What’s New in Faraya and Mzaar Hotels

As if the climax of ski season weren’t enough, here are two more good reasons to plan your ski trip to Lebanon this month. We’re pleased to announce the opening (and re-opening) of two hot new hotels in Mzaar and Faraya. Come be the first to premier these highly fashionable new lodging options in alpine Lebanon.

Urban Faqra hotel deluxe room
Deluxe room at Urban Faqra

Urban Hotel Faqra

Want a taste of chic downtown style and Beirut-esque design, far away in the mountains near Mzaar Ski Resort? Yes, you can haven it both ways. Walking into brand-new Urban Hotel Faqra is like stepping into a metropolitan boutique hotel. It’s an unexpected and completely entrancing surprise in a small ski resort town.

The thoughtful décor at Urban Faqra is both cozy and contemporary at the same time. In the rooms, surfaces of soft whites and beiges complement accents like sharp black skylines, creative lighting, and colorful throw pillows. In the lobby, textured arched passageways in stark white are reminiscent of an arctic underground, warmed by a pop-art fireplace.

Urban Faqra lobby fireplace
Pop-art fireplace in the Urban Faqra lobby

The real highlight of Urban Faqra is the restaurant and bar, with fine dining options that you would expect from downtown Beirut but set in front of a magnificent mountain-scape view. The menu presents a sophisticated array of breakfast, lunch and dinner items, not to mention the drinks menu and tantalizing desserts. Opt for French-inspired Fondue, raclette, charcuterie and bliss out on the nuanced flavors, but don’t forget to enjoy the snowcapped alpine panorama at the same time. The perfect way to end a great ski day.

San Antonio Hotel, Faraya

For a more classic ski lodge feel, check out the renovations at newly-reopened San Antonio Hotel, ideally located just between the Mzaar ski lifts and Faqra Club resort. It’s everything a rustic ski lodge should be, from the cozy lobby fireplace to the deep wood paneling and dark leather upholstery.

San Antonio Hotel in a snow storm
San Antonio Hotel in a snow storm

Now, the updates and enhancements will ensure total comfort. Here, you’ll also find an in-house dining option at the San Antonio restaurant. Come see what’s new!

Planning a ski trip to Lebanon? Book online with SKILEB.com for the best deals and discounts to be found on the internet. And don’t forget to join our big, vibrant community at SKILEB.com Facebook

Share the Love – Help a Friend Hit the Slopes

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.

Flowers to Lebanon - New Gift Service

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.

In addition to gifts and presents, you can get your friends onto the slopes with a full day lift pass for the Mzaar resort. Or if you’re feeling especially generous, you can sign them up for the full ski experience package – plucking them out of the daily grind in Beirut for an amazing trip to the slopes.

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!

Share the love, share the fun and tell us about it on Facebook!

Top Five Ski Gadgets for 2012

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!

HD Hero 21) 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.

 

walkie talkies2) 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.

 

Recon goggles3) 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.

 

Footwarming system4) 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.

 

Soul Poles5) 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!

Winter forecast in Lebanon: sunny, with 100% chance of snow

Yes, it’s true. Lebanon is a wintertime ski destination. Tell your friends, but not too many of them. The fact that there’s great skiing in Lebanon is one of the best kept snow-lover secrets out there.

How can you find out more about ski conditions in Lebanon? Skileb.com is the best source of ski weather, conditions, images, and ski chat in Lebanon. We’re always thinking of new ways to keep you informed about what’s up on our mountaintops. Here are three place to go for the latest, most accurate real-time information about skiing in Lebanon:

weather forecast in Lebanon

1) Weather Page on Skileb.com

On the skileb.com weather page, powered by Snow Forecast, you can find all sorts of useful details. Get the specifics about the Mzaar (formerly Faraya Mzaar) ski resort. We also have the weather lowdown on The Cedars, Laqlouq, Zaarour, and the capital city of Beirut. Check out the maximum and minimum temperatures, wind speed, freezing level, and precipitation outlook.

satellite image, snow in lebanon

2) Satellite Images of Lebanon on Skileb.com

Provided by NASA Earth Data, the satellite imagery of Lebanon on our our newest page of Skileb.com is a fascinating big picture of ski conditions in Lebanon. It’s refreshed two times a day. During the wintertime, you can use these satellite images to identify which areas are covered in white. A great way to see Mzaar and the Cedars from way, WAY up!

the cedars in lebanon, webcam

3) Live Web Cams on Skileb.com

The next best thing to being in Lebanon and looking out the window of your chalet in Mzaar, the web cams on skileb.com give you the most updated peek at the slopes in Lebanon. There are four different web cams to choose from. You can spy on the lifts at Mzaar, have a look at Mzaar from MzaarVille Chalets or take a peek at the lifts at The Cedars and downtown Beirut.

