Spice Up Winter in Lebanon with Snowshoeing

Just picture yourself walking on a blanket of freshly fallen snow and the air feels so fresh you want to inhale for as long as possible. The only sound, other than the gentle crunching of snow made by your feet, is the chirping of birds above.

Enjoying a spectacular snow-covered terrain while getting a superb workout is what attracts many people to take up snowshoeing. What actually started thousands of years ago as a mode of transportation has evolved into a popular winter activity and is now gaining momentum at plenty of ski spots throughout Lebanon. Snowshoeing is a fantastic alpine activity, which is relatively inexpensive. You only need snowshoes, appropriate footwear and clothing and a pair of poles (optional) to give you better balance. It’s a brilliant workout that lets you burn more calories than walking or running at the same speed (you can burn up to 1000 calories per hour). As with many sports you can go easy or hard and it allows you to explore many trails that you may not ski in due to trees or low-snow conditions.

As the saying goes, "If you can walk, you can snowshoe". Snowshoeing is far less technical than skiing and most people can master it in minutes. Lebanese ski instructor and snowshoeing guide Charles Richa has been organizing walks for several years now. He regularly takes groups of 25 for walks in Zaarour, Faraya and The Cedars. His tours last around two hours, with a combination of uphill, leveled and downhill trekking. "I always have two instructors for my guided walks," explains Richa. "One of us is at the front and the other at the back so we can keep track of everyone." Richa charges $3 a person (excluding the snowshoe rental which can range from $7 to $20 depending on the condition – whether old or new). Richa makes sure walkers pack light. “I tell people to carry some water and a light snack and leave everything else in the bus.”

"If you can walk, you can snowshoe."

Fady Salameh, owner of Fadi Sport stores also organizes snowshoeing tours. He claims that in Lebanon walking in snowshoes is not new, it goes back hundreds of years but as a recreation it really took off five years ago. Today there is a huge demand he says. "There’s a real boom now, I get groups ranging from the scouts, corporations, and families booking tours with me all winter." Salameh usually takes his groups to snowy hideaways far away from popular ski spots, where walkers can enjoy panoramic views and peaceful settings. "I take my walkers to Sannine, the Faraya Cross or Sad Chabrouh," he says.

Fady Salameh, owner of Fadi Sport stores also organizes snowshoeing tours. He claims that in Lebanon walking in snowshoes is not new, it goes back hundreds of years but as a recreation it really took off five years ago. Today there is a huge demand he says. "There’s a real boom now, I get groups ranging from the scouts, corporations, and families booking tours with me all winter." Salameh usually takes his groups to snowy hideaways far away from popular ski spots, where walkers can enjoy panoramic views and peaceful settings. "I take my walkers to Sannine, the Faraya Cross or Sad Chabrouh," he says.

Most sporting goods stores in Lebanon sell the snowshoes which retail anywhere from $150 up to $500. The stores are also happy to rent them for a day at a fee of $10.

The beauty of snowshoeing is that it can basically be done anywhere where thick snow is present and no marked trails are needed. It’s recommended not to go alone to ensure safety. Try to go in pairs or get a local guide to show you the best trails. There are also plenty of established hiking groups in Lebanon that organize showshoeing trips most weekends during the snow season.

 

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