Year two was a massive success for the Lebanese Freeride Association as they hosted a Freeride Qualifier event this past February. During the Lebanese Freeride Week at Mzaar Ski Resort (Kfardebian), the newly constructed Lebanonese Freeride Association team coordinated both a two and three-star event. Across the two internally graded competitions 130 athletes registered with over 80 of them from Lebanon, marking a great turn out for their second ever FWQ competition. All athletes were competing with eyes set on joining the Freeride World Tour.

Sounds a little bit like a normal FWQ right? But remember we are in Lebanon here! Despite being home to six established ski resorts, this place is seemingly filled with untapped ski potential. How come it’s not on our radar in North America? Most likely because the community side of skiing is very much developing here, but that is changing rapidly with the development of the Lebanese Freeride Association. They’re doing an incredible job of showing off the unique ski opportunities available in their beautifully vast country while knocking another FWQ event out of the park.

Georges Achi earning his air miles. Yves Lahoud Photography.

A passion infused answer followed after being asked: “Why create the Lebanese Freeride Association?”

“Because it didn’t exist! It’s quite that simple. Freeriding is a discipline that
is trending high all over the world including Lebanon. Giving it access to
the Freeride World Qualifier and building a platform for everyone to
share their work was the natural next step.”

“The association was founded by Nour Saliba, Samer Jureidini and Thomas
Kray from Board Inc., a shop located in Feitroun. It all started during a
December 2017 Skype call. The hype got real very fast and we organized the first edition of the #Ride4Peace Freeride Week in less than a month.”

“People in Lebanon are living their passion to the fullest. Whatever this passion may be, they live, love and share openly. This character trait made a very big difference in the coming out of the freeride week, as it became a united, compact and solid moment from day one.”

Paul de Pourtales leaving his mark in the fresh Lebanese snow.

Tell us about the Lebanon Freeride skiing potential pretty please?

“Lebanon and its mountains are the perfect scenery to run such events. The sea opens faces of its ranges giving chills to whomever gets a chance to ride them, no matter how many times they have done it before. This proximity to the beach gives riders the opportunity to ski in the morning and surf in the afternoon while still having time to dress up for a cool party in Beirut.”

“The country is both compact and infinite, like the people living within its boundaries. Their love is dense and infinite, their passion could be seen and felt throughout the organisation phase and their help was unconditional as if they were ready to die now just to have lived and followed their passion to the fullest.”

“The Freeride discipline was always in Lebanese people’s hearts, and we are happy that these kinds of events allow them to do more with their discipline. It was not that often that you could see videos of freeriding in Lebanon before everyone was able to get together and share their passion at this event. We are glad to say that our event helped them do so and we will keep on feeding this positive vibe.”

It takes a community with a lot of heart to make a vision like this come to life.

What’s next for the Lebanese Freeride Association?

“We are raising money to support our best riders to compete in more than the qualifying events held in Lebanon. We secretly pursue a dream to see one (or more) Lebanese athletes on the Freeride World Tour and would not like money to be an obstacle.”

“We will keep sending a message of care and safety to all the members of our community and push them to experience the mountains with all the necessary knowledge and equipment prior to doing so.”

“We plan on building ski and snowboarding trips for foreigners willing to discover one of Lebanon’s treasures and get a taste of its ability to blow people’s minds. These trips will not necessarily have to be related to a competition as we are keen to offer an alternative for the curious among us.”

We’ll no doubt here, our curiosity is spiked – it will be a stop we don’t miss next season that’s for sure! Stay up to date on the Lebanese Freeride Association on Facebook or Instagram.

Previous articleSCOUTED: Jeff Ashton