No offence, however you’re most likely fallacious about Lebanon. It is a nation that upends guests’ preconceived notions like no different.

Assume it’s harmful? You’re many instances extra more likely to be robbed again dwelling, just about no matter the place you’re from. Assume they don’t like Westerners? Lebanese faces mild up whenever you say “America” or “UK”; and in seconds you’ll be listening to about their second cousin twice eliminated who loves his life in Clearwater, Florida. Assume it’s a barren desert? You’ll fortunately be proved fallacious by Lebanon’s lushly forested valleys, waterfall-fed swimming holes and snow-capped peaks.

It’s the snow-capped peaks we’re right here to speak about at the moment. Enterprising Lebanese college students dwelling in Switzerland launched the primary snowboarding to the Mount Lebanon vary within the early 20th century. At this time there are six resorts; the most important and best-provisioned is Mzaar Kfardebian within the village of Faraya, simply over an hour’s drive from capital Beirut.

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Snowboarding at Mzaar is a literal fraction of the value of many resorts in Europe, to not point out North America (a one-day move at Aspen Snowmass final winter was $169).

Mzaar isn’t luxurious snowboarding – lifts is likely to be described as rickety, closing instances appear to be on the whim of the chain-smoking elevate operators and people with the sharpest elbows get by means of the elevate queues quickest – however at $33 (simply over £25) on weekdays, it might be one of many most cost-effective elevate tickets on this planet.

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1/10 Chalet Le Coquelicot

The indoor swimming pool at Chalet Le Coquelicot

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2/10 Chalet Joux Airplane

The “grownup swings” at Chalet Joux Airplane

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3/10 Chalet Mont Tremblant

The spacious master suite at Chalet Mont Tremblant

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4/10 Chalet Couttet

The out of doors pool at Chalet Couttet

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5/10 Chalet Le Grenier

Curl up and benefit from the view at Chalet Le Grenier

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6/10 Chalet Marco Polo

The pool at Chalet Marco Polo

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7/10 Chalet Quezac

One of many bedrooms at Chalet Quezac

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8/10 Chalet Zermatt

A eating space at Chalet Zermatt

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9/10 Chalet Le Grenier

The view from the terrace at Chalet Le Grenier

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10/10 Petit Palais

The Petit Palais social gathering room

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1/10 Chalet Le Coquelicot

The indoor swimming pool at Chalet Le Coquelicot

The Firefly Assortment

2/10 Chalet Joux Airplane

The “grownup swings” at Chalet Joux Airplane

The Firefly Assortment

3/10 Chalet Mont Tremblant

The spacious master suite at Chalet Mont Tremblant

The Firefly Assortment

4/10 Chalet Couttet

The out of doors pool at Chalet Couttet

The Firefly Assortment

5/10 Chalet Le Grenier

Curl up and benefit from the view at Chalet Le Grenier

The Firefly Assortment

6/10 Chalet Marco Polo

The pool at Chalet Marco Polo

The Firefly Assortment

7/10 Chalet Quezac

One of many bedrooms at Chalet Quezac

The Firefly Assortment

8/10 Chalet Zermatt

A eating space at Chalet Zermatt

The Firefly Assortment

9/10 Chalet Le Grenier

The view from the terrace at Chalet Le Grenier

The Firefly Assortment

10/10 Petit Palais

The Petit Palais social gathering room

The Firefly Assortment

These aren’t the Alps – there are just a few peaks above 3,000m – however for these of us who can’t shred like Lindsey Vonn, they’re greater than sufficient for a enjoyable day trip. Plus, in case you are extraordinarily motivated, you’ll be able to soak your muscle tissues within the Med within the afternoon. Discuss off-piste.

Right here’s all the pieces you’ll want to learn about snowboarding in Lebanon.

Welcome to the Lebanese ski slopes (Stephanie d’Arc Taylor)

What are the slopes like?

Mzaar (which implies “sanctuary” in Arabic) is split into three zones, listed right here within the order you’ll arrive at them coming from Beirut: Refuge, Jonction and Warde.

The Refuge lifts, accessible from the Intercontinental Mzaar Resort, will take you to as much as Dome du Mzaar (2,465m). On clear days, from right here you’ll be able to see Beirut and the Mediterranean to the west, and Syria past the decrease Ante-Lebanon vary to the east. Mzaar is the very best peak within the space; superior skiers will need to head straight right here and spend many of the day round these runs.

The author snowboarding in Mzaar (Stephanie d’Arc Taylor)

Jonction village is one other smart place to begin if you’ll want to lease tools. Right here you’ll be able to catch one elevate as much as the Jabal Dib summit (2,296m), which additionally has nice views and is dwelling to the very best restaurant in Lebanon, Auberge le Valais. The Mzaar summit can also be accessible from right here, by way of the Jonction elevate.

Dome de Warde (2,347m) is usually the least crowded part of the mountain, and is accessed from Warde village, about 10 minutes’ drive from Jonction.

How do I get there?

Mzaar resort is about an hour away from Beirut on a transparent run. Visitors will be hellish on this nation; to keep away from getting caught in a jam just under Faraya, depart Beirut no later than 7.30am. Or sleep in Faraya to hit the slopes proper after they open at 8.30am.

The French Alps…or the Lebanese Alps? (Stephanie d’Arc Taylor)

Should you haven’t rented a automotive from the airport or different rental spots on the town, ebook a taxi for the day from one of many many corporations in Beirut. Jopi Taxi (00961 76 450 658) prices $100 there and again plus ready time. Ensure you request a automotive with 4WD; it may get icy within the mountains.

The place to lease tools?

Hire tools from the Intercontinental in Refuge village, or on the Austria Home in Jonction village. Full gear, plus salopettes, a jacket, helmet and goggles ought to price about $40.

How a lot?

Weekday elevate tickets are one of many world’s greatest bargains, at 50,000 LBP (£25). That doubles on the weekends to 100,000 LBP (£50).

The place to eat/après-ski?

Many individuals go to Faraya for the scene on the Intercontinental foyer. A mug of whisky and scorching chocolate in entrance of a roaring hearth will all the time be the cosiest mid- or après-ski warm-up, and the people-watching is maybe the very best in all of Lebanon. Low-cost cosmetic surgery, seen firearms, full-length furs and other people making an attempt to stroll in stilettos on slushy flooring: it’s a scene you received’t quickly overlook.

A simple run at Mzaar (Stephanie d’Arc Taylor)

On the slopes, the Auberge le Valais, on the high of Jabal Dib, does pressed sandwiches, scorching canine and burgers, plus Lebanese beer and wine and mini bottles of Johnnie Walker. The meals is dear and mediocre, however all the pieces tastes higher at 2,900m, proper? The soundtrack, extremely, was authentic and remixed variations of Get Fortunate, on repeat. Welcome to Lebanon.

If you wish to bypass the Intercon mêlée and seize one thing fast and rib-sticking earlier than heading again, the town’s best burger joint, Smoking Bun, has a department on the way in which down the mountain.

Journey necessities

British Airways flies from London to Beirut for £242 return.