Skiers back on Himachal’s Solang slopes

Manali, Feb 11 (IANS) Skiers are back on the slopes in Solang near this Himachal Pradesh tourist town after the region witnessed heavy snowfall early this week, officials said Thursday.

‘The National Senior Alpine Skiing Championship, which was already delayed by three days due to inclement weather, started this (Thursday) morning at Solang as the weather is quite congenial to hold the events,’ Jagmohan Sharma, general secretary of the Himachal Pradesh Winter Games Association (HPWGA), told IANS.

The Winter Games Federation of India this year has allowed the HPWGA to hold the National Senior Alpine Skiing Championship.

‘Now the Solang slopes have more than three feet of snow which is quite okay for skiing. We tried to hold the event yesterday (Wednesday) too but there were some logistical problems. But today (Thursday) all preparations have been finalised to hold the events,’ he said.

The championship also has entries from the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force, the Border Security Force and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police.

‘As many as 71 skiers, including 13 women, would vie for various events like slalom and cross country,’ he said.

This year, the venue for the championship at Solang in the western Himalayas, has been planned after a gap of seven years.

Scanty snowfall during the past five-six years disappointed ski lovers. Even last year the slopes were bereft of snow cover. This year too, the championship was beset by uncertainty as the area was totally devoid of snow till last week.

The government-run Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports here is also conducting its skiing courses at Solang. Last month, the institute had to change the venue of its courses from Solang as there was no snow.

Mahavir Thakur, deputy director of the mountaineering institute, said after the recent snow in Solang, more ski lovers would return.

‘Once again the institute has started getting queries across the country regarding skiing in Solang. In the next few days, a number of professional skiers would return here,’ he said.

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