Mzaar Ski Resort (was Faraya Mzaar)Mzaar Kfardebian, formerly called Faraya Mzaar, is the most popular and best-serviced ski resort in Lebanon. It is spread across the slopes of Ouyoune El-Simane, in the village of Kfardebian, which is above the village of Faraya. During the skiing season, lasting for the same four months as those of the European Alps (roughly December through March), 42 trails extend for more than 80 kilometres of ski tracks. No wonder it’s a primary destination for skiers, snowboarders, snowmobile addicts, cross-country lovers and paragliders throughout the country.
If you’re an advanced skier, plan for at least two days in the area, starting with the best established trails and then identifying your own. The most thrilling challenges will come from hiring a ski-school guide who can take you to other exciting areas. Both intermediate and beginner skiers will also discover more than enough to keep them both happy and busy on the middle and lower slopes.
From the top of Mzaar, at 2465 metres, there are breathtaking views over the whole country: to the east, the colourful Bekaa Valley, Mount Hermon of the Anti-Lebanon and other peaks like Laqlouq and the Cedars; to the west, coastal cities and towns, including Beirut, the capital, visible on a clear day. These are the temptations to which you can turn when you’ve had your fill of skiing, the closest being the stunning wind- and water-eroded, 30-metre natural rock bridge of Kfardebian, as well as ruins of a Phoenician temple and a Roman tower.
How to Reach Mzaar
Mzaar is right in the middle of Mount Lebanon, about 75 minutes by car from downtown Beirut. If you’re counting kilometres, Faraya is 40 kilometres away and Ouyoune El-Simane 46 kilometres. The most direct driving route is as follows: head north on the coastal highway to Dog River; after the tunnel, turn right, following signs for Zouk Mosbeh; stay on the main road uphill through villages like Ajaltoun, Feytroun, Faraya and finally Ouyoune El-Simane where the Mzaar resort is located.
There are plenty of places at which to purchase or rent ski and snowboard equipment. Most of them are visible right on the main road leading up to the resort, although several are right in the resort itself, within walking distance of the slopes and most hotels. You can count on the quality of those listed below. Expect to pay between $8 and $12 per day for a complete downhill ski or snowboard kit.
Dining in Mzaar
The fun doesn’t stop once you’ve doffed your skis. Mzaar is famous for its après-ski entertainment and nightlife. In fact, many Lebanese come here exclusively for the dinner and party scene! Hotels, restaurants and clubs serve diversity of cuisines, including Lebanese, French, Italian, Japanese and Alpine specialties.
The Surrounding Area
The village of Kfardebian which embodies the ski slopes is spread across 40 square kilometres between 600 and 2800 metres of elevation. As such, it is one of the largest and highest villages in Lebanon. Its more than 12,000 inhabitants benefit from the proximity of both Beirut (44 kilometres southwest) and the coastal city of Jounieh (27 kilometres west).
Lebanese from across the country, especially the coast, come to Kfardebian to take advantage of its moderate climate in summer and ski resorts (Faqra and Mzaar) in winter. Its agricultural products, honey and natural water sources (Nebaa el-Laban and Nebaa el-Assal) are also much sought after. Kfardebian is basically full of activity throughout the year!
From Mzaar resort, there are at least three sites that we highly encourage you visit: Byblos, the oldest city in the world, the stunning Grotto of Jeita and the Lady of Lebanon, Harissa, overlooking the Jounieh bay.