Last Monday was a holiday, so we took the children up to Safed Dara, Tajikistan's best (and only) ski resort.
Although Tajikistan gets plenty of snow in the mountains (it is a major source of water for a large part of Central Asia), the mountains themselves are actually pretty bad for skiing. They are very steep and very rocky, which doesn't make for great runs. Safed Dara is in a rare wide bowl and isn't very large. You can see all the ski runs behind Eleanor in the picture above.
I had no interest in taking the children skiing, so instead we went tubing. Since skiing isn't a big sport here, the resort has wisely included other attractions - tubing, snowmobile rides, ice skating, a ropes course, a zip line, and pony rides.
Normally we have a private sledding hill that we go sledding at, but it's been a very bad year for rain and snow here and there is no snow on the sledding hill. The kids have been dying to go play in the snow, so I was glad that Safed Dara is a little over an hour out of town.
The resort has done a lot of improvements since it opened two years ago, and they have installed a gondola. It had opened up a few more ski runs, but it also takes a lot of people up to the top just to look around.
The children (and Brandon), who had never been in a gondola before, enjoyed the ride. Brandon felt a lot better when he saw that it was a German-made gondola. It was, in fact, the best-constructed thing I've seen the whole three years we've been here.
But still Brandon made sure that everyone stayed seated and didn't rock the gondola. It's always good to be safety-minded.
There was more snow at the top than at the bottom, and the children made good use of it.
William, who had been up all morning, took a nap while strapped to Brandon's front.
The older children found a nice steep snow bank and thoroughly enjoyed sliding down it. One would have thought that they had had enough sliding, but if they were happy, I was happy.
Eleanor's legs were too short for climbing snow hills, so she sat around and made snowballs and threw them.
I joined her after awhile and the other children started throwing back when my aim improved enough to actually hit them. We had a fun time until I got a little overexcited and whitewashed Edwin. He was not happy. I'm pretty sure we weren't friends for at least half an hour.
He's not happy in this picture. But everyone else is, so the majority won. Everyone had such a fun time (whitewashing excepted), that we might even go back one more time before we leave. Hooray for fun things in Tajikistan!