Lebanon heating up
WITH Lebanon’s tourism industry in recovery and the country looking to increase the number of winter visitors, TTN had a five-minute chat with Ron Sayegh of skileb.com to find out what’s on offer.
What are the main ski resorts in Lebanon?
Mzaar is the largest, most popular. It has good nightlife and is just one hour from the airport/Beirut. Cedars is the highest, it is very calm during week days and two and a half hours from the airport.
Approximately how many people do they attract per year and where do they come from?
I would give a rough estimate of 70,000 skiers. Around two thirds are from Lebanon and the remainder are tourists, this is why Lebanon still has great potential to attract more foreigners.
And are visitor numbers growing?
Yes, steadily at around 15 per cent every season.
What levels of skiing are on offer?
Both ski resorts cater for first-time skiers through wide and gentle slopes and also offer steep black pistes for the experienced. You can enjoy 80km of groomed terrain in Mzaar and about 30 in the Cedars. Private and group lessons are available in both resorts.
What is the best time to come skiing in Lebanon?
The ski season starts around Christmas and lasts till early April. At skileb.com, we normally recommend our guests to avoid February, since it is the peak period and prices are sometimes higher.
What sort of après ski is available?
Mzaar offers a wide choice of restaurants and bars that remain lively throughout the week, whereas the Cedars is very calm from Sunday night till Thursday and gets busier over the week-end.
Other apres-ski activities include snowmobiling, hiking, spa and wellness and sightseeing tours from/to the resorts.
Is it true that you can ski in the morning and swim in the Med in the afternoon?
True indeed. The sea is relatively cold during winter but we ended offering a ski and swim Lebanon tour following demand from our guests. Swimming is normally done around the coastal area of Byblos, only one hour away from Mzaar ski resort.
Anything else you would like to add?
Lebanon is safe, three hours away from the Gulf, mostly sunny, you will pay half of what it costs to ski in the Alps and people are friendly and welcoming. We would recommend combining your ski trip with a stay in Beirut to experience the capital and its renowned nightlife.