Communicating the Love for Lebanon and its riches: rediscovering an amazing part of the country through an iconic destination sought after, cherished, and revered by skiers and snowboarders the world over.
The first Grande Coulee Challenge www.patrouilledescedres.com/gcc took place on Sunday March 8, 2020 on Mount Sannine’s pristine and frozen snow bathed in glorious Lebanese sunshine. In its maiden edition, more than 200 winter sports enthusiasts from Lebanon and its armed forces as well as eight nations took part in one of three tracks. A 1,000m ascent & descent backcountry ski race, a snowshoe race and a special snowshoe outing honoring women on International Women’s Day, all in the shadow of the iconic Grande Coulée (a.k.a. Bahsa) in the majestic Sannine Mountain range.
This may not be the best time to rejoice, but hey! in times of hardship, some make it a point to celebrate the precious riches the country has to offer and to incite the love of the land in its population, especially the youth. Maxime Chaya and his team share this view and made it a point to stage the event despite the current negativity and gloomy outlook.
Support for Maxime’s project came from four like-minded Lebanese nationals heading LIFE (Lebanese International Finance Executives), Faqra Club, Association Philippe Jabre and Midis Group who all believed in Maxime and his project, and without their backing the event simply wouldn’t be.
It takes two to Tango -and a lot more to stage such an event… Genuine and generous help came from: the Scouts du Liban, the Baskinta municipality and the ever-present Lebanese Red Cross. Local tour operator Nader Tebcharani guided the International Women’s Day Snowshoe Outing in awkward conditions while Association Stop Plastique aimed to raise awareness about the dangers of single-use plastic.
Thanks to the collective efforts of all and the grace of the weather gods, the day’s events were a resounding success and everyone involved, including the participants is already looking forward to the next edition scheduled for Sunday February 28, 2021.
GCC 2020 results: Adib Abou Haidar from nearby Baskinta took the 2020 Men’s ski race by storm, and so did Diala Kassem from Beirut for the women’s ski category. The snowshoe race was won by the ever-fit Daoud Moustapha who clocked in a record time for his 2 laps, while for the women, it was Sarah Ekmekjian who finished her lap first. They both ran a perfect race in what turned out to be somewhat tricky snow conditions later in the day.
In these tough times we hope to have leveraged on the beautiful side of #ourLebanon and the magnificence of its mountain, blessed with abundant snow this winter. May we all have a white & bright future and see you all very soon in our next event.