Golan snow shuts schools, but not enough for skiing

Mount Hermon ski resort head tells 'Post' he hopes more snow will fall soon so site can be opened to visitors.

hermon snow 298.88 (photo credit: Channel 1)
hermon snow 298.88
(photo credit: Channel 1)
The first snowflakes of the season fell Wednesday morning in the northern Golan Heights. They kept children out of school but were not enough to allow the country's only ski slope to open for business. "We sure hope that this is the beginning of winter and that more snow will fall soon so we can open the site to visitors," Mount Hermon ski resort director-general Menahem Baruch told The Jerusalem Post. Mount Hermon's slopes rise between 1,600 and 2,040 meters above sea level; its ski resort usually opens in December. By Wednesday afternoon, 2 to 3 centimeters of snow had covered the mountain. Earlier in the day, several roads in the northern Golan were briefly closed. There was much more snow south of Mount Hermon. "We haven't seen this white stuff for a long time and we almost gave up hope, but it arrived eventually, in great amounts - 25 centimeters - so this year the snow is more beautiful than ever," Alex Kudish, in charge of Kibbutz Ein Zivan's cherry and apple orchards, told The Jerusalem Post. "Even though our local council is drilled to function in the snow, we decided to let the children stay home today, and they have been building snowmen with such enthusiasm, as if it was their first snow," Kudish said. "We have a splendid sight here in Quneitra Valley, and we can see that the Syrian side is covered with the same amount of beautiful snow as Kibbutz Ein Zivan," he said. The Syrian side usually gets more snow than the Israeli side, but so far they have received the same amount. Tzahy Vaksman, a weatherman at Meteo-Tech Meteorological Services, explained that this unusual situation was caused by easterly winds coming from the Syrian desert. He had good news for the tour operators from the North. According to Vaksman, "A gradual warming is anticipated on Thursday and Friday, but late on Friday night and throughout Saturday more snow will cover the north of Israel and especially Mount Hermon. Heavier rain is expected on Saturday and through early next week, from the country's north down to the northern Negev, he said. The wet weather is expected to continue at least until Tuesday and there is a possibility of snow in mountainous area next week, Vaksman said.