Skiable area: 80m
Ski lift: 19
If you plan to spend a holiday somewhere in the Middle East and enjoy skiing, (you perhaps thought you have misread it)- yes skiing! and some winter activities, it is best to go to Lebanon and visit the Mzaar Kfardebian Ski Resort. Also referred to as Ouyoune el Simane, the resort is regarded as the largest skiing area in the Middle East and one of Lebanon’s most scenic and entertaining mountain resorts. The resort is just an hour travel from Beirut.
Globally, Europe and America are famous for the most excellent winter spots. In Europe, France, Norway, and Austria offer great ski resorts. Also, in America – Colorado, Canada, and California showcase ideal destinations to spend the winter holiday. However, many remote places outside those continents offer excellent skiing areas, just like in Lebanon.
Skiing at Mzaar is fantastic! You will be immersed in natural beauty with the surrounding views and the picturesque Mount Lebanon scenery. Many runs suit every level of skiers, from first-timers to experts.
Due to its high elevation that reaches up to 2465m, Mzaar usually has incredible natural snow blanketing its 80 km ski tracks. The resort has 42 slopes for all types of winter sports including snowboarding, and skiing.
Lebanon’s skiing season is like that of the Alps that stays over four months ski season from early December to early April.
There are numerous people, especially winter sports enthusiasts, that come to the resort each year to witness the spectacular panoramas and the excellent ski area.
The summit of Mzaar offers a breathtaking view of the colorful and beautiful Bekaa Valley, Mount Hermon of the Anti-Lebanon, and other peaks such as Laqlouq and the Cedars. On clear days under a clear sky, some coastal towns and even Beirut are visible.
Advanced skiers need at least two days to ski the best of the resort and start searching for new tracks at Mzaar. Visitors can hire a guide to locate the different trails quickly and show other exciting areas. The lower slopes are suitable for beginner and intermediate skiers as they are wide and gentle.
Next to Mzaar’s peak is Wardeh and Jabal Dib (mountain of the wolf) Peak, which offers challenges for the experienced skier or snowboarder. Beginners can safely enjoy three other peaks more so intermediate skiers can skillfully showcase their skiing techniques and styles. Also, there are several cross-country trails. During the week, the resort opens from 8 am to 3:30 pm, but it extends until 4 pm during the weekend.
Besides traditional alpine skiing, people can practice Skidoo, night skiing, and snowboarding. There are also entertainment shows like ski shows and fashion shows, including G-string models, to further promote the resort globally.
If you wanted another fun activity at Mzaar, visit the stunning 30-meter natural bridge of Kfardebian formed by wind and water erosion and ruins of a Phoenician temple and a Roman tower.
BEST HOTELS NEAR MZAAR SKI RESORT
1. Grand Hotel Kadri – This hotel is a 5-star hotel in Brazil Street, Zahle, Lebanon. It’s about 16.5 km from Mzaar Kfardebian and 37 km to Beirut.
2. Princessa Hotel at Jounieh Coastal road, Jounieh, Lebanon, is 19.4 km from Mzaar Kfardebian and just 23 km to Beirut. This 4-star hotel is loved by most guests and provides a pool, free parking, a gym, bar, and restaurant.
3. Auberge Braidy at Boulevard Zahle, Zahle, Zahle, 1801, Lebanon. This 3-star hotel is 15.4 km from Mzaar Kfardebian. It has a gym, a bar, and free parking for guests.
4. Hôtel Saint Jean Zahle at Zahle Boulevard, Zahle, Zahle, 1801, Lebanon. This is a 3.5 star rated hotel that provides airport transfer, restaurant, bar, and free parking. It is approximately 16.9 km from Mzaar Kfardebian.
5. Zahle Hills Hotel at Maalaka Aradi, Zahle, Zahle, Lebanon, is a 3-star hotel that is about 40km to Beirut.
In 1960, a group of pioneers with Sami Geammal, and Emile Riachi installed the first ski lift imported from Switzerland on the “refuge” hill and built the first four chalets in the region. After a year, they bought 160,000 square meters of property from Prosper Gay-Para to expand the resort area.
The Faraya Mzaar – Tourism and Winter Sports Company was launched in 1963, with Sheikh Salim El-Khazen as the principal shareholder, and Joseph Abdo Khoury, the financier, who then became the company chairman and general manager. The company acquired the lands belonging to the Kesrouan district municipalities to build and operate ski lifts.
Mzaar Hotel was first opened in 1965, and the first chairlift was installed on the Jabal Dib Hills. With the third lift installation in 1968, the “Refuge” and “Jabal Dib” were interconnected. The resort’s third lift which was named “Jonction.”
During the civil war in the 1980s, Mzaar Company was taken over by the Saudi Group al Mabani led by Fouad Rizk and Nehme Tohme. When the Lebanese civil war ended in 1993, the new group started expanding the resort and introduced a three-seat chairlift that can reach Mzaar’s peak, the highest peak of the area. More chairlifts were then installed.