Snow is not a word that comes to mind when people think of Morocco. More often than not, people’s first thoughts are images of sand, palm trees and camels.
Living in Fes, Morocco, I have the privilege of being about one-and-a-half hours away from the mountain town of Ifrane which every year seems to get at least one good snow fall. When the snows come to the mountains south of Fes, there is great commotion. It is broadcast on the local news; on the weekends the mountain roads get packed as city dwellers drive up to the mountains to go sledding, skiing, snow boarding, or just to enjoy the beauty of the snow. There is one particularly famous location for sledding and skiing just past Ifrane called Mischliffen. At an altitude 2100 meters (6900 feet) it tends to stay colder longer than in Ifrane, and the snow stays longer on the ground. Mischliffen is said to be an old volcano crater which hosts a few small hills that are now used for sledding or skiing. There are ski lifts, but they do not always work.
When there is snow in Mischliffen, men renting skis, sleds, snow boards, and even boots seem to appear out of nowhere. For 20 Moroccan dirhams you can rent a sled for the afternoon. The sleds are creatively built out of wood and old skis. After an afternoon of sledding, snow boarding, or skiing you may wish to walk over to the only hotel in Mischliffen, Hotel Aglias, for a cup of hot chocolate or coffee to warm up.
If you are in Fes for more than a day over the months of January and February, going to the mountains and playing in the snow can be a wonderful day trip.