Check out our Early Bird Deals that will get you excited for Summer 2013. For your customized requests and tours, don’t hesitate to contact us on +961.70.103222 or +961.70.211503 or email us on [email protected].
Discounted Summer Chalets
Save 20% on your Studio Chalet booking at MzaarVille in August if you secure your booking before May 31st.
Deal expires on May 31, 2013.
InterContinental Spring Surprises
Enjoy unlimited relaxation and plenty of outdoor activities atInterContinental Mzaar resort this Spring. Special rates and discounts are available online.
Please allow us to introduce to you Dania Assaly, World Class Ski Champion discovering her Lebanese roots! We discovered Dania Assaly on Facebook through freestyle skiers friends that we have in common about a year ago; We “googled” her to find out what an amazing skier she is, and thought that it would be really interesting to invite such an athlete with Lebanese roots to ski in Lebanon, and maybe explore the idea of her representing Lebanon in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in the Super Pipe and Slope Style.
Dania Assaly was in Lebanon from the 25th of February to the 4th of March, a journey rich with new friendships, great moments on snow, breath taking sightseeing and indescribable moments in the village of her ancestors, Rachaya. You can check her blog for the day by day action on http://daniaassaly.blogspot.co.at/ but in the next lines, we’re going to tell you about this lovely young athlete and tell you why we invited her and try to make you grow fond of her like we did.
Signs don’t lie: The first thing she was told by the security officer at the Beirut Airport was: Ah, you’re Lebanese! Why did it take you so long to visit Lebanon?!” The man was so right! You should know that Dania is a 3rd generation Canadian, with Lebanese roots living in Edmonton- Canada; her great grandfather and great grandmother, both originally from Rachaya left Lebanon around 100 years ago; her grandmother and grandfather from her father’s side are both Lebanese, and no one from her family has visited Lebanon ever since, except her grandfather some 20 years ago. Despite that long period, you’d be as surprised as we were to find out that she eats raw Kebbe and tebleh and ftayer and many other Lebanese specialties back home; she even calls her grandmother, “Grandma Sitti”! We say: ” That girl is Lebanese but doesn’t know how much yet”! The next coming days will tell.
Anyway, let’s keep focus; Dania was invited here because she is a great skier, and because we have hopes she could represent Lebanon in Sochi in 2014, which is why we had a meeting with the President of the LSF, M. Charbel Salameh who was thrilled and very cooperative; We agreed on the next steps and things are moving forward with the best intentions.
At that point, and after 3 days with Dania, we had the chance to know her better, and let me tell you, fellow Lebanese, if this girl ever goes up on a podium for Lebanon, she’d be doing it from the bottom of her heart, not alike a naturalized athlete paid to represent a country! I remember her saying: “Everyone I meet here says they’re proud of me! Wow, that’s so motivating and sweet, I don’t get that a lot”. That was mainly after her interview on MTV (http://mtv.com.lb/Workout/Dany%20Aasali%2002%20Mar%202013), she even got that compliment from the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister, in the same day! (Thank you Minister Wael Abou Faour for setting those meeting on such short notice)
You would ask how Minister Abou Faour got in the picture? Well, as I mentioned above, Dania’s ancestors are from Rachaya, and who would be better to introduce us to Rachaya than our dear friends Walid and Liliane Maalouli, who out of their love for their village, were so motivated by the idea of Dania getting back to her ancestors land, that they started an investigation campaign before Dania got there! the idea that a champion from Rachaya would represent Lebanon in the Olympics got into them; actually, it was them who introduced us to Minister Abou Faour , and when he knew what the plan was, and that her plane was on Monday (2 days later), he took the initiative and got us a meeting with both the President and the PM who showed great cooperation to facilitate the process, especially that her roots are Lebanese and that her achievements are impressive (http://espn.go.com/action/athlete/history/_/id/50712/dania-assaly)
Let’s rewind a bit and go back to that week end in Rashaya, the emotional highlight of the trip. Tracing back the Assaly family (Abou Assaly originally) was an adventure worthy of a movie or a book; going from one house to another, asking the “Mokhtar”, checking with the old folks, making phone calls to people working at the “Serail” and have access to the old books…and taking pictures and falling in love with an authentic village under the eyes of Jabal el Sheikh still covered with snow; it was simply magical. Alike every Lebanese village, you enter a house to ask a simple and quick question, and you end up having coffee, and making a 30 minute visit. Dania was stoked; her eyes were smiling, her face was shining, she was in a trance, in a zone, not knowing what’s hitting her; actually it has been the case on daily basis since she landed. Skiing was so fun, 80’s night and Music Hall left her speechless, Harissa and Byblos knocked her out, and now Rachaya, looking for her ancestor’s house, and getting the “oh you’re an Assaly, you’re Lebanese!” from every single person she spoke to in the village, that was a lot to handle and no time to process.
