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Limassol  - Troodos
There are four main ski slopes; Sun Valley 1 (Aphrodite) for beginners, and Sun Valley 2 (Hermes) for more proficient skiers. For the more experienced there are North Face 1 (Dias) and North Face 2 (Hera). The Cyprus Ski Club runs the bar ski lifts at Sun Valley and North Face where there are six different runs all of Alpine standard and varying in length from 100 -500 metres. There are also two cross country (langlauf) trails at Sun Valley, of eight kilometres and four kilometres, and these take skiers amongst the pine trees and offer wonderful views down to the Limassol coast. Snowboarding is increasing in popularity every year and the boards can be hired as well as toboggans for traditional family fun.

Skiing in the Troodos is fun and low-key, and although Cyprus will never be able to compete with the major European ski resorts it doesn't try to nor need to. The great news though is that skiers of all ages and abilities are welcome and nobody worries if you don't have the smartest ski suit or latest skis and don't wax your skis. Most people hire all their ski equipment from the ski store at Sun Valley 1, where you can also get lift passes.

For those who don't want to ski, there are plenty of other things to do in the mountains during the winter. There are four walking trails of up to nine kilometres in length that have been created by the Cyprus Tourist Organisation {CTO) and are great fun, although a great number of the plants and herbs highlighted in the information booklet are all hidden under the snow.

The different villages are also a must to visit and so are the ten painted churches of the Troodos. So beautiful, that they appear on the UNESCO World Heritage list. There are monasteries too, including Kykkos, the largest and most famous in Cyprus.

For more information check online for details of facilities in Troodos, and the conditions of the slopes is available via the live web-camera. The Cyprus Ski Club (CSC) can be contacted on 0035722 - 365340 and a leaflet on Skiing in Cyprus is available from Cyprus Tourist offices.
Whilst Cyprus is well known as an all round sun destination, the annual brief dusting of snow also transforms it into a ski resort and a holiday of contrasts! Can you imagine being able to enjoy a morning skiing or snowboarding in the alpine-like mountains and just a few hours later being able to walk on the beach or, if you are feeling brave enough, enjoy a swim in the sea.

The hotels in Troodos village and Pano Platres are perfect for those who want to stay the weekend amidst the snow and to relax and enjoy good food in front of a roaring log fire. Other accommodation includes privately rented houses in villages such as Kakopetria on the northern slopes of the mountains. Because the journey time to the mountains is 60-90 minutes from Paphos or Limassol, many just enjoy a long day trip to the snow. The Troodos is fun because the pleasant winter sun means that you don't have to wear lots of warm clothes, but you must put sun tan cream on your face or you could look like that famous reindeer!

The highest point in the mountains is Mount Olympus (1,952 metres). From early January through to March/April, the mountains are usually covered with a thick layer of snow and are transformed into a winter wonderland that looks like a scene from a Christmas card, complete with pine trees laden with snow and steeply pitched roofs of the houses that glisten in the sunshine. As soon as the snow falls, it is best not to delay but to get out and enjoy it because the snowfall can be temperamental and several ski championships have had to be cancelled because the snow has melted early.

A few years ago, three computerised snow guns were installed on the Zeus piste on North Face 1 to improve and even extend the skiing season. The snow guns are very beneficial as they can produce snow for difficult areas like the top of the slopes where strong winds carry the snow away.