Grande Coulée Challenge


Backcountry Ski Race, Snowshoe Race & Snowshoe Outing


Sunday March 8, 2020

(International Women’s Day 2020!)

Check out our Press Release (click here)


ABOUT the GCC Ski Race

WHAT Backcountry Ski Race? WHERE? WHO? & HOW?

The idea is to stage a short, quick and simple backcountry ski race, up and down the iconic Grande Coulée in the Sannine mountain range, a mere 45 minute drive from the capital Beirut.
The start line is above the road, between apple orchards, moving southwest towards the Petite Coulée (aka ‘Berland’) and up all the way to the 2,500m summit via the southern shoulder. The finish will be at the bottom of ‘Grande Coulée’, less than 100m from where the start took place. Total ascent/descent: 1,000m


For more information about Snowshoe (Race & Outing)
GCC Backcountry Ski Race

Rules & Regulations


The “Grande Coulée Challenge” (hereafter “GCC”) is a backcountry ski race (also known as ski-touring or ski-mountaineering) open to all skiers (including military individuals). The race comprises one simple up & down itinerary to be completed within a set time-frame.

Although it is intended to skiers of all levels, the distances, high altitudes and steep profiles make this backcountry ski race unique in its kind. Because of these particular characteristics, all requests to participate in GCC necessitate the following:

  1. Good knowledge of skiing together with some experience in the mountain environment.
  2. A personal commitment to a minimum of physical and technical preparations needed for winter racing in a mountain environment.
  3. An unconditional acceptance of the GCC Rules & Regulations as well as all instructions issued by the organizing committee, before, during and, if necessary, after the event.
  4. A positive attitude showing sportsmanship as well as regard for other participants, including friendliness, solidarity, prudence and respect for nature and the mountain.
  5. The required backcountry ski gear, in reasonably good condition.

Categories & Prizes

The race will include 4 categories:

  1. The 4 categories :
  • Women: women of all ages
  • Men: men younger than 50 years
  • Senior: men aged 50 and above
  • Military: all service personnel (Army, ISF, etc.)
  1. The minimum age for competitors is 15 years. Participants aged between 15 and 18 must be registered by one of their parents or their legal guardian.
  2. Any category with less than the requisite number of registered participants will be scrapped. If so, its participants will race under another category (as decided by the Race Committee).
    • GCC and its sponsors will offer the following bespoke GCC trophies (made of metals & wood) designed and produced by Blink BTL (
    • as well as bespoke GCC medals (laser-cut and etched stainless Steel) will be designed and produced by Spock Design ( ).
  3. for the first three finishers of each category:
    • Winner: Large GCC Trophy and bespoke GCC BC Ski medal
    • Runner-up: Bespoke GCC BC Ski medal
    • 3rd place finisher: Bespoke GCC BC Ski medal
  1. To receive their bespoke GCC trophies, winners of all categories are kindly asked to leave their skis and poles behind before proceeding to the podium. No skis or poles are allowed on the podium.


  1. Registration and enrollment criteria:
  • Registration is open as of Jan.30, 2020
  • Online registration: Registration can be done online at
  • The deadline for registrations is Sunday February 23, 2020
  • Entry fees:
    1. The entry fee per participant is LL60, 000. This does not include the US$4 mandatory insurance which will be paid separately (PA policy from Arabia Insurance here).
    2. The entry fee is the same for civil and Military participants.
    3. Participants holding a Lebanese citizenship are subsidized and will only pay 50% of their entry fee: that’s LL30, 000 per participant. This does not include the US$4 mandatory insurance which will be paid separately (PA policy from Arabia Insurance here).
    4. Lebanese military (Army, ISF, etc.) participants are exempt of entry fees and insurance fees.
    5. There is no need to pay the entry fee upon registration. It will be paid in cash upon bib number pickup (at the briefing) – or, exceptionally for those who cannot come to the briefing, 75 minutes before the start on race day.
  • Participants selection criteria: It is reminded that all participants should fulfill the below competences:
    1. A good knowledge of the mountain environment
    2. Good skiing skills (downhill)
    3. A healthy physical condition
    4. The capability of completing the race under non-optimal conditions
    5. Possession of appropriate equipment, including ski-crampons, kept in reasonably good condition.


