Interested participants wishing to join any course have to send the application form along with the full fees in the shape of bank DD drawn in favour of “Pay & Accounts Officer Department of Tourism New Delhi” payable at Punjab National Bank, New Delhi, (the fees is non transferable and non refundable). The application form should be written in block letters and mailed to:
Indian Institute of Skiing & Mountaineering, Indiatourism
Young players participated in a snow baseball championship in Indian Kashmir.
The town of Gulmarg gets heavy snowfall during the winter and is covered in white for about six months. The town offers an excellent playground for winter sports.
[Fida Hussain, Organizer]:
“We consider ourselves as the frontrunners of playing this game on snowfields. We want some development in this game as Gulmarg is the perfect spot for national and international championships.”
The sport requires a lot of courage and determination from participants.
[Asif Farooq, Baseball Player]:
“We are happy that we participated in this baseball championship. Now we will be able to play baseball on the snowfields. This is the first time that baseball has been played on snow and our experience has been very satisfying.”
Gulmarg is considered the country’s premier ski resort with its natural slopes and inclines.
Gulmarg Dec 25: (courtesy Rising Kashmir)
Snow Rugby, Snow Cycling and Snow Baseball attracted the tourists at one of the world’s best ski-destination Gulmarg as the Tourism Department organized 3rd Snow Festival to kick start the winter sports here on Sunday.
Minister for Tourism and Culture, Nawang Rigzing Jora, inaugurated the festival in which these summer games were the star attractions.
Twenty-five cyclists participated in the 7 km mass-start snow cycling event, while as the school teams participated in the snow ruby and snow baseball events.
Gulmarg wore the festive look as all the games were played on Sunday.
Chairman JK Rugby Association, Mohammad Iqbal was declared as the pioneer of the snow ruby in the sub-continent.
“I feel proud to be the pioneer as many countries have taken cue from us. They are excited and willing to take part in the event. The snow rugby has turned craze in the sub-continent since its introduction here in Gulmarg,” said Iqbal, adding, “The teams from USA, New Zealand, Fiji, Kazakhstan are expected to take part in a rugby championship in February next year.”
The snow rugby fever has turned girls also to the game.
“This is a treat to play the game on snow. The game is played on playfield which may be dangerous for girls. However, on snow, we feel safe and there is also added excitement,” said one of the players in the event, Dhuha Qazi.
In the girls snow ruby matches, Presentation Convent bagged first place, while as Green Valley and Minto Circle teams bagged second and third place respectively. In boy’s event, Linton Hall, Burn Hall and Green Valley bagged first three places respectively.
Besides, snow rugby the visitors were surprised by the snow cycling event also.
Many mountain bikers participated in the 7km mass start event. They rode up and down the slopes at Gulmarg captivating the attention of the visitors.
NIS qualified coach, Ghulam Rasool Kawa, bagged first place in the event while as Anzil Mukhtar and Mudassir Ahmad bagged second and third place respectively.
JK Baseball Association also had teams to exhibit baseball on the white carpet.
The winter sports season will commence with ‘Kashmir Snow Festival’ in Gulmarg from December 24 and “Night Skiing, cultural programmes, FAM Tours and National Ice championships would be included in the three-day festival.
The season will culminate with national cross-country ski championship to be held from March 11 to 13 next year (2010).
Other competitions slated to be held at Gulmarg include National Junior Alpine Ski Championship and State Ski Championship.
Believe it or not, this year (Dec 2009/Jan 2010) sees an explosion of organized Ski or Skiing tours to Gulmarg – mostly by people/companies from outside India. You apparently get the benefit of ‘Ski Travel Consultants’ with specific trips organized between specific dates by different companies. The slots are limited and can be filled up using the online websites easily.
A week’s trip costs about USD 2000, generally including return flights from Delhi, local transfers, twin sharing hotels, Lift costs, food, guide, etc. Equipment may or may not be covered.
So looks like market forces are taking over. What if the government could not exploit the potential; savvy people from the field the world over are coming in and filling the void.
The costs seem somewhat high for Indian visitors – but compare it to a vacation to Kerela or Goa, and it could still make sense. Not to forget that this is about guided skiing tours to one the most beautiful places on the earth, and not merely a vacationing, take it easy kind of trip. More adventure than one could ever dream of…when you combine the powder fun with the fun of travelling to Kashmir in a peculiar India kind of way – who’d clear the snow from the roads? no one; would there be electricity? who can tell; and so on…
The 2-day food and snow festival is starting in Gulmarg from February 2. New for this year, the festival will be held near the base station of world’s highest Gondola, in tented accommodations, so that skiers can participate as soon as their last run off the mountain concludes.
The festival will include night skiing, snowboarding, ice-skiing, snow-cycling and international food festival. Its widely believed that the quality of snow and the slopes at Phase 2 surpasses those in Europe and North America
The food festival will give an opportunity to savour traditional Kashmiri cuisine like Wazwaan, Harissa, Masala, fish and Kashmiri snacks. This year, also expect some Italian and Russian dishes, sponsored by tour operators from other countries. According to Carin Jodha Fischer, tourism consultant to J&K Tourism Department, compared to the last two years, everything at Gulmarg has improved in terms of infrastructure. Apparently the tarrif for the Gandola ride has been reduced, its been running on time and snow removal has been better. Advance bookings for accomodations are always better, especially to guard against unexpected arrival of domestic tourists.
J&K Cycling Association is expected to organize snow cycling event on the first day of the 2-day festival.