Everyone she has met so far on that trip was friendly, gentle, nice and smiling to her, and she has been so nice, polite and thankful in return, but those who made an impact on her the most were the people of Rashaya: Walid and Liliane Maalouli, our great hosts for the week end without whom the whole Rachaya chapter wouldn’t have taken place, and all what generated from it (thank you both for doing all what you did, Rashaya is lucky to have people like you), Raydan Mahmoud who took us for an off road trip on Jabal Sheikh and sent back with Dania 10 kgs of sweets and dry fruits, and was such a great company during the whole weekend… you think this was the highlight? Think again, the peak was on the last day, when we finally found both her great grandparents houses and were told all about the Assaly family.
We finally knocked on the right Assaly’s house, the one that knows who to talk to, in order to complete the puzzle. We taped the whole conversation, it was so surreal, and no words could describe what was going on in Dania’s head or heart, but one thing is sure, her life will never be the same after that day. She represented 3 generations that had left and it was a sign for those who stayed here that they were no longer alone left in the village. At that moment, I saw and felt that Dania started to feel somehow, in a way, to the least… not only Canadian, and she seems to like it! If a picture can tell a thousand stories, the expression on her face could tell a million.
The man directed us to Michel Malek Abou Assaly, the guy who can give us the last pieces of the puzzle, but before we left, the Lady of the house fell in tears while taking a souvenir picture with Dania, and that was another moment of the trip!
10 minutes later, we found Michel. He handles an NGO that takes care of blind people, and owns the key of the church right in front of Dania’s ancestors house. We took pictures inside what’s left of the house, and visited the 150 year old church, and Dania learnt that her family used to take care of that Church, and that they offered many icons still present there! She was living another moment, she needed some time by herself to process, but at that point fellow citizens, I can tell you that she had adopted a Lebanon that had adopted her from Day 1.
Dania is now in Austria, for the 9 Queens event, where only 9 women are invited. We wish her good luck from the bottom of our heart and can’t wait to see her again.
Dania Assaly has now a new fan: A whole Country.
Our sponsors: Lady Speed Stick, Clearblue, Smith Optical (Blue Mountain), Armada Skis (La Maison du ski),
Beiruting & SKILEB.com for the exposure and for supporting the snow scene
Classic Burger Joint for the great meals
Eastline Marketing for the online support and marketing
Thank you all for making this trip happen. None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for your support.
We don’t want to forget:
All the officials who showed us support and full cooperation
Everybody mentioned in the article above
Christian Rizk and Mrs Nicole Wakim Freiha at Mzaar Ski Resort for the ski passes
Charbel Sabbagh for a great company on the slopes and for the action photos
Joe Abi Rached and Walid Chehaid, from the “Democratic Republic of Snowboarding” for an unforgettable afternoon ride on the Grande Coulee
Issam Moubarak for lodging Dania at Mzaar Ski Resort
Zoya Issa el Khoury and Amin Dib from MTV Lebanon for a great interview
All the Rashaya people who were not mentioned above and who made her stay memorable
All those we forgot to mention…
You all made this trip what it turned out to be! A MILLION THANK YOU.