  1. Insurance:
  • Every Civil participant will be requested to purchase the mandatory Arabia Insurance Company Personal Accident insurance upon registration and payment of the entry fee. This applies even to those who are personally insured for this type of event.
  • Arabia Insurance Company is offering participants Personal Accident insurance for all non-military registered participants. The premium is US$4 per participant and the details in terms of coverage are outlined here (  To seek further info please contact Arabia Insurance directly at email: / or call 01-376673.
  • All participants will sign a waiver stipulating that the Grande Coulée Challenge, its organizers, sponsors and anyone else cannot and will not be held responsible for any harm whatsoever in case of any accident that happens to a competitor or anyone else, and in particular during race day.

Equipment & Gear

  1.  Requisite Gear and equipment: All participants are required to carry the same type of backcountry ski gear, equipment and garments, albeit from the brand and make of their choice.
    • Specifications for skis, bindings and footwear:
      • Skis:
        • Only skis are accepted & specific snowboards (see viii below).
        • No snowshoes are accepted
        • Minimum ski length: 150 cm.
        • Width under the binding: maximum 110 mm, minimum 60 mm.
        • Metal edges on at least 90% of the entire length.
        • Seal skins must cover a minimum of 75% of the ski base and attach to the spatula.
        • Seal skins must be clean and have adequate gluing properties.
        • Skis with fish scales as a means of ascending are not permitted.
        • Snowboards: only split boards (snowboards that can be separated into two ski-like parts) are permitted, only if also fitted with appropriate climbing skins and ski crampons (couteaux).
      • Bindings and other gear for ski-touring:
        • Bindings must hold down the heel firmly when going downhill. Cross-country (Nordic) ski bindings or similar equipment are strictly forbidden.
        • Bindings must have ski stops or leashes. No competitors using skis and bindings without ski-stops or adequate attachment will be allowed to take the start.
        • Ski crampons (couteaux) are mandatory except for participants with proper boot crampons.
      • Footwear:
        • Only backcountry or alpine skiing boots are permitted.
        • As such, boots must give firm support and cover the ankle completely.
        • Cross country ski boots and similar ‘Nordic Ski’ equipment are strictly forbidden.

*Note: The Race Committee reserves the right to refuse gear and / or equipment that it judges not applicable or safe for racing in the mountain environment.

  • Mandatory equipment: Each participant is required to carry (or wear) the following personal items:
    • Gear and garments:
      • A backpack that can securely fit skis.
      • One wind breaker (Gore-Tex or other)
      • One warm mid-layer (fleece or other)One warm hat
      • One pair of gloves
      • Sunglasses
      • One helmet (mandatory)*Note: all gear should be suitable for the mountain environment and in good condition.
    • Food (at the start line):
      • A minimum of 300 calories per participant (ex: 1 bar and 1 banana)
    • Fluids (at the start line):
      • A minimum of 500 ml of water per participant. (water or other non-alcoholic beverage, not inside a plastic bottle preferably).
  • Scrutineering (equipment and material check):
  • There could be scrutineering checks on race day (near start line)
  • There will be random equipment and material checks
    1. Before the start
    2. At any checkpoint along the race
    3. At the Finish Line.

*Note: Any participant whose equipment does not fulfil the quantity or standards required (except for food and water at checks performed after the start), or who loses possession of material throughout the race will be penalized accordingly or disqualified.

General Race Information

  1. Race course distance and figures: *Note: All figures are approximate.

The Grande Coulée Challenge course distance is: 8.5 km approximately, with positive altitude variations of ~ 1,000 m (same for downhill) yielding approximately 21.8 km-effort.

  1. Race date:
  • Race date: The set date for GCC 2020 is Sunday March 8, 2020 (with a +1 week reserve, weather-contingency, alternate date).
  • Reserve / Contingency date: In case of an adverse weather forecast for race day, the date could be changed one week forward (i.e. to Sunday, March 15, 2020). If so, the date change will be announced no later than 48hrs prior to the original start (i.e. by 8:30am Friday March 6), by email and/or WhatsApp to all registered participants.
  1. Start time(s):
  • Initial grouped start time: The start will be given at 8:30AM. Depending on conditions and other factors, competitors could be split into 2 groups in which case a second start could be given, no later than 30 minutes after the first start.
  • Second (optional) start time: Depending on conditions and other factors, the Race Committee could decide to split competitors into 2 groups who will start at 2 different times, the second group start (if applicable) will be no later than 30 minutes after the first one, i.e. by 9:00am.
  • All participants must be at the start area 75 minutes before the race start, meaning at 7:15am.

