Winter has almost passed, which means the remaining weeks of snow are numbered. Make the best out of what’s left of the season with these sports, courtesy of triathlon champion Milo Daou.
SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING
This one’s a given. With incredible mountain chains that run down the spine of the country, it’s no secret that Lebanon is a sought-after ski destination with countless resorts up and down the country. “Considering we are in the Middle East, we are lucky to be able to ski and snowboard,” Daou muses. “That alone makes this sport special in Lebanon.”
You don’t need to buy gear unless you plan on taking up skiing and/or snowboarding seriously. Rent your equipment from the resorts and learn the basics with a professional instructor. Contact Republic of Snowboarding (81 292634) or Ski Leb (70 103222) for help renting equipment or for coaching.
Take your hiking up a notch by going snowshoeing. This physically demanding sport is a great way to experience the beauty and calm of Lebanon’s snow-capped mountains. Daou states: “Extreme cold weather – along with the breathtaking views of the mountains all covered in snow – make snowshoeing an exceptional activity to add to your winter bucket list.”
The higher you go the more virgin the snow, but start with well-known places before you get adventurous. Buy waterproof, professional gear and keep your GPS on hand. Join a snowshoeing event organized by Vamos Todos (03 917190), Dale Corazon (70 986118) or Footprints Nature Club (03 876112).
Hiking is an activity for all seasons; there’s no denying it. That being said, some parts of the country come to life during winter such as the Balou Balaa sinkhole in Tannourine and the Jezzine Waterfall. Daou says: “I prefer hiking at high altitudes in places like Cedars and Tannourine.”
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The best way to get started is by joining organized trips with hiking experts. Once you feel more confident, you can push yourself with more advanced hikes. Buy good gear (insulated clothing is crucial for the cold weather) and start by exploring the beautiful Lebanese Mountain Trail (lebanontrail.org).
Although cycling is more commonly thought of as a summer sport, it can be enjoyed during the winter, provided you take the right precautions. “Riding a bike is a stress reliever and a great way to discover new places,” says Daou. “Don’t be afraid to be adventurous. Everyone can ride a bike, so it’s easy to start. After that, the more you train, the further you can go.”
The most trivial adjustment would be to wear insulated clothing to keep warm. Fully inflating your tires can also be counterintuitive; so make sure you take into account all factors and adjust your tire pressure accordingly. Cycle along the Batroun Coastal Road with Routes (76 338762). Rent your equipment from Colonel Beer Brewery (03 743543).
If you think about it, paragliding in winter is much more enjoyable thanks to the lower temperature, gentle breezes, and fresher weather. This winter, take the leap and try this adrenaline-pumping sport. “There’s no greater sensation than the magical feeling of flying free like a bird,” Milo says. “It’s an amazing experience, which you can try in several locations: Cedars, Jounieh and Miziara for example.”
Book a tandem flight with an expert and just go for it! Take a trip with Daou’s paragliding club, LiveLoveParagliding (71 326039). Alternatively, you can go paragliding with Club Thermique (03 435524) or Exit to Nature (03 559992).