Thursday, February 26, 2009

Joooos on Skiiiiis

Y'know, Jews aren't famous for their sports abilities. Sure, there have been some famous sporty Jews - Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax, Daniel somebody-the-boxer? weightlifter?, and I'm sure a few football players out there - but our talents out on the field are not things we are known for.

That was very evident yesterday when we were at Har Hermon, Israel's ski resort.

Yes, Israel has a ski resort. A very nice one, in fact. The *resort* itself isn't much to look at, but the slopes look nice. The "bunny hill" was packed with people. Mostly falling down and trying to get back up. The area where you put on your rented skis and head out to the slopes was a writhing mass of bodies tripping over each other, sliding into each other and pretty much falling down or struggling very hard to stay upright. There was also a noticable lack of ski etiquette.

Eh, I'm being unfair in giving the impression that Jews can't ski. There were plenty of Arabs there (judging by the massive number of kaffiyehs), and they sucked just as bad. Although, come to think of it, I didn't see too many of them actually on skis...

At one point, I look up the hill at one of the "expert" slopes, and saw about 5 or 6 people swoop beautifully around from behind a hill. For a brief moment I thought, "now that's skiing beauty." Then they all wiped out. Every one of them.

But the important thing was every one (nearly every one, there were a few cranky kids here and there) was having fun. Whether on skis or snowboards or sleds or nothing at all, everyone was smiling and laughing and having fun in the snow. And there was LOTS of snow!

We only had a few hours, and Morey doesn't ski ever since that tree jumped out of the woods and cruelly accosted him without any provocation whatsoever, so we had lunch by the toboggan ride (which we would have gone on, except the car wasn't big enough for two adults and we weren't enthusiastic enough to stand on a long line when we couldn't ride together), tried to remember how to climb a hill in the snow, stood in a really long line for the chair lift (here it's called a cable car) to take us to the top, had rum coffee while taking in the spectacular view, watched some charedi men sledding with their kids (I think the kids were just an excuse!), then laughed through the bitterly cold ride down while oohing and aahing over the amazing scenery.

Har Hermon is right at the border with Lebanon and Syria, and because of its height is obviously a very strategic location. It is surrounded by military bases, and we actually passed a unit that must have been doing some training. They were climbing along the side of the mountain in winter camouflage. The road to the ski resort continues past the resort, but it is closed to civilians. There are soldiers all over the place, and in fact, when we were at the top, I looked off in the distance, which looked like it was just a barren swath of land, and saw two soldiers coming out of the mist. It was like a scene from a movie.

We also had to go through a security checkpoint to get up the hill to the ski resort, and then had to go through security/metal detectors to get into the site. Israel is a very different place.

It was a long trip; 4 hours up and 4 hours back. But When you live in a desert, every appreciates the novelty of snow, and travelling 8 hours to spend 3 1/2 playing in the snow doesn't seem like such a strange thing to do!

More pictures here at Facebook.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I love the pictures. I forget that there is snow, all you ever see is the desert.