Patrouille des Cèdres

PDC on Youtube

Patrouille Des Cèdres — 

Patrouille Des Cèdres — 

Patrouille Des Cèdres — 

Why Lebanon ?

Lebanon is a formidable ‘little’ country smack in the middle of the World map.

Enjoying a rich geography and a unique climate boasting four distinctly separate seasons of equal proportions. Lebanon is also a country where 3000-meter peaks are in proximity with the shores of the Mediterranean, and where the mountains are covered with a rich vegetation and centenary trees, indeed millenary ones, especially the few remaining emblematic Cedrus Libani. During the winter months, everything above 1500 m gets covered with snow, providing not only much needed water in an otherwise dry part of the world, but also ski lovers and other winter sports enthusiasts with formidable terrain to practice their preferred activity. It is not uncommon for such winter sports to extend the season until late April.

Lebanon is one of the few places on Earth where are you can snow-ski in the morning and sea-ski in the afternoon, without a wetsuit. Naturally, between the mountains and the sea, you are welcome to take a break and sightsee or indulge in fine Lebanese cuisine and exquisite sweets and fruit.

Why Lebanon ?

Lebanon is also a country with a rich past and important archeological sites

It reveals thousands of years of history ranging, among others, from Phoenician, Roman and Ottoman times. Be it the Temple of Bacchus in Baalbek, the grandest and best preserved Roman temple ruins in the world, now inscribed as an UNESCO World Heritage or the ancient port city of Byblos , one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world there are outstanding archaeological and artistic sites to discover.

And for those who come alive yet again after dark… Beirut is considered as the focal point of the region’s cultural life, and is renowned for its press, theatres, cultural activities and nightlife too! As a prominent Lebanese once said: “When we party, we party hard”, and we’d love YOU to party with us!

Why PdC ?

Lebanon is often referred to as ‘the Switzerland of the Middle East’.

This is due to its relatively small size, its abundant mountains, all covered with trees and greenery, its banking system, French being the second language, its pluralistic societies and of course… snow in the winter !

As kids, the Lebanese grew up in relatively hot summers, yet many were fortunate enough to learn and enjoy skiing the good part of four months every winter. This was mostly downhill skiing, though. Later, many were to discover the amazing sport of Backcountry Skiing (or Ski Mountaineering) and as the saying goes “Once you try backcountry, you never go back!”

So much that at the turn of the century, myself and a couple of friends introduced backcountry skiing to Lebanon. Shortly after, about a decade ago, I was invited to ski the ‘Haute Route’ in Europe. We set off in Chamonix skinning up and skiing down the Alps, crashing in cozy refuges along the way. We reached Zermatt a day earlier than planned, so the next day we decided to ski the Breithorn, a neighbouring 4000m peak.

Why PdC ?

It was a glorious day with abundant sunshine and perfect snow conditions.

When we got to the top of the 4,164 m summit of the beautiful Breithorn, we took a moment to enjoy the view on the adjacent Matterhorn and catch our breaths before the descent, I couldn’t help but notice two middle-aged men, with tight lycra suits racing up towards us, roped. Their equipment was as light as it gets with minimal backpacks to which they had strapped their ultra-light crampons. What’s more, the foam tubes duct-taped to their poles intrigued me… As soon as they reached the top, and without removing their skis, they stripped off their sealskins in a swift single move and tucked them inside their chest pockets before locking-in their heels and skiing back down mad-fast.

“What are these guys doing? Who are they racing against!?“ I asked mountain guide Yves standing next to me. “Oh, they’re training for the Patrouille” he replied, as if it was an obvious thing… “Patrouille!? What’s that?” I asked. He went on to explain to me what the legendary Patrouille des Glaciers is (, and what it means to backcountry ski enthusiasts the world over. It all sounded grand and struck a chord with me. Shortly after, while skiing back through the valley to the village of Zermatt, I had a moment to myself and I thought: “Max! Why not organise a ‘Patrouille’ in Lebanon?”, often referred to as ‘the Switzerland of the Middle East’. The rest is history…

A couple of years back, I was skiing with a newly appointed ambassador and he would not believe me that the blue background we see from the snowy slopes of Mount Lebanon is in fact the Mediterranean Sea... It was only later in the day when a different lighting allowed us to distinguish boats moored outside the Port of Beirut that he finally believed it.
A few runs later, he stopped and said to me: “Max, you don’t know how blessed you are to be able to ski with such proximity to the capital Beirut and the Mediterranean”...


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