There's more to Cyprus than sun, sand and sea, did you know for example that snow, slopes and ski are also available on this wonderful island of contrasts?

The sport of skiing first appeared in Cyprus around 1934, when a group of people created the islands first "Mountaineering Club". The Cyprus Ski Club was created in March 1947 and has played a leading role in the development of skiing on the island ever since.

Today many hundreds of Cypriots and perhaps as many visitors enjoy the wonderful sport of skiing every winter on the beautiful slopes of Mt Olympus.

Snow falls in the Troodos Mountains from mid-December through to the end of March. Mount Olympus, the islands highest peak at 6,402 ft has a cap of snow on it for three or four months of the year and this is where the Troodos Skiing Resort is based. With several other peaks in the area reaching 5,000 feet or more the official centre of the skiing activities is Sun Valley.

With just four slopes, the terrain is not extensive but all levels of ability are catered for. The Hera Lift on the North Face and Aphrodite Lift at Sun Valley are more suitable for beginners. Intermediate skiers will feel right at home on the Hermes slope in Sun Valley, while advanced skiers will enjoy the Zeus run located on the North Face of Mount Olympus.

At both the North Face (Zeus lift) and in the Sun Valley area of the resort, a limited amount of ski equipment is available for hire via the Cyprus Ski Cub ski shop. The ski lifts operate from 09.00 hrs to 16.00 hrs all week during the winter season.

Mount Olympus is only 3km from the Troodos hill resort, 12km from Platres hill resort and approximately an hours' drive from the coastal towns of Limassol and Paphos.

The best time to book a skiing trip to Cyprus is February and March, as generally there is a sufficient depth of powdery snow in the mountains by this time. Towards the end of March as the sun gains strength the powder snow starts to transform to corn snow which signals the end of the ski season.

For more information on equipment hire, ski passes, lessons, trail maps etc please visit http://www.skicyprus.com.

For more information on piste conditions and road conditions please visit http://www.cyprusski.com