Final day on the slopes and it was actually Annalisa’s birthday today. As a present Matt W made her wear a special hat for the whole day.
The hat was actually very warm and she got a lot of attention, some unwanted, all day by wearing it! We started today being brave and jumped straight on the lift up to the top where we hadn’t been able to see a thing yesterday. It was still a bit foggy but nothing like the day before and it’s amazing when you can actually see, how different the runs are! More importantly the slopes all had fresh snow on them and the machines had been out ‘pisteing’ (not sure if that is a word) during the night.
We were up and down the mountain again in the morning trying to beat the fog up to the runs that we knew now! At one point, we had just negotiated one of the blue runs with a long traverse in the fog and made it back down to the cafe. Whilst sipping our hot chocolate, the sun broke through and burnt off a lot of the fog. So much so that the lift up to the top of Mzaar which had been closed, opened whilst we drank hot chocolate.
Matt W had told me about the Mzaar slope and that there was a church right at the top. At the beginning of the weekend I had said to myself that the weekend would be complete if I managed to get up there, see the Church and snow board down the red runs. I wasn’t confident of that happening after the clouds had come in, but obviously I was meant to get up there 🙂 As the clouds lifted and the sun shone through, Matt W, Kim and myself decided that we would get up there and do it! So off we went – jumped on the ski lift and headed on up. The ski lift journey seemed to go on for a long long time and we passed what looked like some extremely steep slopes! Again, exciting but worrying at the same time. We seemed to be on the lift for a long time, as the other three will attest as they were starting to get very cold down at the cafe. As we slowly ascended the mountain, the clouds decided to close in again at the top, so by the time we got off, we couldn’t see much again! This didn’t bode well for the trip down the steep slopes I had seen on the way up!
At the top is a little church and we had a little look inside before making our descent. Having lived in Dubai for so long, it struck me as strange for it to be a ‘church’ I was quite naive to the fact that the population of Lebanon is split between Christian and Muslims! It was a lovely small church with fur on the stone seats. I was very glad to have seen it and perhaps even said a silent prayer to get me down the slope safely!
After our brief stop at the top, we strapped on our boards and once again plunged into the fog, the run was actually a really good one. Just one point where I had to just go down on a heel edge as it got just that little bit too steep for me to feel comfortable, but it was literally about 10m and then I was back to proper turns and flying down the slopes. It was great to get down out of the fog and actually enjoy the snowboarding down the mountain. As always, after a long lift trip up, it was a matter of minutes before we were back at the cafe again. We met up with the others and Matt N had decided that he was going to try the red run just next to ours. Fair play to him for getting up there and doing it. Although by all accounts he had a bit of a job to get to the top, having fallen off the button lift not once but twice!! much to the annoyance of the lift operator who apparently, rather than help him after the second fall. Threw his skis out of the way! Friendly bunch in Lebanon.
So we all trooped down the mountain and decided that it was actually time for some lunch, as we needed to finish off the food that was left in the apartment before heading off. Morwenna and Lenny had gone in first and cooked a lovely pasta dish. They had had enough for the day by then but the rest of us decided we would make the most of the last few hours. However, after one run down the Blue and through the fog, my legs told me that I had had enough!! Aching leg muscles and slightly sore from wearing boots half a size too small for me ( I would have changed them, but these were the biggest they had that you could actually do up) I decided that my one run after lunch was enough for me. Annalisa and Matt N were in agreement, so we made our way back to the apartment to shower, warm up and start packing. Matt W and Kim went off for a few more runs off piste!
And so the weekend came to an end, all kit was returned, our bags were packed and our minibus turned up right on time. There was very little traffic trying to get off the mountain unlike the other day, so we made very good time, were able to drop Kim off at home in Beirut and then head to the airport.
Lenny was feeling the strain a bit as we knew we wouldn’t be getting home till about 3.30am Dubai time and he had to be up again at 6am to drive to Abu Dhabi. After the weekend exertions, most had a snooze on the plane back. Matt N was out from take off to landing, as were Lenny and Morwenna. Matt W had a bit of a snooze as we both moved to the row in front of our actual seats so had 3 seats each, even then at 6ft 4 and 6ft 2, there still isn’t enough space to lie down and sleep properly. I think in the end I managed 1o minutes. Annalisa on the other hand, fed her new addiction for the entire flight. Angry Birds!! Happy Birthday Annalisa.
We landed and were through no problems, into 3 cabs and the trip was over. Great memories, great food, great company, great times!