The newly introduced tourism specific sports activity that was introduced in Kashmir last season was flagged off by MLA Tangmarg, Mohammad Abbas Wani along with Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood Ahmad Shah. Among others present on the occasion were Assistant Director Tourism, Dr Alyas Nasir, General Manager J&K Cable Car Corporation Reyaz Malik, International cyclist Alkber khan, International SnowShoe athlete Tanveer Hussain and former national level athlete Gulzar Khan. Last year’s winner of the event, Ifshan Ahmad of Narbal emerged winner in the event again.
Throwing light on the activity, Director Tourism, Kashmir Mahmood Ahmad Shah said, “ Snowshoe is relatively new activity in our part of the World. It is quite popular in Europe and USA both as recreational tourism as well as professional sports activity. Today we joined hands with SnowShoe Federation of India (SSFI) to organize a event at Gulmarg and we are delighted with the response”.
“We have big plans in store for the Snowshoeing and for that we will be procuring Snowshoes shortly. Currently SSFI has only eight pairs of racing snowshoes but we will be acquiring general snowshoes for the general tourism activity that can be used in sporting as well. It is the actuivity that can be done by any one and doesn’t require special skill. You just need few inches of snow and pair of snowshoes to do this. We can do it any part of the State, be it Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Yusmarg or even Patnitop,” he added.
International Snowshoe athlete Tanveer Hussain said that SSFI aims to popularize Snowshoe activity like it is in Europe and USA.
“In those Countries every household has got Snowshoes. It is normal thing to have snowshoes there and that is our aim here. It is easy activity and can be done by anyone. Unlike Skiing, snowboarding, one doesn’t require special skills for it and it doesn’t cost much. You can come to Gulmarg, Pahalgam or another snowy area with pair of Snowshoes and explore any part of the area by wearing Snowshoes,” Tanveer said.
About the sporting part, he said, “It is professional sporting activity as well and competitions at World level are being conducted in sprint as well as long distance events. Last year me and Umer Nabi represented India in Italy World championship and this time World Championship is scheduled to be held in Saranac lake, New York City, USA. In India and particularly in Kashmir this sport has got bright future as we have got perfect setting for hosting these events”.
SSFI is planning to conduct similar type of activity in Pahalgam shortly in order to make this sport popular in Kashmir. For its continued support SSFI has thanked Tourism department.