ski - Yaron Kaminsky - December 13 2010
Skiers on Mount Hermon, December 13, 2010. Photo by Yaron Kaminsky
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Mount Hermon was opened to visitors, skiers and snowboarders on Wednesday, thanks to large amounts of snow that began to fall over the course of the weekend. According to the general manager of the site, Rachel Barel, this is the first time in four years that the site has been opened in December and not January.

The operators of the Hermon site, expecting thousands of boarders, are already reporting huge pile-ups on the road leading up to the site. Army Radio Galgalaz is reporting heavy traffic on roads leading up to the site.

The quantities of snow that have fallen on the Hermon in the last few days are more than any season in recent memory. On Tuesday, the snow piled 1.5 meters high on the upper cable car and 80 centimeters on the lower cable car. Last year there were only two days of snow, and the ski season lasted only six days in total.

Prices at the Hermon rose this year by 7% compared to last year. The price for an adult visitor rose from NIS 45 to NIS 49, and the price for a youth visitor rose from NIS 40 to NIS 44. The price of a cable car pass rose from NIS 40 to NIS 43 for adults and from NIS 35 to NIS 38 for youths.

The price of a ski pass rose by ten shekels to NIS 245, and the price of a half-day ski pass rose by 20 shekels to NIS 200. The price of entrance and the use of the cable cars for two parents and two children will cost NIS 348 this year, as compared to NIS 320 last year.

This year, in order to shorten the wait time experienced by visitors, there will be different lines for those who wish to rent ski equipment.

The Hermon has 50 kilometers of ski trails of various difficulty levels, and up to 2,000 people can be using the slopes at the same time. A snowboard park was opened at the Hermon in 2009, for the use of expert-level snowboarders only. The snowboard park has 500-meter-long ramps and patios for socializing.