The race is an indication of the popularity of extreme sports in Lebanon. The race is modeled on a Swiss race, a grueling 32 mile race established by the Swiss Army in 1943. the Lebanon is not in that league, it's 9 miles long. The race is more about diplomacy than physical prowess though. The race was co-sponsored by the Swiss government. The Swiss ambassador calls this event and others like crucial for this country and says sports and cultural events can show healing and are instruments of peace. Lebanon needs all the good publicity it can get. Many Swiss students who originally planned on being involved dropped out. The Swiss ambassador kicked off the race. The competitors headed out with enthusiasm but looked unprepared for the most part. Most people used hand-me-down skis. For most racers, this kind of skiing is alien to them. Besides having proper equipment, some racers were nudged by sponsors to come. In the end, the Italian racer and his teammate were the winners and the first local team, from the Lebanon Army, came in 25 minutes later. So Lebanon still has a way to go.