Once you see where the fresh powder is falling and when, you can book your chalet in Mzaar or hotel in The Cedars accordingly. And don’t forget to find Skileb.com on Facebook for even more fun and details about all things skiing in Lebanon.

A Taste of Lebanon: Cuisine and Recipes You’ll Love

If you’re visiting Lebanon for a ski holiday this winter, you’ll probably have a chance to get a taste of the real Lebanon through its rich cuisine. Nothing complements a day on the slopes like a delicious dinner afterwards. In a lot of hotels in Mzaar, for example, the hotel restaurants will have a choice of international fare or authentic Lebanese cuisine. We recommend that you go Lebanese.

What exactly is Lebanese cuisine? What are its most characteristic flavors? It’s a special variation of Middle Eastern cuisine, with its own nuances, specialties, and variations. Think blends of garlic, olive oil, veggies, meats, fresh herbs and savory spices. Imagine sweet, flaky Baklava with coffee for dessert.

If you want to sample Lebanese cuisine wherever you happen to be, we’ve found some of the best Lebanese recipe and cuisine blogs out there. Browse these tantalizing dishes to decide if you want to try your hand at preparing one for yourself, or just to help you decide what to order from the menu when you’re here enjoying your Lebanon ski holiday experience.

1) Cook and Eat Lebanese

The folks at cookandeat-lebanese.com have one of the most detailed and comprehensive guides to Lebanese cuisine online. You can check out new restaurant reviews, find the most recommended Lebanese markets, and if you register on the site you can even download their prized recipes. Organized, clean, and easy-to-use, this site is sure to get your juices flowing. Click on the image below to visit the site.

cookandeat-lebanese.com
click image to visit cookandeat-lebanese.com

2) Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen

This Lebanese foodie blog is maintained by a Lebanese couple Edgard and Sarah as a loving tribute to Edgard’s mother Esperance and her lifelong mastery of Lebanese dishes. Esperance learned the craft of cooking from her own mother, making these special recipes true heirloom items. On the site, you can browse the neatly categorized recipes, read cookbook reviews, learn about the essentials of a well-stocked Lebanese pantry, and even buy specialty ingredients from the store. Click on the image below to visit the site.

mamaslebanesekitchen.com
click image to visit mamaslebanesekitchen.com

3) Taste of Beirut

The exploration of Lebanese cuisine and recipes isn’t complete without a stop at tasteofbeirut.com, “Lebanese food recipes for home cooking.” The food photography on this site is fantastic and may have you trying to lick your screen. Peruse the recipes and the ample information pages to find out why Taste of Beirut has also gained itself a following of hundreds on Facebook and Twitter. Click on the image below to visit the site.

tasteofbeirut.com
click image to visit tasteofbeirut.com

You’ve had a virtual tour of Lebanese cuisine, maybe you’ve found a few recipes to try out for yourself, but there’s nothing like trying the cuisine as prepared by Lebanese people on their turf. Whether you’re skiing in Mzaar or one of Lebanese other premier resorts, check out our Mzaar dining guide to help you decide where to go for a full, true Lebanese dining experience. Bon appetite!

Anatomy of the Skileb.com Community

It’s easy to see that Skileb.com is a fun crowd. Take a look at Skileb.com on Facebook with 5,268 fans and counting, for example. It’s an active community space where people from all over the world share a love for skiing and Lebanon.

If you take a look at Skileb.com on YouTube, you’ll find a fun community of extreme outdoors sports enthusiasts of all kinds. We’ve shared our footage of 4×4 quad riding in Lebanon, paragliding over Beirut, rafting the rivers of Lebanon, and of course some killer ski moments.

