Article for Line-S, part of the Did you know… series, read here.
Although the Lebanon may not be on the top of your destinations to visit list, I’m sure you didn’t even know that it was even a contender. The Lebanon is a small, geographically diverse country found next door to Syria, the country is in fact the meeting point of three continents. During the summer months humidity can reach highs of 90%, while the winter months the weather in the mountains is similar to that of the Alps. As the Lebanon is such a small country, you can ski in the morning and reach the beaches by the afternoon, maybe even for an afternoon water ski!
Renamed the “Switzerland of the Middle East”, the Lebanon’s skiing was introduced by an engineering student, who returned from Switzerland in the early 20th Century and thought that it was time that the mountains of the Mount Lebanon range were made use of – now there are six developed ski resorts. Cedars is the oldest, having received the first ski lift, while Mzaar has now trumped it and become the largest.
Mzaar Kfardebian is just a 1 hour drive from the capital, Beirut. With 80 kilometers of slopes that cater for both beginners to the more advanced skiers, boasting stunning scenery and views of Mount Lebanon. The resort reaches a height of 2465 metres, thus ensuring there is fresh snow up at the top of the resort during the winter months (mid December through until April). There are 49 ski lifts in total and there is plenty of terrain you can access by cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails. What’s more, the lift passes won’t break the bank and the dining consists of Lebanese, Japanese and Alpine specialties. Lebanese cuisine includes delicious falafel, hummus, tabbouleh and shawarmas, making a change from the midday burger! The Lebanese are also keen après-skiers, they try to ensure that it is as memorable as the skiing.