12 July 2006

Skiing in the Lebanon

Had fun yesterday at Crystal Ski's annual press review of the ski market, where they look at what happened last season, and talk about the season ahead. Crystal are the largest UK ski operator and they put on quite a professional show. This year it was held at the Absolut Ice bar in Heddon St where on arrival we were fitted with peculiar arctic ponchos with hoods and mittens before being led into the bar where all the fittings, furniture and glasses are ice, kept at -6c. Perfect on a hot day!

The presentation was in another room at normal temperature, but during this cool pre-presentation gathering I was chatting with a colleague who asked where I fancied going skiing. I said it would be fun to go off-the-beaten-track and try the Andes, or Japan or the Lebanon.

At that, she looked slightly taken aback and I started explaining that people have been skiing in the mountains behind Beirut for years. The trendy thing to do is ski in the morning and water-ski on the Med in the afternoon. Furthermore there is a ski resort up there which has recently had a makeover and so there's been a resurgence of interest. (I remember writing about Intercontinental taking over the chalet style hotel there, but I can't find it in the archives.)

Needless to say, she looked deeply sceptical.

A few minutes later we were sitting down listening to Crystal Sales & Marketing Director when he suddenly announced that next season (06/07), Crystal Ski are adding two new and unusual destinations to their programme - Japan and the Lebanon.

My friend practically fell off her seat.

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