Foreign skiers crowd Solang slopes

Foreign skiers crowd Solang slopes

"What a nice ski slope," remarked Canadian skier John Lee.  Lee and his friends are skiing on the Solang slopes near this picturesque tourist resort and are among the 336 participants gathered here for a four-day Alpine Premier League that began Monday.

“It’s not crowded like the slopes in Europe. We are here for the first time,” says Aiden, another skier.

According to organisers, the participants include 12 persons from Canada, Switzerland, Finland, Norway and France. The skiing competitions include a variety of stunts and races for both male and female categories as well as for boys and girls. There is also a category for men’s veteran of 40 years and above.

The event is organised by Ski Himalayas Ropeway jointly with local ski clubs and the state tourism department. The state-run Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports is providing technical assistance.

“The Solang slopes have more than three-and-a-half feet of snow,” said Randhir Singh Salhuria, director of mountaineering institute. “In the last two days, at least two feet of snow have been added to the slopes. The snow won’t melt till the end of next month,” he said.

Organising member Amitabh Sharma said teams from the Indian Army’s High-Altitude Warfare School in Gulmarg, Indian Air force and Indo-Tibetan Border Police will participate. Also, clubs from Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and the host state will participate in the championship. After a gap of seven years, the Winter Games Federation of India allowed its Himachal counterpart to hold the National Senior Alpine Skiing Championship at Solang.

The mountaineering institute is conducting skiing courses for professionals and amateurs in Solang. The courses began last month and will continue till the snow melts.

“The Solang slopes offer a challenging run to both beginners and advanced skiers and are of international standards,” said Salhuria.