On the Skileb.com website itself, you can get in touch with the community by checking out the hot Lebanon events that we post, and by keeping up with all the latest news on this skileb.com blog.

skileb.com facebook demographics

From our viewpoint on the admin side of the skileb.com Facebook page, we can use the Facebook Insights data to find out even more about our vibrant Skileb.com community. Ever wonder how old we all are? Or what the guy to girl ratio is? Or where we’re all from?

Here’s an inside glance at a cross-section of the Skileb.com Facebook community demographics. It looks like most of us are between 25 and 34 years old, and that guys slightly outnumber girls.

skileb.com facebook demographics 2

We’re a very international bunch. According to the following Facebook data, we have members from a diverse lineup of countries, both in the Middle East, Europe and beyond. We also very multi-lingual, with English as the vehicular language but also a great mix of other tongues in there to keep it interesting. Conclusion: we’re a young, international, and very fun-loving online community. Just imagine what a real-life Skileb.com party would look like!

Connect!
How many ways could we think of to build up our community? Lots! Choose your favorite way to get in touch online:
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Watch us on YouTube
Subscribe to our newsletter
Read our blog (you can even write for us too!)

5 Fun Facts about Skiing in Lebanon

Not everybody realizes that there’s a great ski destination in the Eastern Mediterranean. ‘Skiing in the Middle East’ sounds almost like a contradiction, unless you imagine the artificial slopes of Dubai. But little-known Lebanon makes a great white holiday without the lines and congestion of some of its more famous European counterparts. Here are more little-known facts about skiing in Lebanon:

1) You can hit the slopes in half an hour.
Lebanon is a small country, which you can drive across in less than three hours. There are two mountain ranges that are separated by the Bekaa Valley, and some of the best skiing to be found is on the western mountain range, toward Beirut. This means that you can get from the capital to some of the best Lebanon ski resorts in about half an hour!

skiing in Lebanon
Photo by Taras Kalapun

2) It is less than 100 years old.
The sport of skiing arrived in Lebanon in the early 20th century, when an engineer from Lebanon went to study in Switzerland and came back to his home country with a new-found love for the sport. This was in 1913. The first ski club wasn’t formed until 1934. Skiing really took off as a commercial activity in the early 90’s.

3) The word ‘Lebanon’ actually means ‘snow’
Although skiing wasn’t introduced in Lebanon until relatively recently, the area has been known as a snowy white haven in the Middle East. ‘Lebanon’ is derived from the Semitic word ‘laban’, which means ‘white.’ It’s no wonder that this is the first impression of Lebanon for the ancient civilizations who first beheld it — its stunning white peaks rising just beyond the Mediterranean are characteristically Lebanon.

4) You can reach 3088 meters of altitude.
The highest peak in Lebanon, called Korneh El Sawda towers at an impressive 3088 meters above sea level. Many people choose to reach the highest summit by hike during the summer months. Like most peaks in Lebanon that are over 2500 meters, it is covered in snow for over 6 months of the year.  The closest ski resort is Cedars, which has some of the highest slopes in Lebanon. Check out our Lebanon ski resorts comparison for the stats.

5) Lebanon goes for Olympic gold
With great ski infrastructure in place, Lebanon has been able to send a number of local champions to the Olympics and World Championships. Lebanese skiers represented their country in 1964, 1967, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1988, and 1992. Rumor has it that engineers are working to build additional slopes that will rival world-class resorts, and Lebanon will eventually bid to host its own winter Olympic Games.

If you haven’t already checked out the ski scene in Lebanon, this winter is the time to do it. Ski season starts in December, so start planning your Lebanon ski holiday today!

An Overview of Lebanon’s Top Ski Resorts Part 2

This is the second part of a short series of posts highlighting the best aspects of Lebanon’s top ski resorts. We aim to give you an oversight of some of the options available to you when planning a skiing holiday in Lebanon. Whether you’re planning a return to the slopes, or are looking to try out something completely new, we’re confident that you’ll find something to suit your tastes.

In our last update we looked at the resorts of Laqlouq, Mzaar and the Cedars. You can read part one here.

Faqra

Faqra, also known as Faqra Club, is located some 50km to the North East of Beirut. This makes it easily accessible from the capital’s main airport and also makes it ideally suitable for shorter breaks for those operating out of Beirut itself.

