State loses out to U’khand, JK in hosting winter games

Jaswinder Singh Baidwan

Akhran da mureed
Staff member
Himachal Pradesh has lost out on hosting the national Winter Games for the fifth time in a row as the Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) has received no bid for the games from the state. The state government has cited its “empty coffers and failure to set up ski resorts of Solang Nala and Narkanda as the reasons.
Junior national championships will be held at Auli ski resort in Uttarakhandfrom February 10 to 15, while Gulmarg ski resort in J-K will host the winter games for seniors from February 1 to 4, said Roshan Thakur, secretary general, Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI).
Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir have emerged as country’s top promoters of snowsports in the country. Himachal has lagged behind in establishing facilities for skiing despite the fact that skiers from Himachal have excelled at the national and international events over the years.
Significantly, the WGFI headquarters is located in Manali. The state bureaucracy has always cited lack of funds as a deterrent to host the games in the state, resented skiers Ludra Singh Thakur and Varsha Thakur, who have participated in several international events.
“We received no bids for the national Winter Games from Himachal”, said Thakur. “Himachal needs to spend Rs 20 lakh to Rs 30 lakh to host the games, but state government always harps on the fund crunch”, he rued.
Auli has developed ski slopes. It has put in place proper ski ropeway and snow-beating machines. Similar is the case with Gulmarg. However, Himachal lacks snow beating machines, they said.
The winter games promote adventure sports among youngsters and bring in tourists even in lean winter months. But it is a pity that none of our ski resorts have proper facilities, said RS Negi, president, HP Winter Games Association.
The Himachal government has shown no “political will” to host the games since 2010, the last when the national Winter Games were held at Solang Nalla, rued skiers and officials of the winter games associations.
Former Chief Minister PK Dhumal had in 2010 announced that a snow beating machine would be arranged at Solang by a private ropeway operator. However, it remained a hollow announcement even after five years, rued the skiers.
The officials of the state youth services and sports department said they could not bid for national winter games as they lacked funds and facilities in the state. “We need snow beating machine, which costs Rs 3 crore”, they added.