No magic wand needed. The heat and humidity in Israel right now can be banished by a moving chair. A ski lift, actually.
Mount Hermon, Israel’s premier winter destination, is also a prime spot for cool summer fun.
Reaching heights between 1,600 and 2,236 meters above sea level, the Hermon takes visitors out of the clamminess of the country’s valleys and positions them on the breezy mountaintop with postcard-perfect views over the Golan Heights, Syria, Lebanon, the Galilee and the Hula Valley.
After the snow melts, all the world’s best ski resorts boost their activities for the summer months. The Hermon Ski Resort is no different – offering a ton of fun stuff to do on Israel’s only ski hill.
Walking, hiking, karting, tubing, birding and mountain coasters are all outdoor activities available atop this mountain. Add to that jeep tours, rock climbing, kayaking and swimming in the foothills and you can definitely make a trip to Israel’s north with a jam-packed itinerary.
During the summer, entrance to the Hermon Ski Resort is free as are daily walking tours along the mountain’s nature trails where you will see unique flowers and fauna. You do have to pay for the ride up to the plateau, however.
Bring binoculars: The mountain is also home to the horned lark, which nests on the ground; the long-legged buzzard and the sombre tit, among other fine feathered friends.
If bird-watching and hiking are too temperate for you, the resort offers an alpine mountain coaster as well as two new attractions — summer tubing and off-road karting.
The alpine mountain coaster is a user-controlled 950-meter slide that is extremely fun for kids and adults alike. (Israel’s other alpine coaster is found at Manara Cliff in Kiryat Shmona.)
Think bobsled on a track.
Riders are in charge of how fast they want to navigate the track down the mountain but gravity is going just one way no matter how fond of the brakes you want to be. The faster you go, the more exciting the curves and drops.
The Hermon mountain coaster actually runs throughout the year. In winter, the icy wind whipping at your face makes the ride a little less fun.
For the summer tubing ride, sit yourself on a hard-bottomed blow-up tire, line yourself up on the artificial slope and lurch down as fast as you can go. This ride – for ages five and up — offers a similar sensation of snow sledding but without the snow.
Another new-fangled attraction for 2016 is three-wheeled karting along an 850-meter dirt-road track. You have to be at least 15 years old – and have a serious thirst for fun – to do this challenging course.
While the Hermon attracts some 300,000 visitors in winter to ski, snowboard and sled on the snow, in summer only 40,000 visitors make their way up the mountain to this site covering 1,235 acres.
So, not only are queues shorter but there are also new ways to enjoy the thrill of careening down the mountain and in better weather. (Note, however, that the resort recommends bringing a light jacket as the weather can get chilly even in the middle of summer.)
Before you make your way down the mountain, make sure to take a selfie at the highest café in the country or simply with the best views as your backdrop.
Assuming you haven’t maxed out on adrenaline thrills, private tour companies as well as the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel offer rock-climbing adventures, jeep tours of the surrounding area and kayaking/rafting down the Hermon stream. Or, head over to the Meshushim Pool, Tel Dan National Park, Hermon Stream or Zavitan Stream for a wade in the cool waters.
Mount Hermon is your respite from the heat in Israel.
The cost of each of the activities varies but the NIS 90 pass (including ski lift, karting, summer tubing and alpine coaster) is your best bet. The NIS 99 pass (including ski lift, alpine coaster, kayaking) is also a good deal. For more price options click here.