5 resorts you’ve never heard of
Lebanon may not be the first place you think of when planning a skiing holiday, but with summits reaching over 10,000 feet, many refer to Lebanon as the “Switzerland of the East”. Located just 1 hour from Beirut, Mzaar Kfardebian ski area is widely regarded as one of the most scenic resorts in Lebanon, as is a great option if you’d like to tack on a days skiing to a city break in the capital. After a slow start to the winter, the snow base is approaching two metres and with 80km of pistes spread out over three peaks, some great skiing has been reported in recent weeks. There are 15 hotels to choose from locally and with super friendly locals you can almost be guaranteed some lively and hospitable après-ski action.
Gudauri (Georgian: გუდაური) is a growing resort with amazing views, a festive atmosphere, and a wealth of opportunities for active outdoor holidays. Topping out at more than 3,000m, the snow is often deep and there’s plenty of fabulous lift-served off piste, as well as a terrain park and half pipe. With a current upper base depth of 330cm and a 95cm fall of snow on February 18th, the season is set to be long! Furthermore, located only two hours from Tbilisi, taking a short trip is entirely possible. For more information check out their Facebook page
Mt. Erciyes (Turkey)
Mt. Erciyes Ski Resort perches on the side of a volcano, making it an epic travel story to write home about and one of the more impressive skiing destinations to visit. Adding to this is an enviable snow record (the current upper base is 390cm) and 16 lifts (1 of which is the longest in Turkey) with an impressive selection of blue, red and black pistes. For the more intrepid skiers there’s also some incredible off-piste terrain accessible within a short hike from the top lift station. Check out their Facebook page for further info on the range of facilities they offer.
Mt Parnassos-Fterolaka (Greece)
Greece might not be your first choice ski destination, but the mountains to the north of Athens have some great snow. The biggest resort is Mt. Parnassos, a mere two hours from Athens. With cheap winter flights and the quick transfer, a city & ski break is a seriously attractive prospect. Once you’re there, 14 lifts and 620m vertical await, but be careful on the weekend as it can get busy.
Iran biggest kept secret is that the skiing is great; the best of which in a resort is probably at Dizin, three hours north of the capital Tehran. The groomed area consists mostly of gentle slopes, but there are several bowls and couloirs near the lifts for those looking for something more challenging. Lift passes are cheap and you’re guaranteed an incredible cultural experience. In the words of Comedian Dom Joly: “The snow is perfect, the views spectacular and you have to pinch yourself to remember you are in Iran. The only hint is gleams of sunlight coming off the golden roof of a Shia shrine far down in the valley. Around you everyone is in expensive ski gear, complete with designer shades. The only thing lacking is glühwein at the two mountain cafes on the piste.”
Written by Ocean Belcher – Digital Content Editor