Female adventurer reveals what skiing in IRAN and Africa is like




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When you think of ski destinations, Iran and Africa don’t naturally jump to mind. 

But Norwegian explorer Randi Skaug likes to go to more unconventional spots to seek out virgin snow and uncrowded mountains, so these are the places she picked.  

Photos from the charismatic 59-year-old’s ski expeditions to Iran and North Africa show the slopes that made her ‘skis laugh’, such was beauty of the pristine snow, and the welcoming locals who made a lasting impression on her.

Norwegian explorer Randi Skaug, 59, likes going to remote areas to ski and Mongolia is next on her list. Above, she is pictured with two friendly locals during her ski trip through Iran 

Norwegian explorer Randi Skaug, 59, likes going to remote areas to ski and Mongolia is next on her list. Above, she is pictured with two friendly locals during her ski trip through Iran 

Norwegian explorer Randi Skaug, 59, likes going to remote areas to ski and Mongolia is next on her list. Above, she is pictured with two friendly locals during her ski trip through Iran 

One image captures the breathtaking scenery in Iran, with undulating snowy peaks intersected by a snaking waterway

One image captures the breathtaking scenery in Iran, with undulating snowy peaks intersected by a snaking waterway

One image captures the breathtaking scenery in Iran, with undulating snowy peaks intersected by a snaking waterway

Reecounting the moment she ventured into the heart of Iran, Randi said: 'We saw mountains, elongated ridges and fresh virgin snow. There was no track of human presence - our skis were laughing. We put our hijabs away, as they weren't required in these remote parts, and we went on into the wild.' Above, a photo of Janne Lillehagen in the wilds of Iran

Reecounting the moment she ventured into the heart of Iran, Randi said: 'We saw mountains, elongated ridges and fresh virgin snow. There was no track of human presence - our skis were laughing. We put our hijabs away, as they weren't required in these remote parts, and we went on into the wild.' Above, a photo of Janne Lillehagen in the wilds of Iran

Reecounting the moment she ventured into the heart of Iran, Randi said: ‘We saw mountains, elongated ridges and fresh virgin snow. There was no track of human presence – our skis were laughing. We put our hijabs away, as they weren’t required in these remote parts, and we went on into the wild.’ Above, a photo of Janne Lillehagen in the wilds of Iran

One image captures the breathtaking scenery in Iran, with undulating snowy peaks intersected by a snaking waterway. 

Another shows Randi and her teammates – Brian Kristensen and Janne Lillehagen – taking a break on the slopes, with the sun beaming down from above.     

Continuing on the human theme, one photo shows Janne and Brian standing in the snow with a local family. 

Randi said the people in Iran ‘went the extra mile’. She told MailOnline Travel: ‘They danced with us, served tea with us, they even gave us cake in the middle of the street. We were in awe by the hospitality. All the Iranians we met spoke English and were well educated.’ 

A valley running through the interior of Iran. Randi says navigating such remote off-piste ski spots is tricky, as maps are often impossible to get hold of

A valley running through the interior of Iran. Randi says navigating such remote off-piste ski spots is tricky, as maps are often impossible to get hold of

A valley running through the interior of Iran. Randi says navigating such remote off-piste ski spots is tricky, as maps are often impossible to get hold of

Randi and her teammates - Brian Kristensen and Janne Lillehagen - take a break on the slopes while in Iran, with the sun beaming down from above

Randi and her teammates - Brian Kristensen and Janne Lillehagen - take a break on the slopes while in Iran, with the sun beaming down from above

Randi and her teammates – Brian Kristensen and Janne Lillehagen – take a break on the slopes while in Iran, with the sun beaming down from above

Janne and Brian stand in the snow with a local family. Randi said the people in Iran 'went the extra mile'. She mused: 'They danced with us, served tea with us, they even gave us cake in the middle of the street'

Janne and Brian stand in the snow with a local family. Randi said the people in Iran 'went the extra mile'. She mused: 'They danced with us, served tea with us, they even gave us cake in the middle of the street'

Janne and Brian stand in the snow with a local family. Randi said the people in Iran ‘went the extra mile’. She mused: ‘They danced with us, served tea with us, they even gave us cake in the middle of the street’

Returning to the landscape in Iran, Randi recounted the moment she ventured into the heart of the Middle Eastern country.

She said: ‘We saw mountains, elongated ridges and fresh virgin snow. There was no track of human presence – our skis were laughing.

‘We put our hijabs away, as they weren’t required in these remote parts, and we went on into the wild.’ 

Randi says navigating such remote off-piste ski spots is tricky, as maps are often impossible to get hold of. 

Therefore, it’s essential to work with knowledgeable locals. 

Animals can also provide clues around which routes to take, she says. 

At some points during the trip to Iran, Randi and her fellow skiers followed tracks left by foxes and they also crossed paw marks left by bears and wolves. 