Solicet presents Ski & Fashion Festival 2013 which will take place on March 23, 2013 starting 11:00 am at the Refuge Terrace of the Mzaar Intercontinental Mountain Resort and Spa. Enjoy the Diamony fashion show sponsored by Toni Sailer, Travel Team, and Mix FM, and in collaboration with Mzaar Ski Resort and Mzaar Intercontinental Mountain Resort and Spa.
By Alex Taylor – The Daily Star
Photos: Mahmoud Kheir
KFARDEBIAN/JBEIL, Lebanon: The “ski in the morning and swim in the afternoon” slogan has long been touted in top 10 destinations lists featuring Lebanon. The country promises extremes unmatched by any other touristic experience – snow and the sea in the same day, women in hijabs and miniskirts walking down the same street.
Lebanon, the phoenix, rises from the dust (or maybe the melting snow) to return to her legendary, travel glory. Unlike walking wardrobe contradictions, which are readily observable year round, there are only a few magical days when the weather cooperates and the ski/swim attraction is possible to attempt. With the slopes reportedly still open and the temperature sliding higher, I decided to test the cliché, planning a trip to Mzaar ski resort in the morning and finishing at the beach in Jbeil.
Beginning my journey early on a traffic-less Good Friday, I hit the road around 8 a.m. to get to Mzaar for the best snow. Winding up the mountain streets, a few roadside vendors hawk mittens, gloves and cheap sunglasses, taking advantage of one of the last weekends of the year to move their merchandise.
In February, snow covered the ground at the roundabout in Jeita, but today, the first snow sighting is in Mayrouba at about 1,250 meters. Glimpses of the peaks in the distance show that there is plenty of snow. But as I get closer I wonder if I’m about to be confronted by a giant pile of slush.
I enter the town of Faraya greeted by a waving Pierre Gemayel and a throng of cars and people. I worry at first they are all headed to the slopes like me, but it turns out (thank God) they are headed to Good Friday mass. It strikes me that the national holiday may be more important to enabling the completion of the ski-and-swim challenge than weather conditions as we arrive to the relatively empty Mzaar parking lot in record time.
In the equipment rental shop I inquire if any of my fellow skiers are as intrepid as I in their ambitions for the day, joining me on the snow-to-sea trek. None volunteer but, fortuitously, one man tells me that he accomplished the feat once before, five years ago.
“Everyone says you can do it, but not many people who tell you to do it can say they’ve done it,” my new friend Georges says as I seek advice about the best place to swim. I ask him what it was like, to realize the ultimate Lebanon experience.
“We felt like rock stars,” he replied. Enough said. Excited and wanting to feel like a rock star myself, I eye the 1980s-era, hot-pink ski suits hanging in the shop.
Soon though, in my normal fleece, I hit “la piste.” Unlike my earlier trips to Mzaar, the chairlift waits are short and there are no children zooming around me, yelling in French as they slide over my skis and push through the “line.” The snow up top is surprisingly light and enjoyable but gets stickier the lower you go, like skiing through a snow cone. The estimation by the Mzaar ski patroller that the season will last another weekend, and possibly two if we’re lucky, seems a bit of a stretch. But today, conditions couldn’t be better – breezy and sunny, making the temperature seem much warmer than the 15 degrees the monitor in town shows.
After a few runs, I’m feeling exhilarated, but a bit overheated and in need of a swim. It might be the booming tunes by Stereo Love and the Black Eyed Peas blaring from the lodge speakers or maybe subliminal messaging from all the billboards advertising vodka, but I’m feeling ready for another, world-renowned Lebanese pastime – to party. I take off my skis, intent on joining the snow bunnies drinking white wine at the lodge in their furry, Prada boots, but remember that I have a mission.
I’m off to Jbeil, following flashy Hummers driving down the mountain. As I descend, the temperature rises, as do the glorious smokestacks of the Zouk power plant just ahead. Beach, here I come.
