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No revolution on Lebanon’s ski pistes

Farya Mzaar, Lebanon’s premier ski resort, is nestled in the Mount Lebanon mountain range. The treeless slopes create a landscape of rolling white dunes that visually have more in common with the desert rather than the pine-clad Alps we are familiar with.

Lebanon, a land with sand, sea and camels really does have snow-and plenty of it. There has long been downhill skiing here and world-class ski resorts too, along with the women’s Olympic skier Shirine Nejim.

British skiers have started to find their way to Mzaar and for people who like good quality snow, powdery on the surface and hard underneath, this is the place to come. It has an excellent snow record and with the slopes facing the north, preserving the snow, the regions sunshine makes the air mild and even warm.

Lunchtime cafes and restaurants, which sell chocobas, a mouth-watering concoction of warm baguette filled with melted chocolate and sliced banana, under a brilliant blue sky and blazing sun is a must. Or you can enjoy a feast of fatoush,kofta and baba ghanoush, drinking wine from the Bekaa Valley while sitting by the open fires. The Lebanese beer is also very refreshing. The resort is good value for money, welcoming and more sophisticated than you may think. You wont find a friendlier greeting than a Lebanese one. Apres ski is centred around the Intercontinental Resort and Spa which sits at the foot of several steep runs.

Only twenty minutes from the coast, you can swim in the Mediterranean and ski in the same day. When hurtling down the Mzaar’s more challenging pistes, advanced skiers should try to remember to save some breath for spectacular views of the sea on most days. A rare sight anywhere else!

But the biggest advantage about the slopes of Farya is the lack of crowds. Queues disappear once away from the lower chairlifts. Even these are only busy at weekends. This is when the fashionable young Lebanese come to be seen and not to ski, then there is a definate buzz about the place.The rest of the week it is a skiers paradise. The season runs from December – April with ski heights up to 3000m.

This majestic mountain range that jutts up out of the sea is both exotic and beautiful. A unique blend of East and West, a cultural mix of Islam and Christianity. Now the wounds of the long civil war are healing, you will leave Lebanon feeling refreshed and with renewed hope. Great skiing on uncrowded slopesand above average facilities makes this a truly different winter ski break.

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