Beautiful Lebanon

James Mills > Blog > Beautiful Lebanon

A couple of weeks ago I was spontaneously invited on a Skiing trip to Lebanon by a good friend in Dubai. I received a random WhatsApp from Angiolo, a guy from South Africa who I met through Fiona, saying he had booked accomodation in Lebanon to go Skiing with a friend and the apartment had three rooms so would I like to join them.

Those who know me would be right to assume that my immediate reaction was to start to type “Hey, thanks for the offer mate but not this time”. However, something came over me. I mentioned the possibility to Fiona who said: “You should definitely do that”. I started to remind myself that I was supposed to be pushing myself out of my comfort zone this year and so I decided to do it!

You will notice in true James Mills style I still manage to leave a little room to back out and I didn’t fully commit in the first message, but still, this was more than normal.

Mzaar Kfardebian

We took an Emirates flight to Beirut where a local guy called Mario picked us up from the airport in his Snow Taxi. We travelled for about an hour and forty minutes, climbing the hills quite quickly until we reached Mzaar Kfardebian. 

Snowboarding is an interesting sport. The first time I did it was in Finland when I was visiting my good friend Juhana who I met whilst I backpacked around Australia. That was a long time ago and since then I have only been to the inside ski slope in Leeds once and a handful of times here in Dubai. Let’s just say it was a painful few days, of which I spent most of my time on my ass getting very frustrated.

Reflection on resilience

I was pretty anxious to start with. We took some easy slopes to get going but the lack of speed seemed to be a hindrance. I had to stop and unclip my board a number of times to walk as I was unable to maintain a good speed to get up some of the inclines on the route. There were a couple of times when I was about to give up and then a couple of times I thought I was a Snowboarding god and I was on my way to signing up to the winter Olympics. When I say I was about to give up I mean it. I had excuses planned in my head to explain exactly why I needed to stop and go home. It’s an amazing thing how you can go from such a high to such a low in such a small space of time.

I literally went from a high to low so many times that it got me thinking. It was so familiar to me as it’s an experience I have had many times whilst programming and to an extent when I am out running. When programming you can have days where you are flying. Every line of code just works and the solution you come up with to a problem can make you feel like you are literally a genius. Then, a single misplaced comma or semicolon can ruin your day. I have lost many hours to silly mistakes, which have made me feel like I need to quit my job and change career. These feelings can switch quite dramatically and affect your self-esteem and emotional wellbeing. When running, you can suffer a total lack of engagement and question why you even started running and then all of a sudden you can hit the “runners high” and feel like you are flying over the ground.

The more years that pass, I realise that life really is about being resilient. I am thankful that my wife helps me push outside my comfort zone in situations like this. I am thankful I don’t give up and that I have grown to be more resilient. I am even more thankful for my ability to take time to step back and refect on lifes little lessions. Taking time out to reflect is one of the most undervalued things in life which I would encorage you all to do more.

It’s been a great trip and on the third day we all found our snow legs. We fell only a couple of times and it seemed to just click. I glided down the mountain with a huge smile on my face enjoying the moment and the wonderful views. I won’t forget that moment. Thank god I picked my self up and kept trying!


On our way back we decided to take an extra day to explore Beirut. Beirut is a beautiful city. What stuck out for me was the contrast of old and new. We stayed in a boutique hotel called Three O’Nine Hotel, which I would highly recommend to anyone visiting the city.

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