Mount Tochal is a mountain in the Alborz range, adjacent to metropolitan Tehran. The mountain has a 12 km long ridge-line. The highest peak is Mount Tochal with an elevation of 3,964 m (13,005 feet). A gondola lift runs from Tehran to Tochal Ski Resort and a modern hotel.
The resort has two-chair lifts and one T-bar. There are seven stations on the telecabin route; Tochal ski resort is located at the seventh station. There are the restaurants at fifth and the seventh stations, and a nice hotel called Tochal Hotel at the base of the resort 3550m, with 30 rooms and suites. Depending on the climate and the amount of snowfall, the ski season usually starts in November and lasts until April or even June.
Tochal Telecabin is probably the world’s longest gondola lift lines with a length of 7500m. The project started in 1974 and has been open to the public since 1978. It starts at the Velenjak valley in north of Tehran at an altitude of 1900 m. and ends at the last station at an altitude of 3740 m., near the main ridge of Mount Tochal. This gondola lift is used for accessing ski resorts and other recreational centers on the mountain. Beautiful landscape, mountain fresh air and a multitude of fresh water springs adds to the freshness of the area. With upgrading the safety standards of telecabin lines, families and sportspeople can enjoy the telecabin ride and other facilities with joy and pleasure.
The gondola lift has four stations:
Station 1 is at an elevation of 1900 m. and located at the beginning of Velenjak valley (end of Velenjak Street). Parking, inns and some other facilities are available.
Station 2 is at 2400 m. and has very limited facilities.
Station 5 is at 2935 m. There is a restaurant and a rescue center. This station is in the middle of one of the ski slopes which is open only in mid-winter but rarely used. This station is also accessible through several climbing paths like Shirpala shelter, Osoon valley and Palang-chal shelter. In order to get to Station 7 you have to change here.
Station 7 is at 3740 m. and very close to the Tochal main ridge. It is the last station of the gondola lift. This station is in the middle of the Tochal ski slope. The Tochal main peak is a 30-minute walk from this point. This station is also reachable from Hezar-cham climbing path from Station 5.
Unique location, proper services, and mountainous natural beauty are the specialties of the Tochal Hotel. The hotel is located 3,545 meters above the sea.
The Alborz Mountains form a dense, long and narrow chain that runs through northern Iran separating the Caspian Sea from the central plateau of Iran. The higher peaks of the Alborz exceed heights of 14 to 15 thousand feet with the 15912 ft (4850 m) summit of Mt. Alam (Alam kooh) as the range’s second highest peak. The dormant volcanic cone of Mt. Damavand soars far above the rest of the mountains to an elevation of 18606 ft (5671 m) forming the country’s highest peak. The proximity of the mountains to the Caspian Sea has created a steamy lush environment on the coastal plain and the northernmost slopes. The rest of the mountains, however, are mostly bare, limiting trees to the banks of the streams at the bottom of the valleys. Grasslands, alpine tundra and permanent snow cover the higher elevations. Winter brings a heavy coat of powdery snow several feet deep creating an ideal environment for skiing.
Out of the three main Iranian ski resorts of Tochal, Dizin and Shemshak, Tochal ski resort is the least developed, offering fewer runs than the others. In its favour, Tochal is the closest ski resort to Tehran and it is possible to catch a cable car to Tochal from the northern suburbs of Tehran, making it popular with Daytrip skiers based in Tehran. Four ski lifts are waiting to take to up the slopes from where you disembark from the cable car. At over fourmiles long, the cable car from Tehran to Tochal is one of the longest and highest in the world. It has a huge vertical climb of 6,036 feet and reaches a height of 12,270 feet. There are seven stations on the cable cars route; Tochal ski resort is at the seventh station. The longest ski run at Tochal ski resort is a long U-shaped slope that goes from the last station to the fifth station. To the north of the seventh station there are two ski slopes served by chairlifts that reach to just below the summit at 12,795feet high. Behind the Tochal Hotel there are another couple of slopes served by T-bars. Due to the altitude, the ski season at Tochal is longer than at most resorts and thanks to the dry atmosphere, the quality of the snow here is good. It is often clear and sunny here, allowing visitors to enjoy spectacular views of the 18,605-foot high extinct volcano, Mount Damavand and the Alborz mountain range. There is no snowboard park at Tochal, but snowboarders are welcome and make up 30 per cent of skiers on the slopes. Facilities at Tochal are limited to one hotel and two restaurants. Many people decide to stay in Tehran, where there is a wider range of accommodation and restaurants. In Tehran there are plenty of alternatives to skiing, including art galleries, museums and places of historical interest. Skiing in Tochal lasts from early December until April and sometimes until June. The easiest way to get here is to fly to Tehran Mehrabad International Airport, from where you can catch a taxi to the cable car. Transportation to Tochal Tochal ski resort is the closest resort to Tehran. It is situated near the summit of Mount Tochal, the 13,005-foot high mountain that dominates Tehrans skyline and rises up from the northern suburbs of the town. The easiest way to get to Tochal ski resort is to catch the cable car that leaves from Velenjak avenue. At over fourmiles long with seven stations and reaching 3,740feet high with a vertical height of 6,036 feet, this is one of the worlds longest and highest cable cars; it is also one of the cheapest. The easiest way to get to Tochal ski resort is to catch a plane, train or bus to Tehran and then take a taxi to the first cable car station. It is also possible to catch a local bus. The resort is only six miles from the city and it is easy to drive to the resort or catch a taxi. The train service in Iran is fairly basic, though most major towns are served by a single track railway. Trains are relatively comfortable and some have sleeping cars. A faster option for travelling around Iran is by coach. Most coaches between main destinations have either heating or air-conditioning. Tehrans international airport receives many flights from major European cities, India, China, Japan and neighbouring Persian Gulf countries among others. The easiest way to get into Tehran from the airport is to catch a taxi, while it is also possible to catch a shuttle bus into town.