I slip onto the beach in front of Eddé Sands in Jbeil from the public entrance, navigating rocks and last summer’s empty bottles of Ksara Sunset. Once I reach the water, I kick off my shoes to feel the baked, orange sand between my toes. To my surprise, the beachgoers abound, lounging and playing in the water. Ready with my swimsuit donned under my ski gear, it’s now or never. I pick the least slimy looking bit of beach and run in, hoping the thin, green film on the water’s surface isn’t something contagious. The temperature is shockingly cold but I’m in to win it and dunk my head. Mission accomplished.
After a brief swim curtailed by chattering teeth, I rest on my towel at the edge of a row of plush, pink beach beds newly laid out by Eddé Sands for the start of the summer season. The local patrons appear just as worn out as me, lounging and sleeping, slathered in tanning oil – so exhausted it seems that a few need their maids to build sandcastles with the children and refill their water cups. Oh, what a day we’ve had.
Gazing down the coast to where I assume Beirut sits behind a cloud of smog, I feel exuberant and consider my accomplishment. Do I feel like a rock star, though? Not quite. But I hear that you really haven’t seen Lebanon until you’ve been seen at another Beirut institution – SKYBAR. Cue bass.
This March 4, back by popular demand, is the Diamony Ski and Fashion Festival 2012. Solicet is proud to present the sexiest event of the winter!
Mark your calendars for another invasion of gorgeous international L.I.P.S models flaunting the highest fashion in skiwear and clothing design. The show promises to be even hotter and cooler than last year. Glamour, culture, and beautiful eye candy … not to be missed!
Enjoy this show on the snow featuring Diamony, “the best lingerie in town.”
It’s already a pretty bumper season of snow on Lebanon’s top ski slopes and we hope that many of you have already managed to make your way out onto the pistes to enjoy some of the outstanding powder that’s fallen so far this year.
If you’re a ski lover, have you considered spreading a little joy? Maybe you’ve got a friend that you’d like to introduce the experience to or maybe you want to stage an intervention and get someone out of their office and onto the mountain.
Luckily, there’s a great new way to share the wealth. Flowers to Lebanon is a great new gift service that allows you to purchase holiday experiences for your friends, colleagues and family. If you feel like playing the guardian angel, you can arrange for one of the very special packages to be sent directly to your lucky recipient.
Perhaps you’ve got a buddy who’s not so keen on skiing and you want to keep them out of your hair while you get some time to yourself? Why not help them gain a skiier’s appreciation for the breathtaking local scenery by having them hop on the back of a skimobile for a tour. You get to hit the slopes and they get a taste for powder while keeping their feet dry at the same time. Everybody’s a winner!
Of course, there are plenty of other gifts available for delivery if you want to send your commiserations to a friend who can’t get the time off from work to come skiing with you. Perhaps a nice bouquet of flowers or even a cake will be enough to cheer them up!
Are the lifts open yet? When are the lifts going to open? These are the questions on everyone’s mind at skileb.com, and the answer is: yes and no. The lifts at The Cedars ski resort were the first to open, but it’s still early in the season, and there’s still a lot of grooming and preparing to do. The folks over at Mzaar ski resort are holding out until conditions are just right, so the lifts over there haven’t opened yet. But that hasn’t seemed to stop some audacious riders from walking to the top with their boards to make the first tracks on the mountain.
As always, the biggest variable is snowfall. It’s about time to start wishing, praying, chanting, snow dancing, or whatever it takes to bring about that final snowfall needed to get the slopes up and running. So, this week, we’ve found some snow-provoking humor as a tribute to the gods of snow up there who decide when we can start skiing again.
Let it snow … man.
If you’ve been following skileb.com on Facebook, you know we like to sprinkle things with a little snow humor sometimes. Silly snow cartoons and photos make it onto the wall, right up there with awesome photos of snowy Lebanon, insider information, and hot deals. So if you’re not following us in Facebook, get on it! Join the fun.
And seriously, let it snow. We want the green light on all of Lebanon’s ski lifts!
Want to know what’s open when? Follow skileb.com on Twitter to join the conversation, or just check our website for the most recent updates from the ski lifts themselves.