A view of the sun setting over the undulating snowy peaks in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco  

A view of the sun setting over the undulating snowy peaks in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco  

A view of the sun setting over the undulating snowy peaks in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco  

Randi and her teammates seen skiing along a snowy road in the Atlas Mountains, passing a group of locals with donkeys as they go

Randi and her teammates seen skiing along a snowy road in the Atlas Mountains, passing a group of locals with donkeys as they go

Randi and her teammates seen skiing along a snowy road in the Atlas Mountains, passing a group of locals with donkeys as they go

Randi says there weren't any major problems while she was skiing through Iran and North Africa - apart from the time she was arrested in the High Atlas Mountains. Above, an example of the scenery in the area of Morocco 

Randi says there weren't any major problems while she was skiing through Iran and North Africa - apart from the time she was arrested in the High Atlas Mountains. Above, an example of the scenery in the area of Morocco 

Randi says there weren’t any major problems while she was skiing through Iran and North Africa – apart from the time she was arrested in the High Atlas Mountains. Above, an example of the scenery in the area of Morocco 

When you venture into the frozen wilds, Randi highlights that you must ski along carrying everything you need and the packs can be quite heavy as a result. 

Some of her standard ski supplies include a stove to melt snow for drinking, a warm sleeping bag to combat the cold nights (it plummeted to minus 15 degrees Celsius during the evening in Iran), a knife to keep under her pillow for self defence and food rations. 

For breakfast, Randi reveals she likes to make her own cereal for breakfast, packed with oats, dried fruit and nuts. Dried milk, water and a lump of butter for energy is then added to the mix. 

For lunch, the typical treats include ‘heaps of sausage’ and dried reindeer hearts, which are apparently one of the most protein-rich foods you can get. Boil in the bag meals then round out the day for dinner.

So, has this Norwegian explorer run into any trouble during her extreme ski trips? 

It wasn't all blue skies in Morocco, as this photograph shows with Randi and her teammates battling the frozen elements 

It wasn't all blue skies in Morocco, as this photograph shows with Randi and her teammates battling the frozen elements 

It wasn’t all blue skies in Morocco, as this photograph shows with Randi and her teammates battling the frozen elements 

Randi and her teammates stop for a break while navigating Morocco's pristine snowy terrain 

Randi and her teammates stop for a break while navigating Morocco's pristine snowy terrain 

Randi and her teammates stop for a break while navigating Morocco’s pristine snowy terrain 

A view of the night sky, glimmering over the Atlas Mountains and Randi's camping spot in Morocco 

A view of the night sky, glimmering over the Atlas Mountains and Randi's camping spot in Morocco 

A view of the night sky, glimmering over the Atlas Mountains and Randi’s camping spot in Morocco 

Randi says there weren’t any major problems while she was skiing through Iran and North Africa – apart from the time she was arrested in the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco. 

After she’d ventured into the mountainous area with her two companions, they were arrested by local policemen who were suspicious about what they were up to. They don’t tend to get many people armed with skis in the area. 

Randi says smiling: ‘We were arrested and not allowed to leave the village. I tried to explain our concept of skiing and that we were from the skiing cradle of Norway.’ 

Eventually after negotiating with the local authorities, Randi and her team got permission to continue on, although apparently the police thought their skiing antics were a little crazy. 

The mayor even sent out scouts to follow the skiing party along the way, as he was concerned about their safety and according to local custom, he is held responsible for all tourists in the region. 

So, where is next on the map for Randi?

She says she is now gearing up to go skiing in Mongolia in 2020. 

Randi says animals can provide clues around the best track to take. While in Iran, she followed prints left by foxes and also crossed paw marks left by bears and wolves

Randi says animals can provide clues around the best track to take. While in Iran, she followed prints left by foxes and also crossed paw marks left by bears and wolves

Randi says animals can provide clues around the best track to take. While in Iran, she followed prints left by foxes and also crossed paw marks left by bears and wolves

Randi is now gearing up to go skiing in Mongolia in 2020. Adding a twist to this trip, she will be going on the expedition 24-year-old Australian Joseph Rago (pictured), who is still learning to ski. Joseph bumped into Randi after he decided to go to Norway to seek out a new future after leaving the military. The duo instantly hit it off and Randi is acting as a mentor to Joseph

Randi is now gearing up to go skiing in Mongolia in 2020. Adding a twist to this trip, she will be going on the expedition 24-year-old Australian Joseph Rago (pictured), who is still learning to ski. Joseph bumped into Randi after he decided to go to Norway to seek out a new future after leaving the military. The duo instantly hit it off and Randi is acting as a mentor to Joseph

Randi is now gearing up to go skiing in Mongolia in 2020. Adding a twist to this trip, she will be going on the expedition 24-year-old Australian Joseph Rago (pictured), who is still learning to ski. Joseph bumped into Randi after he decided to go to Norway to seek out a new future after leaving the military. The duo instantly hit it off and Randi is acting as a mentor to Joseph

Adding a twist to this trip, she will be going to the sparsely-populated country with a 24-year-old Australian who is still learning to ski. 

Joseph Rago, who is from a small island in Queensland, bumped into Randi after he decided to go to Norway to seek out a new future after leaving the military. 

The duo instantly hit it off, with a shared inquisitiveness about the world and Randi is acting as a sort of mentor to Joseph. 

Ahead of their Mongolia expedition, they have started an Instagram account call @oddtripz where people can track Joseph’s progress on the slopes. 

Their aim is to grow OddTripz into a project that will help others – like Joseph did – to feel the healing power of nature. 

Randi says: ‘We just want to show that it’s possible to work against fear and expectations of others. 

‘It’s about crossing borders and generations.’ 



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