Although Morocco will never be a winter sports destination, there is still some winter fun to be had if you travel to Morocco. There are a few snow skiing resorts in Morocco, but don’t expect the latest in high-speed lifts or quality rental skis. Instead think 1980s straight skis and donkey trips to the lifts. Skiing in Morocco is about experience rather than skiing killer lines although the skiing industry in Morocco is growing. It isn’t every day that you can find some snow to ski on this close to the equator.
Just south of Marrakech in the Atlas Mountains near Jebel Toubkal is Oukaimeden, Morocco’s most established ski resort. The resort village sits at 2,600 meters and the chairlift rises to 3,258 meters to the peak of Jebel Attar, making Oukaimeden Africa’s highest ski resort. The resort is typically open in January and February and has all the basic amenities like ski rentals, lessons, some hotels and a few places to eat. The runs are neither groomed nor powdery bliss. Expect bumpy, hard-packed conditions, but it all depends on the amount of snow or lack thereof. Big changes are coming for Oukaimeden though; a Dubai-based company Emaar is investing more than a billion dollars to upgrade the resort. It also has plans for building the world’s highest 18-hole golf course.
Jebel Mischliffen is a small ski area in the Middle Atlas Mountains closer to the cities of Fez and Meknes. Founded by the French in the 1950s, Mischliffen has remained nearly unchanged since its inception. The resort offers ski rentals and one hotel although many guests stay in nearby Ifrane or take day trips from Fez or Meknes. The runs are short and the lifts are unreliable. That said, it is still worth the short trip from Fez to say you have skied in Morocco. Many Moroccans themselves make the trip up to Mischliffen just to see the snow.
Experienced mountain skiers often head to the Bou Guemez Valley where they can find plenty of off-piste skiing and ski trekking adventures. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are also possible in the High Atlas Mountains. You will need your own equipment and a map since tour services are limited.
Written by Amiee Maxwell.
Photo by simon_music.