Skiing in Lebanon

Bookmark this
July 16, 2018

Skiing in Lebanon has been a popular sport since an engineering student returning from studying in Switzerland brought back with him the sport of skiing to Lebanon in the early twentieth century. Lebanon is home to six developed ski resorts. Cedars Ski Resort is the oldest and received its first ski lift. Mzaar Ski Resort, Kfardebian, is Lebanon's largest ski resort.


Lebanon, a mountainous country with summits reaching heights of over 10,000 feet, is sometimes referred to as the "Switzerland of the East".

Lebanon is home to six well-maintained ski resorts on the Mount Lebanon range that faces the Mediterranean. They have a combined 49 ski lifts with pistes totaling 300 km in length.

Lebanon's ski resorts are accessible on a day trip with the nearest ski resorts less than an hour's drive from the capital, Beirut. The sociable Lebanese ensure that the après-ski scene is as memorable as the skiing.

A seventh ski field, a steep and rugged one that is suitable for the most intrepid skiers only, is at Mount Hermon, but due to the political situation with Israel and Syria, the field has never been developed into a resort. In 2005, plans for a US$1 billion skiing resort, Sannine Zenith, were revealed.


Skiing was introduced to Lebanon in 1913 when Ramez Ghazzoui, a Lebanese engineer, returned from his studies in Switzerland and introduced his friends to the sport in the mountains near Aley in Mount Lebanon.

In 1934, Le Club Libanais, the first ski club in Lebanon, was founded by Mauritius Tabet, Mounir Itani, and sisters Andrée Khasho and Aimée Kettaneh. The following year, the French Army established the first ski school at Le Grand Cèdre hotel at the Cedars of God in northern Lebanon. In 1937, the school moved to a high mountain barracks, and would later become known as the Military Ski School.

By the 1940s, Lebanon had established competitions, clubs, and ski schools throughout the country, and began competing at an international level. James Riddell, the British champion skier who was often called the Father of Modern Ski Journalism, administered in 1942 a ski and mountaineering school for the Australian 9th Army at the Cedars of God.

In 1947, Lebanon competed for the first time at the international championship in Chamonix, France, with Michel Samen carrying the Lebanese flag. One year later, Lebanon competed in the Winter Olympic Games for the first time at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Four athletes competed – Mounir Itani, Jean Samen, Abdelwahab El Rifai and Ibrahim Geagea.

In 1959, the resort of Oyoune el Simane known today as Mzaar Kfardebian was started 1961 saw the official establishment of the Lebanese Ski Federation under President Pr. Emile Riachi.

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

In 1967 the 26th annual International Ski Federation (ISF) conference was held in Beirut. Also in 1967 and up until 1972 the federation cooperated with the Lebanese Army to host the World Championship of Military Ski.

At the time of its construction in 1974, Faqra Club, which was built at the foot of Mount Sannine with the help of Swiss architects, was one of the premier private skiing resorts in the world. With altitudes ranging between 1700 and 2000 meters, the resort offered a dozen pistes of varying levels that permitted skiers to enjoy the sport day and night. On clear days, one could see the Mediterranean and the capital, Beirut, from the summits.

In 1993, the Lebanese-American, Richard Elias initiated the International Peace Ski, in which he led a group of thirteen professional skiers from ten different countries to ski in Lebanon.

Lebanese skiers have participated in the Winter Olympic Games since 1948 and in World Championships: Innsbruck (1964), Greece (1967), Sapporo (1972), Innsbruck (1976), Grenoble (1969), Lake Placid (1980), Calgary (1988) and Albertville (1992)


Ski resorts

The Cedars of God
Cedars Ski Resort
Faqra Club
Laqlouq also written Laklouk
Qanat Bakish
Sannine Zenith (planned)


The ski season, which is similar to the Alps, typically runs from mid-December to April, depending on the length and depth of snowfall. In spring, it is sometimes possible to snow ski in the morning and drive to the coast in the afternoon to water ski.



Recent Articles

The United Australia Lebanese Movement Australia Day Award Ceremony

The United Australia Lebanese Movement Australia Day Award Ceremony

in Community News

The United Australia Lebanese Movement (UALM) held its 22nd consecutive Australia Day Award Ceremony on 22/01/2020 endorsed by the Australia Day Council of NSW. The UALM is the only organisation outside of Local Government able to hold such an event.

January 26, 2020

Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas, Water Cannons Fired at Stone-Throwing Protesters in Beirut

Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas, Water Cannons Fired at Stone-Throwing Protesters in Beirut

in Local News

Security forces on Sunday fired rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons at stone-throwing protesters in central Beirut, a day after almost 400 people were injured in the fiercest clashes yet...

January 20, 2020 By Naharnet Newsdesk

Lebanon ranks first in Huawei's Mideast ICT competition

Lebanon ranks first in Huawei's Mideast ICT competition

in World News, Local News

Lebanon ranked the first in Huawei's Middle East ICT competition which took place over the weekend in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, a Huawei statement said Monday. A total of 13 teams of 39 students from across the Middle East competed in the final.

December 3, 2019

Hariri Announces Resignation, Urges Political Parties to Protect Lebanon

Hariri Announces Resignation, Urges Political Parties to Protect Lebanon

in Local News

Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday submitted his government’s resignation to President Michel Aoun, on the 13th day of an unprecedented popular revolt against the entire political class.

October 30, 2019 By Naharnet Newsdesk