In these stormy late January days, as the rain cascades and a chill permeates indoors, it's easy to forget that in Israel, summer rules for most of the year.
Instead of complaining about the weather (as you're likely to do again when the heat hits in a couple of months), treat yourself and visit the only place Israel can really call a winter wonderland.
The average ski season on Mount Hermon is only 45 days, but that's more than enough time to breathe in the crisp air, taste the dancing snowfalls, build a snowman, and slide or ski up and down the slopes.
The snow on the Hermon foothills has already reached a meter this year, with another meter-and-a-half capping the upper ski slopes. It may not sound like a lot to the European or American ski bunny, but in Israel, that's something to be proud of – and it's definitely enough powder to give parents and kids, lovers and friends, and experience they won’t forget.
The Mount Hermon ski slopes are spread out across 50 kilometers and range according to difficulty: blue (easy), red (hard) and black (very hard). There are also bunny trails to practice on, extreme (and tamer) sledding courses, ski and snowboard lessons at an additional cost.
But before you head up north, remember: winter isn't just about skiing. You're also going to need to eat! Haaretz and City Mouse have narrowed down a few of the best restaurants along the trip, to fuel up energy on the way there and warm you cold bones on the way home.
Ski slope entrance costs (does not include equipment):
Adults: NIS 49 plus NIS 43 to ride the cable car (or NIS 70 for two rides)
Children (ages 3-12): NIS 44 plus NIS 38 to ride the cable car
Adults: NIS 30
Children (3-12): NIS 25
Plastic sledding (for children only): NIS 30
1/2-day pass (after 12:30 P.M.): NIS 200
Day pass: NIS 245
2-day pass: NIS 470
3-day pass: NIS 695
4-day pass: NIS 870
Cost of equipment:
Full adult (includes skis and shoes): NIS 150
Full under age 12 (also includes helmet): NIS 125
Full snowboard equipment: NIS 170
Partial snowboard equipment: NIS 90
Shoes/skis: NIS 85
Clothing (coat or pants): NIS 60
If you're driving up Route 6, be sure to stop off at Nadav Deserts on Route 75 in Ramat Yishai and try this famed pastry chef's sweet baked goods, plethora of whole grain breads, or a hearty breakfast on the patio. If your hunger hits only around Rosh Pina, Shiri Bistro in the Old City may be the place for you: a French-style country bistro open all day with a constantly changing – and constantly good – menu (try the cheese platter breakfast or the tasters' platter consisting of every first course on the menu).
If you've chosen the Coastal Highway to get to your destination, you will definitely want to fill your belly at Al-Babur, off Route 65 in Umm al-Fahm. This is Galilee food at its finest, hot piping lamb stews and kebobs served inside a platter wrapped in pita, though be sure not to fill up on the amazing marinated and fresh salads served before the meal arrives. If you decide to wait until further north to eat, then Ein Kamonim near the Kedarim Junction may be the right choice: fresh homemade goat cheeses, which you can either eat-all-you-want for NIS 88 or get wrapped up to go along with yogurt, various mezzes, salads, lemonade and deserts.