The Cedars Ski ResortThe Cedars resort is situated in the north of Lebanon. It is the country’s oldest ski area, having successfully attracted winter enthusiasts since the early 1920s. It is named after the towering ancient trees that once spread across the mountains of Lebanon and that today figure on its national flag. The small surviving grove is an important part of the Cedars village community.
The Cedars resort was the site of Lebanon’s first ski lift, built by the government in 1953. Since then, many more have been built, the last in 2005 and 2006 as an upgrade to the old T-bars. Several chair lifts can now deliver you to the very top of the mountain for off-piste and downhill thrills, as will a new six-person gondola that will run from the parking level at 2095 metres to the highest accessible summit of 2870 metres. In keeping with international regulations, a 400-person refuge will be built at the high end of the gondola, complete with telescopes through which Cyprus will be visible. An additional US$15 million is also being put into better accommodation, equipment, services roads, safety and services.
Due to its high elevation (2000 metres), the Cedars resort winter season is longer than most, sometimes stretching from early November through late April. The Cedars is perfect for beginners, with several snow-wire lifts on gentle slopes. Cross-country skiers will also find trails unmatched elsewhere in the country. Snowmobiling trips are common too.
We also recommend this resort because of its variety of après-ski activities. In addition to the Cedars Forest, numerous sites draw in the curious. Bcharreh, a neighbouring village, is the birth- and resting place of Gibran Khalil Gibran, Lebanon's most famous poet, artist and novelist. The Gibran Museum houses his paintings, drawings and personal effects. There are also curious Maronite churches and monasteries scattered throughout the mystic Qadisha Valley, where a large grotto is one of Lebanon’s most spectacular.
How to Reach the Cedars
The Cedars are in the north of Lebanon, about 130 kilometres from Beirut, or two hours by car. Take the coastal highway north to Chekka, just south of Tripoli, and then head east up towards Amioun when you see the sign "Les Cedres" on the highway. The mountain villages you will pass through along the way include Kousba, Tourza, Hadet, Hasroun, and Bcharreh.
There’s no shortage of shops for the purchase or rental of ski equipment, most visible one after the other as your approach the ski station. Rental of a complete ski or snowboard kit should run you between $10 and $15 per day.
Just at a few minutes by car, you can visit one these sites, like take a walk around Cedars Forest (Arz Al Rab, or God's Cedars), discover the village of Bcharreh or the museum of Gibran Khalil Gibran. A bit further, you may explore the Qadisha grotto or drive down to the Bekaa Kafra village, hosting St Charbel tomb and several old churches.