Tremor: 4.1, Depth: 6.7 kilometres, Endroit: 2.3 kilometres de Beyrouth, Liban.
I’ve been skiing for almost a decade now, and I have to say, I love it. From the feeling of the wind whipping through your hair to the beautiful mountain views you can get only from experience, to the smell of the pine trees and the taste of that glorious mug of hot chocolate you earn after a decent nine to five on the slopes (And ski resorts have the best hot chocolate…), everything about the sport is amazing. However, due to a crippling fear of all things steep, I have yet to actually conquer anything past an easy Black Diamond. This is not due to lack of skill (I like to think…), but rather, as I said, to the steepness of the run. But what exactly separates the different classes of runs?
In the United States, there are commonly four ratings for ski runs: Green Circle (Beginner), Blue Square (Intermediate), Black Diamond (Advanced), and Double Black Diamond (Sonny Bono). These rankings, referred to normally only by the color, indicate the general grade and difficulty of the slope, with Double Blacks even being covered with trees for a majority of the run. With the difficulty, however, also comes the fun. Staying on Greens for your entire skiing career would make for a rather boring time. Even with my fear of heights, I have been testing the limits of my abilities on Black Diamond runs, as I have been growing bored with simply skiing Blues.
Jordan is, for all intents and purposes, a Blue. While there are some major adjustments that require your full attention, the nation itself presents a moderate challenge to those looking to adjust. If you so desire, you can live your life in Jordan with few interruptions from your American routine. This is not the same everywhere. Lebanon, from what I have heard, is a Black. You have to be able to respond to anything at a moment’s notice, and make sure you know exactly what part of the country you are in before you even tell someone your last name.
Inshallah, in three weeks, I will be in Lebanon. This is, of course, contingent on a number of factors, but if their version of stability holds, and I can find at least one travel companion, I will be skiing Lebanon before the semester ends. While I am excited beyond belief, I am also wary. I know the risks, especially in a country as volatile as Lebanon. However, after skiing a Blue for the past two and a half months, I feel capable enough to handle myself on a Black. Because you only can really learn by doing…
P.S.: More coming in the following days about Israel and Gaza/the current situation in Jordan. But I had to get this one out before I forgot about it.