As you get ready for ski season in Lebanon, which will be starting any day now, take a moment to think wishfully about the coolest ski gadgets out there. Here are a few awesome little items to drool over while you’re booking your Lebanon ski trip on skileb.com and making your wish list for the holiday season that is also just around the corner. For yourself or the avid skier you love, these fun accessories will make life on the ski slopes even more fun!
1) The HD HERO 2 head-mounting waterproof action camera. You Previewknow when you’ve just had an epic run, shredding through powder and making the first tracks on the mountain. Now everyone else can know it, too, because you can capture cool Lebanon ski videos and upload them to the internet in a snap. Check out the market leader in head-mounting cameras, the HD HERO 2, now with even more power and versatility than ever.
2) Motorola Walkie Talkie Twin Pack. Tired of using precious cell phone battery and racking up your phone bill in order to find your friends and family while on the mountain? Why not head to Mzaar ski resort or The Cedars ski resort with these light and agile T5 PMR Radio Twin pack? These twins were built for the outdoors, as they are shock proof and waterproof to survive even the roughest tumbles and keep you in contact all day long.
3) ReCon GPS Googles. Wanna feel like James Bond on skis? These “Real Zeal Transcend Goggles” are the most futuristic eyeware out there. They come from Recon, with features you will not believe. There’s an LDC screen inside the googles that displays loads of information, such as current temperature in Lebanon, time vertical skied, distance traveled, altitude, and speed. It also has Bluetooth capabilities to keep you in tune and in touch on the mountain.
4) Foot Warming Systems. From the folks at Conform-able comes an amazing line of high tech foot warming gadgets to keep your feet toasty warm on even the coldest days on the mountain. Browse their liners and insoles that will enhance your ski boots, not only keeping your feet the temperature you choose, but also adding other ergonomic benefits like arch support that will help distribute your weight more evenly and keep you more comfortable for a longer day on the lifts.
5) Soul Poles. This ski accessory is perhaps the most futuristic in its design, because it’s all about sustainability. Bamboo ski poles that not only look really cool, they’re also eco-friendly. They’ll turn heads on the slopes. The natural bamboo shafts are 100% biodegradable, and the straps are made of hemp. These poles also deliver big-time in performance and style. Give your ski attire an earthy edge while enjoying the great outdoors.
Yes, some of these items are priced even steeper than the Jonction Slope of Mzaar ski resort but it’s fun to dream, isn’t it? Once you have your gadgets and gear in place, book your Lebanon ski holiday online at skileb.com, where we hook you up with the best deals and packages to be found on the web. See you on the slopes!
What are you doing this New Years? Make it a countdown on the snow near Lebanon’s most loved winter hot spot — Mzaar ski resort. Whether you want a cozy countdown for two or a crazy countdown party, you can be assured that you’ll start 2012 off to a great start in San Antonio Hotel in Mzaar Kfardebian.
To you give one more reason to choose an alpine escape in Lebanon for your New Years celebration, San Antonio Hotel is offering a special discount. Stay for five nights at just $500, a savings of $50. Tax and breakfast included. It’s the perfect stay for a holiday trip with plenty of full days on the slopes.
A Popping Party in the Mountains of Mzaar Kfardebian
For fiesta fans, the party in the mountains will be hot. Beirut isn’t the only spot to dance all night long at a rockstar New Years Eve party. Lebanon’s highest profile DJs and VIPs choose the Faraya scene to see and be seen on the weekends, and New Years is no exception. Last year, the most popping New Years party in Lebanon was at the L’Interdit in Mzaar, where DJ MAK spun jams well into the first hours of 2011. L’interdit has had hot New Years parties for the past several years, so you can look forward to the tradition to ring in 2012.
Sparks and Romance for Two in Mzaar
For a more romantic and intimate New Years countdown, San Antonio Hotel’s deal is great for couples too. Toast to the New Year in this cozy Mzaar hotel after a fine meal in the restaurant, and waste no time enjoying an early breakfast in the morning and being the first ones out on the slopes.
To see other romantic lodging options in Lebanon’s most charming alpine landscapes, check out our chalets in Faraya.