The Gulmarg Snow Carnival which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday is in full swing at ski resort of Gulmarg.
The 15-day carnival saw competition of Snowshoe held on Monday that was flagged off by Director Tourism, Kashmir Mahmood Ahmad Shah. In the event around 24 athletes hailing from different parts of the valley participated.
Ifshan Ahmad of Narbal completed the hattrick of wins in the Snowshoeing competition after having won previous two races. Parvez Ahmad of Kawoosa finished second and Muhammad Saleem of Narbal finished third.
Meanwhile, The Department of Tourism Kashmir in collaboration with Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering today organized first of its kind certified Ski Courses at newly developed slopes at Pahalgam with an aim to promote Pahalgam as a winter tourist destination.
The 15-day ski course was inaugurated by DC Anantnag Syed Abid and Director Tourism Kashmir Mehmood Ahmad Shah near Lala Ji Huts at newly constructed 230 meters Ski-Lift with carrying capacity of 420 people. The lift was commissioned last year, however, due to scant snowfall; the ski courses could not be organized last year. Around 80 people including 40 locals and 40 participants from across India participated the inaugural session.
Earlier the department also organized ice climbing event at Chandanwari Pahalgam in which 25 climbers participated which also caught the attention of the ice-climbers across India and abroad. The department started ice-climbing event in Pahalgam since last year to harness the winter tourism potential of this otherwise popular summer resort.
Speaking on the occasion, Director Tourism said that Pahalgam is very popular summer destination however the low occupancy in winter remains is a concern for stakeholders. He said winter activities shall go a long way in promoting the destination as a winter resort also.
He informed that the Department of tourism will also organize a 3-day festival in the last week of February which shall showcase culture, cuisine, handicraft and adventure based activities to woo tourists towards Pahalgam.
He said the department is also developing wayside facilities at Bejbehara and Chen Wudur and Laddi- falling on Bijbehara-Srigufwara Road as majority of tourists take this road to each Pahalgam.
According to a statement from Jammu Kashmir Cable Car Corporation (JKCCC) it had recently commissioned Ski lift with carrying capacity of 500 skiers per hour and the slope about 300 mts long has been homologated as per the standard skiing practices.
“Thye lift shall remain operational till ending March every year,” the statement said adding that the corporation intends to post skiing instructors for interested persons.
The corporation, the statement said, has plans to introduce summer sports at the venue.
Pertinent to mention the ski lift was commissioned in record time last year but could not be made functional due to lack of snow at Pahalgam.