travelers within a short flight of some of the world's finest skiing consider Dizin among the planet's best snowboarding retreats.

Mentioning hospitable and generous locals, there's even an Iranian snowboarding Twitter feed, and international organizations like Persian Powder are looking to provide a cultural exchange with Dizin as the backdrop. A project of the True Life Adventures Foundation, Persian Powder offers "life-changing experiences through bringing together different cultures in different settings."

Until Iranian-American relations normalize, snowboarding could mark some of the little neutral ground between the countries.

Related Articles
Keep reading Show less

Five foods that increase your psychological well-being

These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.

Mind & Brain

We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.

Keep reading Show less

For the 99%, the lines are getting blurry

Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.

What is the middle class now, anyway? (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs

For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.

Keep reading Show less