Published: January 19th 2011January 7th 2011
This is the last entry of our Christmas holidays. Seems that a lot of you have enjoyed our entries so far as I have never had so many hits in a month, and we are only the 18th! Thanks a lot. Sorry for those who thought it was a little too much, rest assured, I'm not blogging anymore for the next three weeks. I'm writing this entry from the cold of Shanghai...where it is actually snowing...wow, I'm so happy that we have moved in warm Bangkok a year and a half ago! Back to Bangkok for the weekend!
Next week we will also celebrate a birthday at home...Leslie has now being living with us for the last 4 years...wow, time pass by so fast...do we get older, yes, slightly, but he is now a teenager, and I wouldn't say that we grow older, he is just growing fast into a man!
Skiing in Lebanon...a wish I had for many years. I still have to ski in Morocco....you can do it in Ouarzazate if you are lucky, and this is technically the only place in Africa where you can ski, but beside that, I have ski in every continent possible.
Beirut is 20 degrees, very enjoyable weather...and Mza'ar is only 80km from Beirut, with an altitude ranging from 1,800 meters to 2,400 meters...and they had snow for us.
Let put it simply, skiing is cheap in Lebanon....getting to the slope is not! Mza'ar is only over an hour from Downtown Beirut...yes, you could start skiing and finishing by an afternoon dive in the Mediterranean Sea, but we didn't go on the diving!
I have look extensively to try to find a cheap way to reach Mza'ar. No shuttle service to Mza'ar, and doesn't really seems easy to reach this place by public transport or either share taxis (“services”). I was quoted every price from 60usd one way, and for a return 100usd to 170usd...wow...they are going to kill me.
The plan was (and we did it) to ski the first day and get back to Beirut to sleep and than move to the mountain for 1 night and 2 days of ski.
We found a trick to get a deal for the taxi on our first day. Do not ask me how we did it, call it chance, but I hailed a taxi driver who
was actually skiing...so the guy would not have to wait for us, but rather spend his days on the ski slopes too. Price, 60usd for the return...considering it is a total of 160km, that's a deal.
Lodging in Mza'ar, specially only one night, seems to be a serious rip-off...and on top of it, doesn't seems to be of the highest quality. The best place to stay is the Intercontinental. Outrageously expensive too....3 people in a small room with breakfast 300usd! And I don't know where they got their 5 stars...it's a basic 4 stars at the max. But there is a trick....you know, there is always a trick...for that price, they throw in a return transfer from Beirut Downtown. They call it shuttle, but it was actually a private car. When you sum up the cost of transfer, the cost of the room become slightly more bearable.
Here slopes open at 9am, and in early January, ski is over between 3 to 4pm. For our first day, weather was not that great, with only few slopes opened. Our second day, we decided to go for a “half-day pass”....starting at 12pm, you actually lunch at 11am and get ready
for four hours of ski. Weather was amazing, but it was also the Armenian Christmas, therefore a public holiday with steeper ski-pass tickets. 90% of lifts were opened. Our last day, back to week day, a Friday, and today, nearly nobody on the slopes with most of them open, but by 2pm snow starting to fall solid...time to head back to Beirut.
On average, for three of us, including rental equipment, I paid between 90usd and 100usd....this is not per person, but for 3 people...so yes, skiing in Lebanon is really cheap!
Mza'ar has something like 8 ski chair lifts, and 2 T-bars lift. You have a lot of nice green slopes (looking actually more like little blues in Europe), a nice amount of blue slopes too and few reds.
Ma'ri had try her chance 2 years ago at the Dubai Ski without a huge success...she had a day, including one hour private teacher in Chile last summer...and this is it for her ski experience. So the place is ideal for her...a lots of gentle long slopes perfect to practice. Leslie has been with me twice to Club Med the last 3 years. He is going down
easy all blues, but I didn't want to challenge him much on the reds without an instructor. For me, I go down most things, up to the easy blacks. So this gives you an idea where we stand.
The beauty of Mza'ar is that it is very easy to ski “family style”. We all go on the same chairlift...than from there, Leslie and I go further up on another chair and we meet Ma'ri on the middle of the slopes. Meaning, we were skiing nearly together, but with the chance for Leslie and I to go down a lot of nice blues.
Skiing is not over for us this year, we are going for a proper week in the Alps in April with proper coaching for three of us. After that week, Ma'ri should be able to get down any blues and easy reds, and Leslie will be at ease for any reds, making us...not only a diving or golfing family, but also a skiing one.
Mza'ar was also very easy on the catering, providing cheap and nice food on the slopes...better than in Europe. If my friend Stuart read this...no we did not stop after every
run for a little glass of wine....not this time!
It is interesting that over the last 4 years on Travelblog, all our top entries in term of readership are all diving entries...and all the ones in the below of the entry counts are all about skiing, will see if this time Lebanon attract more interest.
Wow, Leslie has shared my life for the last 4 years, and we have been together with Ma'ri nealry 3 years...it fly so fast...this year in September, he is actually entering High School....and I'm still a teenager at large!
Next entry coming in 3 weeks....we go backpacking in a new country to share new experiences. Thanks a lot to have followed us for the last 3 weeks...this was A trip. Not really that expensive, but full of diversity and amazing experiences....for sure, something that we will keep deep in us for a long while to go.
So from snowy Shanghai...and happy to be back home soon for my love ones...see you soon...
PS: Next week, and this shouldn't be PS, but let see if you keep reading till here, Tiffany is coming to Bangkok. I will not blog on it,
but will leave the honor of it to Mari. You will be able to find that entry early February on deleted_148721
Another week that should be amazing....even if we do not move from home this time!
There are more photos below