*Note 1: In the event of a second start, the Race Committee reserves the right to split competitors in the manner it deems appropriate.

*Note 2: The Race Committee reserves the right to modify the starting times, in accordance with existing conditions, the total number of participants registered, and other relevant factors.

  1. GCC 2020 start line and finish line locations:
  • Start line(s): GCC 2020 will start at the apple orchard 30m above the Sannine – Baskinta road: (GPS: 33°56’34.42″N  by  35°50’26.81″E)
  • Finish line: The GCC 2020 finish line is at the bottom of the Grande Coulée, some 20m above and within sight of the start line, at (GPS: 33°56’37.15″N  by  35°50’34.29″E)
  1. Personal Belongings bags:
  • Participants wishing to leave personal belongings at the start in order to reclaim them at the finish can do so by placing their items inside a thick clear plastic bag that could be provided 45 minutes before the start.
  • The plastic bag will be marked with the participant’s race number.
  • To reclaim the personal belongings bag at the finish area, the corresponding Race Number will have to be provided.

*Note: Belongings bags cannot be reclaimed unless any one of the of the 2 corresponding Race Number is shown.

Checkpoints & cut-off times

  1. Checkpoints:

The (Red and/or Green) markings placed all along the race track lead to checkpoints by which every participant is required to pass, with both race numbers visible (on right thigh and on backpack).

  1. Checkpoint cut-off times: The below cut-off times are in place to ensure a safe race for everyone. Participants behind schedule will be regarded as disqualified and will be stopped at the nearest checkpoint.

Checkpoint no. and name:                        Start Cutoff time:        Split Cutoff time:       Time of day:

Start:     Red Arch – Apple orchard              Start                                         —                           08:30

CP 1:     Bottom Petite Coulée                   Start + 0h 45m                45m                  09:15

CP 2:    Mid Petite Coulée                        Start + 1h 30m                45m                  10:00

CP 3:    Top Petite Coulée                        Start + 2h 30m                60m                  11:00

CP 4:    Mid South Shoulder                     Start + 3h 15m                45m                  11:45

CP 5:    French Room                              Start + 4h 00m                45m                  12:30

CP 6:    Top Grande Coulée                      Start + 4h 30m                30m                  13:00

CP 7:    Mid Grande Coulée (KR)              Start + 4h 45m                15m                  13:15

Finish:  Bottom Grande Coulée                 Start + 5h 00m                15m                  13:30

GCC Rules for All Participants

  1. Regulations & instructions: participants must comply with the race regulations and any instructions received from organizers before, during and after the competition.
  2. Precaution: In addition to the official instructions, participants are to take all appropriate precautions, as imposed by the mountain environment and the prevailing conditions, to avoid any accident.
  3. Checkpoint cut-off / time-limits: Participants who fail to reach any checkpoint by the designated cut-off / time limit (see appendix VI.2.a and VI.2.b) are automatically disqualified and must follow the instructions given by the checkpoint official.
  4. Mobile phone: Each participant must carry a mobile phone with WhatsApp enabled and in which the SOS number +961 76 402 403 is saved. All mobile phones should be fully charged at the start line – no excuses!
  5. Race numbers and ID: All competitors should have their provided race numbers clearly visible at all times during the race. One race number on the right thigh and the other on the backpack. In addition, participants are advised to carry a valid ID (photocopies are okay if clear, inside waterproof sleeve or bag).
  6. Exterior help or assistance: No exterior help or assistance is authorized (except for a broken ski – see Rule IV.9. below). Participants shall use their own gear from the start to the finish line, without being handed anything from anyone outside the race.
  7. Broken ski replacement: Only the exchange of a broken ski is allowed and could be done at the nearest checkpoint or by notifying the next checkpoint official. The replacement ski(s) can come from anyone, including another competitor willing to sacrifice his / her race.
  8. “Witch-riding”: Straddling the ski poles on downhill stretches is permitted -indeed recommended in unfavorable snow conditions.
  9. Timing: The finish time is recorded when the participant crosses the finish line. The start time is the same for all participants -at the sound of the start horn- regardless of when they ski past the start arch.
  10. Protests, complaints and claims:
  • Protests, complaints and claims will be submitted after crossing the finish line, and a maximum of 60 minutes after the concerned participant has completed the course.
  • Protests shall be duly justified, perfectly clear and sent by email to the GCC Race Committee at  (
  • All protests, complaints and claims must be accompanied by a payment of LBP 50.000 (Approx. USD 33) which will be handed in cash -inside an envelope bearing the participant’s number, to the finish race marshal.
  • The Race Committee will endeavor to provide feedback by return email as soon as possible after investigating the protest, complaint or claim.
  • The payment will be refunded if the protest, complaint or claim is accepted.
  • The payment will not be refunded if the protest, complaint or claim is rejected.
  • The decision of GCC Race Committee is final and will not have recourse in any court of law.
  1. Disqualification:

