Skiing in Lebanon
Every visitor to Lebanon (Capital: Beirut) has heard that this is the only country in the world where one can ski on snow in the morning and swim in the waters of the Mediterranean in the afternoon. This is due to the fact that Lebanon's mountain range rises up above a very narrow coast. Even the highest resorts are only a short drive from the coast. On clear days a particularly spectacular view can be seen from the top. From the top of Mzaar, the highest point above the resort of Faraya, the Bekaa Valley and the Anti Lebanon mountain range can be seen to one side, and to the other, the city of Beirut and other towns along the coast.
In 1935, the French Army established the first ski school at Le Grand Cèdre Hotel in the Cedars forest in northern Lebanon.
the school moved two years later to a high mountain barrack that later became known as the Military ski School.
Michel Samen, in 1947, raised the Lebanese flag at the championship in Chamonix. One year later, Mounir Itani, Jean Samen, Abdelwahab El Rifai and Ibrahim Geagea, competed in the Winter Olympics at Saint Moritz.
1961 saw the official establishment of the Lebanese Ski Federation under President Dr. Emile Riachi. It started the golden era of Ski in Lebanon that lasted almost 30 years.
Lebanese skiers participated in the Olympic games and World Championships: Innsbruck (1964), Greece (1967), Sapporo (1972), Innsbruck (1976), Grenoble (1969), Lake Placid (1980), Calgary (1988) and Albertville (1992).
In 1967 and 1972 the Lebanese Army team won the World Championship of Military Ski.
From 1962 until the eruption of the civil war in 1975, a World Cup Competition named “Semaine Internationale du Ski aux Cedres” took place yearly in The Cedars and attracted the world’s most prestigious champions
Lebanese skiing history was at its peak in 1967 when the 26th annual International Ski Federation (ISF) conference was held in Beirut.
After the end of the war, Ski in Lebanon could not emerge from the lethargy caused by the war's interruption, and suffers from endless conflicts within the Ski Federation and poor investments in equipments in Lebanon Ski resorts.
Cross country skiing
Nordic skiing or cross-country skiing in Lebanon has become more popular after the year 1990 and is also being adopted by the young Lebanese generation, seeking tranquility, away from the crowded ski slopes. Amazing as it sounds, high plateaus in Mount Lebanon are ideal for cross-country skiing, and most of them lie in the neighborhood of the ski resorts. The average skiing period stretches four months easily as from mid December.
Lebanon has six ski resorts with groomed slopes, catering to skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Beyond the skiable domains await you kilometers of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails waiting to be discovered; Lebanon has something for everyone. Each of the ski resorts has a different flavor; however, it is Faraya Mzaar (Kfardebian) that offers the best infrastructure and facilities for the tourists. The Cedars resort is ideal for nature getaway seekers, and Laqlouq is suitable for families with levels up to intermediate.