From the deck of the overnight ferry from Athens, the sight of the massive snow-covered Lefka Ori range rising abruptly behind the ancient harbor town of Chania on the island of Crete, was astonishing and strangely unexpected. It was February 2020 and, accompanied by my wife, a longtime Greek friend, and the ski filmmaker Constantine Papanicolaou, I had come to Crete to ski. This took even some Cretans, who seemed oblivious to the snowy summits in plain sight, by surprise.
“You will ski? There is skiing here?” asked Antonis Michael, the manager at the Domus Renier, a carefully remodeled five-century-old townhouse hotel on the harbor named after its original royal owners, on seeing our gear when we checked in.
Like a growing number of seasoned skiers, when I ski these days it is mostly under my own power, in search of quiet, aerobic exercise and the thrilling payoff of a descent on untouched snow.
World’s oldest family tree created using DNA
Several years ago I began to hear stories that sounded hard to believe — that I could find the best of that kind of skiing on Crete. The spring snow conditions were said to be dependable, the scenery stunning, and you could make long descents within sight of the sea, while spending your nights at picturesque Mediterranean seaside towns.
“Crete is unlike any place I’ve skied,” the Verbier, Switzerland-based mountaineer and ski guide, John Falkiner, said when I asked him about it.
Read more: NY Times