Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lebanon: skiers' paradise?

Was it a looming civil war or a weather forecast that called for clouds -- Lebanon's skiiers are known to be fickle -- that kept people away? We didn't search for answers. Instead, we skied.

Saturday's sun, fresh powder and no-wait lifts kept us on the mountain all day. Not even a break for lunch. How could you stop with conditions like that?

Sprawling across three peaks in Lebanon's northern mountains, Faraya-Mzaar compared favorably with Colorado skiing. We found plenty of wide, steep faces with enough virgin snow to carve our own tracks all day long.

One of the unique aspects of the ski area are the views it affords. From atop Dome du Mzaar, with an elevation of 8,087 feet, the snow-capped mountains give way to brown hills and villages, which unfold toward Beirut and the sea. On a clear day, it is said one can see the shores of Cypress.