At the end of a ski expedition to Afghanistan last year that included participation in the Afghan Ski Challenge We wanted to find a way to grow skiing and tourism in Afghanistan and Central Asia broadly. In partnership with Afghan and Kyrgyz skiers, as well as Olaf Seuters from Gear4Guides and Peter Hofman from Ryce Travel we decided we would launch Silk Road Free Ride in January 2020. It is a week of skiing, training, and coaching, with the first Central Asian Free Ride competition at the end.
It took a while to pull it all together, but now we’re here! We invited you to join us, or if you cannot join us, to support the event. The main thrust of our fundraising event this year, is to ensure we can support skiers traveling from other Central Asian nations, like Afghanistan. Costs for travel and participation range between $600-$1,000 depending on where skiers are coming from. $5,000 would ensure a contingent of five from Afghanistan could make it. We’re aiming to raise at least enough cash for two teams, $10,000–but maybe we can go bigger?
This is just year one!
In future years, we plan on pulling together a multi-event series linking many existing events in places like Lebanon, Afghanistan, and a ski race in Iraq, as well as adding new events that supports the growth of skiing and international travel to the nations along the historic Silk Road. Ultimately, we plan on seeing Silk Road skiers and riders compete and win on the Free Ride World Tour.
Our main goal is to improve global understanding and help rewrite the narrative about Central Asia and the ‘Stans in particular. These events, are open to the broad skiing public, you can compete as well! We want to create opportunities for international tourism, new faces in skiing– and supporting the creation of new travel destinations that helps lessen the burden on over visited locations around the world.