La Patrouille des Cedres

Organized by Bank Audi sal – Audi Saradar Group

If you are fan of backcountry skiing, or ski de randonnee alpine, then La Patrouille des Cedres is something you would definitely want to be part of. Get ready this March 2008 for an unprecedented world-skiing event in Lebanon, brought in collaboration with the same organizers of La Patrouille des Glaciers in Switzerland, one of the world’s most challenging snow races.


Friday March 7th, 2008 – The Eve of the Race
An Open Pasta Night – on the house. A nice occasion gathering all contestants to get them acquainted with one another, and mostly to beef up their physical performance with all the carbohydrates they can eat!

Saturday March 8th, 2008 – The Big Day
Beginning of the PDC at 9:00 am sharp.

Evening of Saturday March 8th, 2008 – End-of-race Celebration
Announcement of results and distribution of medal prizes to the winning teams. A complimentary evening of festivities and entertainment will then follow to close the first successful edition of the PDC in Lebanon.

The following 2-days program is proposed for international participants wishing to make the most out of their stay:

Sunday March 9th, 2008: 1st Excursion with Lebanese Adventure*
Hiking trip in the valley of Qadisha (inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list).

Monday March 10th, 2008: 2nd Excursion with Lebanese Adventure*
Visit to the grotto of Roueiss in the Aqoura region – Northern Lebanon


Although the national language is Arabic, French comes as a close second, and most people speak all three languages, Arabic, French, and English.

The Lebanese Pound, LBP or LL, is the official currency, but most shops will also accept US dollars as well. The exchange rate has been very stable at LBP 1500 to the US Dollar.

Like Switzerland, Lebanon is relatively small. The only means of transport though, is by road. No trains or inland flights. From the airport to Beirut are only 10 or 15 minutes. And from Beirut to Faqra Kfardebian, the race venue, is 75 minutes. Therefore, from the airport, at sea level, to the race site at 1650m, is about one and a half hours by car or bus.

Lebanese cuisine is famous the world over, and there is no shortage of dishes to savor in Lebanon. The food is varied with meat, fish, rice, pasta, vegetables etc. Most restaurants also offer western cuisine, and some even serve Fondue and Raclette!

It is impossible to predict what the weather will be like on March 8th, but there is a fair chance of having bright blue skies at that time of the year.

Lebanon enjoys relatively mild weather. Although it will almost certainly freeze overnight, temperatures during the day will certainly rise above freezing, and it is not uncommon to experience more than 10 degrees Celsius towards the middle of the day, excluding the wind factor.

Unless it happens to be a perfect windless sunny day, we may experience some wind, especially on the mountain tops. This is why participants are required to carry a windbreaker or something similar inside their pack. The wind is never threatening, and will not cause anything major but a lowering of the ambient temperature.

Here, we have two basic scenarios.

1- There was a recent snowfall, and the top layer hasn’t yet been packed or transformed. In that case, we will have rather light fresh snow.
2- It hasn’t snowed for more than a week, and the layers, including the top one, have been transformed and packed. In this case, we will experience hard frozen snow in the morning, changing to softer snow as the day progresses.
Either way, the race authorities will lay tracks on the eve of the race, and there will be a trace to follow. Please try your best to keep it intact for those following behind.

Lebanon has not seen avalanches for the past 30 years, and it would be extremely unlikely to happen on Saturday March 8th. This is the reason why competitors are not required to carry beacons, probes and shovels.
As for crevasses, these are nonexistent given that there are no glaciers in Lebanon.

There is no need for crampons, ice axes, or harnesses. Although it is not required by the rules and regulations of the PDC, competitors are welcome to bring and use their SKI CRAMPONS or COUTEAUX to be used on race day if conditions are very icy in the morning.

There will be close to 1500m of positive ascent, most of which will be at the early stages of the race. The race will also end with a slight uphill, and there may be a flat portion in the middle where, depending on snow conditions, the stronger skiers will be able to skate without skins on. The start and finish are at the same spot.

The two member teams are not required to be roped, but there will be fixed ropes installed at least in one technical passage. Competitors will have to strap their skis and poles securely on their packs, and climb up the prepared steps, handling the rope with both hands for safety. Great care must be taken in order to insure the safety of the competitors below. Any skiers found negotiating that technical passage without their skis SECURELY strapped to their backpack will be penalized. Please see Rules and Regulations.

Competitors will have to carry all of their food and drink requirements themselves. The Marshals on the course, are not authorized, and will not, provide any to the competitors, unless it is an emergency of course. A minimum of 600ml of liquid, water or other, and 500 Kcal of food are required to be present in each competitor’s pack at the start. Please see Rules and Regulations.

The PDC race organization will take great care to isolate its competitors from the rest of the skiers of the Mzaar (ex Faraya-Mzaar) ski station through which some of the downhill portions are carried. It is however the competitor’s responsibility to avoid the other skiers, especially those being overtaken.

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