The event that was organized by SSFI in collaboration with Directorate of Tourism, Kashmir saw some of the top athletes of Valley participating in it.
The aim of the event was to introduce SnowShoe sport in Country and for that SSFI chose Gulmarg as the host destination. SnowShoe sport which is popular in European and American Countries is new entrant in India and on Sunday Gulmarg become first Winter Sport destination in Country to host its activity. To hold first ever SnowShoe event in Country SSFI collaborated with Tourism department and also used the equipment provided by the TSL Outdoors that is biggest manufacturers of Snowshoes in Europe. With the availability of limited number of snowshoes, SSFI limited the number of participants this time but has got big plans for the future.
The event was flagged off by Director Tourism, Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah alongwith SSFI President Mir Mudassar, WGFI President Col. Dhillon, Assistant Director Tourism Dr. Ilyas, Olympian Gul Mustafa and SSFI treasurer Mir Nazir.
The young lad of Narbal area of Budgam, Ifshan finished first while as Umer Hamid of Budgam finished second. Umer Farooq of Srinagar finished third while as Yaqoob finished fourth. Nisar of MPed department Kashmir University finished fifth.
Terming the moment as historic, Mahmood Ahmad Shah, said, “We are happy to see Gulmarg becoming first place in entire Country host any SnowShoe sporting activity. It is small step towards a brighter future as this sport and activity has got immense potential”.
“Apart from competitive angle I believe SnowShoe activity can be promoted as a tourism promotional activity. In winter we have got place where snow is everywhere. However, like we see in Gulmarg everyone can’t do skiing but they can do this activity. We will procure snowshoe equipments for our ski shop in Gulmarg this season and will also try to introduce then it in Pahalgam and other places of State,” he said.
While snowshoe racing has probably been around as long as there have been snowshoes, as an organized sport it is relatively new. Currently World SnowShoe Federation is the governing body of the sport. This year two Kashmir based athletes represented Country in the World SnowShoe championship. The team was led by SSFI President, Mir Madassar.
“A snowshoe is footwear for walking over the snow. Snowshoes work by distributing the weight of the person over a larger area so that the person’s foot does not sink completely into the snow, a quality called flotation. From a mere an activity of waling over Snow, it has come long way to become a competitive sport which is highly popular in Europe and America,” Mir said.
“It is start of new era in the winter sport area of the Country. Though the beginning is small but we are aiming high. Today we used only eight pairs of equipment provided to us by TSL Outdoors France. We conducted successful event with limited resources and the success has only encouraged us to aim higher. We will procure more equipment and will introduce this activity in other parts of Country apart from Pahalgam and Sonamarg,” he said.
He said that this year, SSFI will be fielding its strong team on World SnowShoe Championship scheduled to be held in Seranak Lake, USA.
“Apart from World SnowShoe event USA, we will be fielding our teams in various other races in Europe as well,” he added.
Ifshan who finished first said that it was difficult to run using snowshoes but they managed to overcome adversaries.
“Apart from having a soft snow conditions I was using snowshoes first time. It was tough to run but was thing to learn. Next time we will be prepared better for this,” he said.