Faqra is a smaller resort with around 4 lifts, but it has a lot to offer to visitors. The resort’s main hotel, l’Auberge de Faqra, boasts excellent facilities including a heated swimming pool, squash courts and a sauna – the perfect way to relax after a hard day on the slopes.

The resort has an unusual claim to fame – the remains of a Roman temple are located nearby. These historical relics are a testament to Faqra’s enduring popularity – even the ancients recognised it as a wonderful location!

Click here to read more about Faqra.

Qanat Bakish

Located close to Faqra, Qanat Bakish is a quiet, picturesque resort. While it doesn’t have as much to offer by way of nightlife when compare to some of the busier tourist hotspots, what it lacks in hustle and bustle is more than made up for by its tranquillity.

Home to just three lifts, it’s probably fair to say that Qanat Bakish is an acquired taste. If you’re looking for challenging runs or adrenaline pumping action, you’d be better off opting for a resort such as Mzaar.

But if you’re looking for the perfect place to get away from it all and relax with some gentle runs, this could be your ideal destination. Like Faqra, Qanat Bakish is near to Beirut, making it perfect for short breaks. Its relatively high altitude also ensures quality snow.

Click here to read more about Qanat Bakish.

Zaarour
The view across Zaarour

Zaarour

Out of all of Lebanon’s ski resorts, Zaarour is closest to the capital city of Lebanon. It’s easy to reach for those staying in Lebanon hotels and makes weekend ski breaks a distinct possibility.

Its north-facing slopes mean excellent snow and its multiple lifts mean that its easy to pack as much skiing as possible into a a single day.

Zaarour is also home to some outstanding cross-country skiing routes, giving you the chance to mix up your piste action with something slightly different.

Click here to read more about Zaarour.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our brief look at the highlights of Lebanon’s ski resorts. With winter just around the corner, now’s the perfect time to be planning your ski getaway. If any of these resorts have taken your fancy, we recommend getting in touch straight away to discuss how we can put together your ideal skiing holiday.

Also remember to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to be first in line for upcoming deals and announcements.

An Overview of Lebanon’s Top Ski Resorts – Part 1

The season is nearly on us once more and, if you haven’t already, it’s time to start planning your next ski vacation in Lebanon.

The old hands and experts will undoubtedly already have their favorite destinations when it comes to choosing a resort, but for all the new people who are yet to experience the rush of a Lebanese skiing holiday, we’re here to give you a run down on the best resorts the country has to offer.

The View from the peak above Mzaar, Lebanon
The incredible view from the peak above Mzaar, Lebanon

The Cedars

Sharing its name with the country’s national emblem, The Cedars Resort is a great destination for those who love nature, or are looking for a relaxing break in (relative) isolation.

Located at an elevation of 2000m, the resort enjoys a slightly longer season than some of the country’s other resorts. In addition to multiple runs, visitors also have access to great hiking routes and incredible views.

The Cedars has plenty to offer to both beginners and experts, with pistes ranging from entry level all the way up to challenging black runs.

Click here to read more about the Cedars Resort.

Laqlouq

Situated at a slightly lower altitude of around 1600 m, Laqlouq is a more accessible resort. In addition to being easy to get to, it also has a range of courses that are slightly more beginner-friendly than other destinations.

While the traditional skiing is excellent, Laqlouq is also known for the quality of its cross-country runs. If you like to complement your pistes with level courses, this is an excellent choice.

Click here to read more about Laqlouq.

Mzaar

Also known as Faraya Mzaar – Faraya being a nearby village. This is Lebanon’s most popular resort and has a huge variety of skiing on offer.

The Intercontinental Hotel, Mzaar
The Intercontinental Hotel - one of Mzaar's most popular accommodation options

Those who love a challenge will be impressed by the sheer number of options available to them, while newbies who are just starting out will receive an excellent introduction on the gentler slopes.

Mzaar is a bustling and welcoming resort with plenty going on. This is an excellent all-round destination and particularly appealing to those who enjoy the après-ski aspect as much as the slopes themselves.

Click here to read more about Mzaar.

Next week we’ll round off our overview of Lebanon’s best ski resorts. Until then, do you have a particular favorite? We’re always keen to hear from you! Leave us a comment below.

Remember, you can also follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to be in with a chance of snapping up some great early bird offers!