Skiing season will start soon in Israel.
But if the past is any indication, it won’t last long; as short as two days in 2010; in 1999, no days at all.
And it will be limited in space as well as time — Mount Hermon, in the Golan Heights, is Israel’s sole venue for skiing, the highest point in the country.
The area’s ski resort, on the mountain’s southeastern slopes, is a few kilometers from the Israeli-Syrian cease-fire line, surrounded by a nature reserve.
With a Mediterranean climate, Israel is not well suited for winter sports (the country’s Olympic skiers practice abroad). But the nearly 7,000-foot-high Mount Hermon, above, where Israeli soldiers do their cold-weather training, offers nearly 28 miles of ski runs, for beginners to advanced, including two declared up to Olympic standards by the International Ski Federation. There are four chairlifts there, five T-bars, a ski school, as well as snowboarding, tubing, toboggan riding for kids and a track-sled down a 950-yard course.
For the observers, there’s a glass-enclosed restaurant.
More than 12,000 people take ski down Mount Hermon each year during the abbreviated ski season. Some people come just for the view. Skiers there know to beware — Sabras on the slopes are reputed to be aggressive as on the roads, which are the site of frequent accidents.
And Israelis know to check the weather report before they head north with their skis. This weekend’s forecast for Mount Hermon: Temperatures will be in the mid-40s, with, alas, no precipitation.