| 30 May 2024, Thursday |

Skiing in Lebanon too steep for most with currency in freefall

Skiing in Lebanon has always been a privilege reserved for the wealthy, but the country’s financial crisis has plunged the majority of its citizens into poverty, making the sport even more restricted.

Since 2019, the Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value.

On a recent trip to the Alps, Mohammad Atwi observed, “Skiing is a hobby for the wealthy class, not for us.” “We came here to have shisha and sit.” The most we’ve ever spent is £200,000 ($10).”

In a country where the vast majority earn in pounds, prices for ski passes at the Mzaar ski resort, which boasts breathtaking views of the Mediterranean, are listed in dollars.

According to a website listing rates, an all-day pass costs $35 on weekdays and $50 on weekends. That’s between 700,000 and a million pounds, which is significantly more than the present monthly minimum wage and a significant portion of an average paycheck.

Lebanon is in the midst of its greatest crisis since the civil war of 1975-1990, with banks setting strict limits on how much cash savers can withdraw, forcing even those with money to think twice before spending.

Even still, those who can afford it swarm the slopes on weekends.

“Skiing has gotten pricey, especially if you have a lot of kids,” Delphine Markarian said as she went across the snow with her skis strapped to her back.

“When the weather is great like this, you go skiing with your kids, and they love it, and that’s exactly what we want — an experience to share with our kids.” That is the most crucial factor.”

  • Reuters