Skiing began in Lebanon in 1913, when Ramez Ghazzaoui returned from Switzerland and made the Lebanese discover the joys of skiing on the hills close to Aley.
Later, it was the Baidar mountain pass and Mount Sannine and Kneisseh which saw an influx of French officers coming to ski during the mandate in 1923.
In 1934, the first ski club "The Lebanese Club" was created and founded by Andrée Khasho, Aimée Kettane, Maurice Tabet and Mounir Itani. In 1935, the first ski school was founded in the Cedars by the French and was located at the hotel "Le Grand Cèdre". The school then moved to settle permanently in the military barracks located in the mountains.
The first ski competitions then began in Dahr El-Baidar, Laqlouq, Kneisseh, Mount Sannine and the Cedars. Recognized clubs during that period included: E.N.B., Alpes Françaises, Danafill Libanais de Ski, and the Bcharré team led by Hussein Bey Sujaan.
In 1947, Lebanon participated for the first time in the international championships in Chamonix. Michel Samen was the first competitor to carry the Lebanese flag in the event.
1948 marked the first Lebanese participation in the Olympic Games which took place in Saint Moritz. The team included Mounir Itani, Jean Samen and Ibrahim Geagea and was led by Abdelwahab Al-Rifaii.
In 1951, the Skiing and Swimming Federation was created under the co-chairmanship of Louis Baz and Michel Nader. These two federations then split in 1958 with Louis Baz chairing the Skiing Federation and Michel Nader chairing the Swimming Federation. Meanwhile, Lebanon continued participating in several Olympics: Oslo in 1952, Cortina d'Ampezzo in 1956, Squaw Valley in 1960. It is then that Michel Samen joined the International Ski Federation (FIS), where he was elected member of the Olympic Racing Committee.
In 1961, the Lebanese Ski Federation obtained official status under the chairmanship of Dr. Emile Riachy. This was followed by several international participations: Insbruck in 1964, Greece in 1967, Sapporo Olympics in 1972, Insbruck Olympics in 1976, Lake Placid Olympics in 1980, Schladming Olympics in 1984, Calgary Olympics in 1988, Albertville Olympics in 1992.
It was in 1963 that the first International Ski week took place in Lebanon, when the elite of international skiing gathered on the Cedars slopes including: Bernard Russi, Patrick Russel, Jean-Augert Christmas among many others. 13 International Ski weeks succeeded successfully every year until 1975, when the tragedy of the war put an end to this incredible epic.
In 1967 and 1972, the Federation cooperated with the Lebanese army and succeeded in organizing the World Military Skiing Championship (C.I.S.M). This success was due to the planning and efforts of the Federation led by Dr. Emile Riachy as well as Lieutenant Colonel Abu Dargham who was head of the Lebanese delegation in the CISM.
In 1967 and for the first time, the 26th International Congress of the FIS was held in Beirut. The Ski World Cup was announced as an official FIS event which would bring together the world's best skiers.
Even during the conflicts in Lebanon, the Lebanese Ski Federation continued to organize competitions and have local competitors participate in events abroad (Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Canada, USA, Turkey, Korea, China, Cyprus, Bulgaria...). It was only after 1991 and when all the borders were reopened that the Lebanese Championship emerged again after 16 years of interruption.
After the termination of the war in 1990, the Lebanese Ski Federation reignited the International Week competition. 2015 marked the 24th international week which was held at the Cedars.
Lebanon's championships continued, and for the first time, under the tutelage of the Minister of Tourism, the Golden Six race, which consists of events in the 6 ski resorts in Lebanon, took place.
In 2002, Camille Rizk was elected as chairman of the Lebanese Ski Federation. At this time, the Federation made a big step in the growth of skiing in Lebanon by organizing many international weeks, Asian Championships as well as international races for snowboard and cross-country.
Lebanese Ski Federation
Jounieh, La Cité Road
Bldg Joseph Fayad
Tel/Fax: 00961 9 914 550