New Delhi: India has lofty mountains with snow capped peaks offering great ski conditions, but sadly no vibrant skiing culture.
A clutch of Panchayat leaders from Himachal Pradesh, however, could soon give us a new culture after they learn from Mayors of ski towns in Finland how a living is to be made out of skiing.
But ahead of their trip to Kuusamo, Ruka and Levi in Finland next month, the sponsor, the upcoming Himalayan Ski Village in Kullu valley is sending a team of 40 locals to receive advanced ski training from Finland ‘s former Olympic skiing coach Mikko Martikainen.
“They will receive training from Mikko, one of Finland’s former Olympic coaches, for a month and visit different resorts in Finland, which has snow for most part of the year in places above the Arctic circle,” Himalayan Ski Village Managing Director John Sims told PTI from Kullu. The training would continue by sending them to New Zealand in August, he said.
Though India has ski resorts, including those in Gulmarg and Auli, their standards have often been described by tourists as “primitive”, be it equipment or infrastructure.
Alfred Ford-promoted Himalayan Ski Village (HSV) hopes to become the country’s largest fully integrated year-round tourism resort in India, with ski slopes and lifts that will satisfy both beginners and international skiers, with a view to hosting future Winter Olympics.
“Sending the local instructors to Finland represents an expensive and serious commitment to India on our part,” said Sims, adding that “we are committed to engaging locals, unlike others who bring cheap labour from outside the state.”