Oukaimeden – Ski Resort in MarrakechNov 24th, 2010 | By admin | Category: Sights
The nearest ski resort to Marrakech and the highest in Africa is in the village sitting at 2,600m called Oukaimeden, practically on top of the high Atlas mountains around 45miles / 72km from Marrakech and assessable in about an hour and a half. The drive is beautiful. Firstly along through the Ourika valley and then up through the winding mountain road until you reach the peek.
All the facilities you find in a typical European resort – ski hire, ski school, restaurants and hotels – but all done in a Moroccan way. The slopes of Oukaimeden are at 3268m above sea level, the air is clean and crisp and when the sun is shining and the snow is shimmering it really is a very refreshing little place. The slopes are not huge but you can have a very invigorating ski.
In good conditions there are up to 20km of runs, the longest of which is 3km. Donkeys can be hired to access terrain not served by mini forex lifts, which opens up some impressive steeps and chutes. Otherwise ski touring is available including an ascent/descent of Jebel Toubkal, North Africa’s highest mountain.
You can snowboard, you can ski, you can eat and you can even sleep over in the many little auberges scattered around the village. The village of Oukaimeden is perfect if you have traveled to Marrakech for some winter sun and fancy a break from the souks down below.
Lift passes are cheap, as is the equipment to hire, but an absence of snow can be a slight problem. The snow is pretty reliable from January until late March or April. The ski hire shops offer reasonably well-maintained, if dated, skis and boots for around €11 a day. A lift pass costs €7; ski lessons range from €3 to €8 an hour and donkeys, rather than shuttle buses, wander back and forth between lifts. But Oukaimeden is not just about skiing. There is a big sledging area for families.