Any infringement of the rules could entail disqualification. This penalty may be notified during the race by a checkpoint official or a GCC technical delegate or at the finish line. A disqualified competitor will not be entitled to any prize or medal.

  1. Warning:

A warning could be issued prior to disqualification, but not necessarily. The Race Committee has this option but could decide, at its discretion, to disqualify a competitor without issuing a prior warning.

  1. Medical elimination:

An official GCC doctor may decide, for medical reasons, to prevent a participant from continuing with the race. In such a case, the participant in question must hand in his / her bib numbers and comply with the orders given by the doctor and checkpoint official. The official GCC doctor’s decision and that of Red Cross officials is irrevocable.

  1. Competitor discipline:
    • Each participant moves as an independent skier with his / her own complete
    • Participants must comply with instructions given by race officials and doctors at all times.
    • In addition to the official instructions, competitors are to take all appropriate precautions, imposed by the prevailing conditions, to avoid any accident.
    • Every participant shall follow the markings at the risk of being disqualified.
  1. Withdrawal:

Every competitor wishing to withdraw from the race must announce it to the nearest checkpoint. A competitor may not continue the race once he / she has been withdrawn. Any competitor who does not respect the GCC rules will be disqualified and possibly banned from taking part in future events. The officials of the checkpoint where the withdrawal was announced will take charge of the withdrawn participant who will abide by the orders given by GCC officials.

  1. Duty to rescue:

In case of danger or accident, participants must exchange assistance and/or call for assistance and/or proceed with help procedures either spontaneously or at the request of a checkpoint official or doctor.

  1. Outside assistance:

It is strictly forbidden for people outside the race to help competitors, even with simple tasks such as putting on or taking off sealskins, skis or other.

  1. Environment protection:

All participants are expected to show respect for the mountains and to be environment-conscious, particularly by carrying along all their waste until the next post.

  1. The Obligatory hand-kiss rule:

It is obligatory for male participants to hand-kiss any women participants that ski past going uphill, with her consent of course. (Okay, we made that one up. But hey! that would be cool. We’re thinking of making it a genuine rule for all our events!).

  1. The GCC virtuous circle:

You enter – You train – You compete – You feel great – You enter again.

GCC BC Ski Race Course MAP




GCC Snowshoe logo BLK PNG
Rules & Regulations for

Snowshoe Race

Besides the Sunday March 8 Grande Coulée backcountry ski race, there will be 2 snowshoeing events: a snowshoe race and a snowshoe outing.

The SNOWSHOE RACE will take place on a 4km loop, to be completed once, twice or 3 times (pls see rules and regulations). Provisional loop map and figures below.

The SNOWSHOE OUTING (an International Women’s Day special) is a gentle stroll for everyone in the Sannine region at the foot of the legendary ski runs known as the Grande Coulée, the Kookadoo and Berland. It starts at 10 AM and lasts approximately 2 to 3 hours, mostly on flat terrain, with close to 100 m of positive and negative ascent.

The start and finish of the Grande Coulée SNOWSHOE OUTING, SNOWSHOE RACE and BACKCOUNTRY SKI RACE will be at this GPS location: 33°56’37.15″N by 35°50’34.29″E

The AWARD CEREMONY is scheduled for 2pm, all in the same start / finish areas. Everyone is welcome to join; a big surprise awaits!

Registration for the snowshoe race or outing is 20,000 Lebanese pounds. Only for Snowshoe OUTING participants, this fee includes one pair of rental snowshoes and poles. Snowshoe RACERS are welcome to bring their own gear or rent snowshoes on site (LL10,000). Both racers and outing snowshoers are entitled to their GCC Tyvek bib number.

Please save our exclusive texting WhatsApp number +961-76-402403 for important info and updates.

GCC Snowshoe Race Course MAP (provisional)




Register for GCC 2020
Register for GCC 2020