Mount Hermon ski resort

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Coordinates: 33°18′29″N 35°46′21″E / 33.30806°N 35.77250°E / 33.30806; 35.77250

Entrance to the lower ski lift.

The Mount Hermon ski resort is situated on the south-eastern slopes of Mount Hermon, a few kilometers off the Israeli-Syrian ceasefire line, in the Israeli-annexed portion of the Golan Heights. The site is surrounded by the Hermon nature reserve. While the nature reserve is open year-round, the ski resort is open only at the peak of winter (usually January–March), when enough snow is accumulated on its ground.[1]

Overview[edit]

The ski lift.
Palestinian children diagnosed with cancer, and their families, are taken on a visit to Israel's only ski resort by the IDF Alpinist Unit.

Since 1981, the Golan Heights have been governed under Golan Heights Law, and during this period the resort has expanded considerably. The resort includes a wide range of ski trails for novice, intermediate, and expert levels. It also offers additional winter family activities such as sledding and Nordic skiing. The resort is unusual in not having been built by a town, and there is still no town at the resort, so those who operate the Hermon Ski area live in the nearby Israeli settlement and Moshav of Neve Ativ and the town of Majdal Shams. The ski resort has a ski school, ski patrol, and several restaurants located at either the bottom or peak of the area. The base of the resort is at 1640 meters, and it peaks at 2073 meters.[2] The resort has 7 red pistes, 3 blue pistes, 2 black pistes and one green piste. The resort also has several facilities for summer visitors. As the highest point in Israeli controlled areas overlooking Syria and Lebanon it is also in a very strategically important position for the IDF. In peak season more than 12000 people can be on the mountain each day. The resort also recently added a Snowpark.

The resort provides an important source of income to residents of both Neve Ativ and Majdal Shams.

History[edit]

The first lift was installed in 1971, largely with assistance from the Jewish Agency for Israel, and the resort first opened to skiers in December 1971. The next considerable expansion came in 1981 when the region fell under Golan Heights law, which allowed for easier expansion. Additional lifts were added gradually during the next 20 years.[3]

In the 2000s the resort started suffering from the effects of global warming, having had previously two to three months of good snow every winter going down to only two to four weeks (In 1999, for the first time in its history, the resort had no sufficient snow at all for skiing).[3]

Resort ownership[edit]

Ownership of the resort is controversial. The resort is operated and held by 32 families of Neve Ativ. The families have no propriety rights in the land and they have not paid the Israel Land Administration for its use in over a decade.[4] SPNI accused resort operators for charging illegal fees.[5] In 2010 the Movement for Quality Government in Israel appealed to the Supreme Court of Israel against the Israel Land Administration. In the appeal Neve Ativ was accused of holding the area of the resort without any valid contract, violating the public's interest and the Israel Land Administration law.[6]

Legal issues[edit]

Snow cat accident[edit]

In February 2004 a 24 year old woman was killed and four others were injured in a snowcat accident.[7] The vehicle was not intended for carrying passengers. The driver was arrested and his lawyer claimed that he was only following the orders of his superiors.[8] In 2008 the Nazareth court sentenced the resort manager, Menahem Baruch, along with three other resort workers, to a suspended six-month jail sentence and a 5000 Israeli new shekel penalty payment.[9] The family of the deceased woman complained that the sentence was not severe enough.[10]

Arson of rival business[edit]

In 2004 police arrested four senior workers at the resort for allegedly ordering the arson of a competing snow equipment rental business in Majdal Shams.[11] According to allegations the four offered two fellow resort workers a sum of 40 thousand Israeli new shekels each for setting fire to the competing business. Additionally resort workers allegedly harassed visitors who hired equipment in the rival shop.[12]

Specifics[edit]

  • Top peak: 2,073 metres (6,801 ft)
  • Number of pistes: 14
  • Length of pistes: 45 km
  • Number of lifts: 5

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mount Hermon Ski Resort opens a month earlier than usual after this week's heavy snow", Omer Rabin's reports on "Globes", 15 December 2010
  2. ^ Snow Forecast: Mount Hermon
  3. ^ a b Ben-Tal, Daniel (January 2, 2012). "Israel's winter wonderland". Israel21c. 
  4. ^ Rot, Nurit (February 27, 2008). "Who owns the Hermon resort?". TheMarker. 
  5. ^ Rinat, Zafrir (November 28, 2006). "Group accuses Mt. Hermon ski-area owner of charging illegal fees". Haaretz. 
  6. ^ Aviad, Glickman (July 20, 2010). "Appeal against Neve Ativ regarding Hermon resort". Ynet. 
  7. ^ Ash, Uri (February 11, 2004). "Deadly accident". Haaretz. 
  8. ^ Rabed, Ahia (February 11, 2004). "Snowcat driver suspected of causing death by negligence". Ynet. 
  9. ^ "Suspended jail sentence for Hermon resort manager in 2004 snowcat accident". Globes. December 18, 2008. 
  10. ^ Mizrahi, Yossi (December 21, 2008). "Snowcat accident - minimal punishment for those responsible". Channel2News. 
  11. ^ Rabed, Ahia (February 18, 2004). "Seniors workers in Hermon resort suspect of ordering arson of competing business". Ynet. 
  12. ^ Rabed, Ahia (March 21, 2004). "Police say there are evidence against senior Hermon resort workers". Ynet.