Do you love cool air and skiing ? chill out in the snow and mountains. Of Course there is a less oppertunity to experience such an exciting adventure in the Middle East . But here is a good news, you may once visit Mount Hermon of Israel.You might not associate the colder aspects of a North American or North European winter with the Middle East, but during the winter months in Israel you can usually feel the same here in Mount Hermon.
Mount hermon is the highest point in Israel is an inviting place to hike all year round. Skiers, of course, will head straight for Mount Hermon in winter, but those who prefer to walk can also have a ball there. When summer has already set in over the rest of the country, Mount Hermon is still bursting with the vitality of an extended springtime.
In the dog days of July and August, take a break from the beach and the steaming city and cool off on the Golan. Don’t forget to bring warm clothing with you – the nights are nippy. On a clear day, which is the norm in summer, you’ll have a superb view of the mountains of: Galilee, the Golan, and southern Lebanon. And even in the middle of summer, there are still snowy areas in the upper part of Mount Hermon (the chair lift operates all year round).
Summer visitors can enter the site free of charge and take part in free tours led by guides from the Nature Reserves Authority. You can also take a jeep tour, with the expert assistance of Safari Hahermon.
The slopes of Mount Hermon offer other attractions as well. Part of the area is classified as a military zone, which means you’ll have to make advance arrangements if you want to visit there. The hosts at your lodgings can tell you how.
A particularly noteworthy Hermon site is Har Habtarim, 1,296 meters above sea level on the slopes of Katef Sion. According to tradition, this is where God promised Abraham that He would give the land to his descendants. An ancient tomb marks the spot, and huge oaks grow next to it.
Next to the summit of Har Kahal (1411 meters above sea level), lead quarries have been discovered; the source of raw materials for the kohl used in ancient eye makeup. Further down is the proud Ka’alat Namrud, one of the best preserved maseluke fortresses from the Crusader period in Israel. The citadel overlooks the Banias Spring, where you can have a refreshing hike even on the hottest summer days.
At the Druse hospitality center in the village of Ein Kinya, you can learn about Druse life on the Golan and get a taste of it as well, with Druse pita, labaneh, and coffee.
Next to the tomb of Nebi Hazuri, the Jewish National Fund developed a lovely wayside picnic spot. In Neve Ativ, art lovers will enjoy visiting the gallery and workshop of a local artist who works in glass. Hungry? Habokrim Restaurant (Merom Golan) and the Druse eateries will satisfy any appetite. In summer, don’t miss the berry picking at Moshav Sha’al.
And if you make it up to the northern tip of Israel, to Mount Hermon, you can even brush up on your skiing and snowboarding skills, or, like the many thousands of Israelis who converge on the Hermon, just throw a snowball or two and take a few pictures.
Mount Hermon is definitely your destination if you’re after some of the white stuff (though it has also been known to snow in Jerusalem fairly often). Mount Hermon is actually an attraction all year round, snow or no snow, but with its 28 miles of ski runs, including two runs that have officially been declared as Olympic-standard, January and February are usually the months in which to get your winter fix.
The facilities might not compare with some of the best in Europe or North America, but there are chairlifts and T-bars to carry those interested further up the mountain, a ski school where skiers of any level can get themselves schooled in the art of avoiding broken legs, and a pretty well-equipped ski accessory shop. Skiing in Israel might leave you disappointed if you’re looking for apres-ski action, though I guess that would depend on the company you keep…just don’t expect too much in the way of bars and clubs, not in this neck of the woods anyway.
The skiing in Israel scene isn’t huge but is growing, so if you’re like many of the Israelis (some 300,000 visit every winter) that end up at the Hermon and not for the skiing, how about a toboggan ride for you/the kids? Or a quick bit of snow-sledding? Or you could just play it safe and bring along your camera, preferably on a sunny day, and catch some of the amazing scenery.
If you are into skiing in Israel, you can get a ski pass for Mount Hermon, or take a package deal that includes local accommodation (in some mighty fine local guest houses). Check out the Mount Hermon official site in English for further information.
The Mount Hermon ski resort is open daily from 08:00 to 16:00, but if you’re in a car note they won’t let you in after 15:00