- Skiing in Lebanon
Skiing in Lebanon, introduced to the country in the early 20th century, has become increasingly popular. The
Mount Lebanonrange in Lebanon, occasionally referred to as the "Switzerland of the Middle East", is home to six ski resorts. [cite news|url=http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/Fears-of--alQaeda-forging.4185851.jp|publisher=the Scottsman|title=Fears of al-Qaeda forging links in Lebanon|date=2008-06-14|author=Abigail Fielding-Smith] [cite news|publisher=Reuters|title=Getting chic on the slopes of Lebanon:Most come to see and be seen at Lebanon's ski resorts, but the snow and mountains actually aren't at all bad|date=2004-03-29|url=http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2004/03/29/2003108250/wiki] The resorts have a combined 46 ski lifts with runs totaling 30km in length.Lebanese Ministry of Enivornment (2001). [http://www.moe.gov.lb/NR/rdonlyres/AD46B54A-CBA8-4B68-A032-446A09A694F8/0/Chap6TourismandRecreation.pdf "Lebanon State of the Environment Report 2001 - Tourism and Recreation"] ] Ski season in Lebanon starts in December and runs into April.Frank Coles, guardian.co.uk (March 30, 2006). [http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2006/mar/30/wintersportsholidays.wintersports.lebanon "Secret skiing"] . Retrieved July 9, 2008.]
Skiing was introduced to
Lebanonin 1913 when Ramez Ghazzoui, a Lebanese engineer, returned from his studies in Switzerlandand introduced his friends to the sport in the hills near Aley.William Tracy, Saudi Aramco World, Volume 17, Number 1 (January/February, 1966). [http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/196601/ski.lebanon..htm "Ski Lebanon!"] . Retrieved July 7, 2008.] Federation Libanaise de Ski. [http://lebskifed.com/profile.asp?ttl=Profile&ttl2=History "Histoire"] . Retrieved July 7, 2008.] Hiver.com. [http://www.hiver.com/regions.php?fiche=33 "Regions/International - Liban"] . Retrieved July 7, 2008.] In 1934, "Le Club Libanais", the first ski club in Lebanon, was founded by Mauritius Tabet, Mounir Itani, and sisters Andree Khasho and Aimee Kettaneh. The following year, the French Army established the first ski school at "Le Grand Cèdre" hotel in the Cedars forest in northern Lebanon. In 1937, the school moved to a high mountain barracks, and would later became 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. 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 Gamesfor the first time at the 1948 Winter Olympicsin St. Moritz, Switzerland. [cite book |title=Rapport Général sur les Ves Jeux Olympiques d'hiver St-Moritz 1948 |author=Comité Olympique Suisse |publisher=H. Jaunin |location=Lausanne |year=1951 |month=January |language=French |url=http://www.la84foundation.org/6oic/OfficialReports/1948/ORW1948.pdf |format=PDF |accessdate=2008-06-10] Four athletes competed – Mounir Itani, Jean Samen, Abdelwahab El Rifai and Ibrahim Geagea.
1961 saw the official establishment of the Lebanese Ski Federation under President Dr. Emile Riachi.
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 federation cooperated with the Lebanese Army to host 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.
Lebanon has six ski resorts with groomed slopes, catering to skiers and snowboarders of all levels
Faraya-Mzaar(Kfardebian) offers acceptable infrastructure and facilities for the tourists. The Cedars and Laqlouq resorts are perfect for nature seekers, while Faqra, Zaarou and Qanat Bakiche offer less interest.
* [http://www.lebskifed.com Official site of the Lebanese Ski Federation]
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