Sonamarg to host first ever 3-day national winter sports event from Feb 17

Srinagar January 25 (KNS): For the first time ever, tourist resort of Sonamarg is going to host its first ever National level event in Wintersports with 8th National SnowShoe Championship from February 17 to 20.

It will be groundbreaking milestone in the wintersports history of J&K as it will be first time that any National level major Wintersports event would be held in Sonamarg , away from traditional destination like Gulmarg. 
The championship would be hosted by J&K SnowShoe Association with active support from Sonamarg Development Authority of Tourism Kashmir and local stakeholders like Hoteliers. SnowShoe Federation of India which is National governing body of SnowShoe sport in Country has already granted hosting rights for the Sonamarg and the event is going to witness participation of more than 200 athletes and officials from 13 to 17 State/Union Territories of India.      
Traditionally, it is Gulmarg that has been over the years hosting Wintersport events and Sonamarg used to be close during winter months. However, as the Tourist destination has been kept open for the winter season now, various sports association are contemplating on turning Sonamarg into a  next Wintersports destination of J&K.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sonamarg, Development Authority termed it great beginning with the bright future ahead.
“This year we had started to roll up things by first conducting first ever Ice Skating and local level SnowShoe events in Sonamarg. Buoyed with that success we are now all set to host our first ever National level Wintersports event in Sonamarg. It will send a positive message all over Country and World about Sonamarg being next wintersport destination  and in coming years Sonamarg may turn out as one of the premier winter resorts of Country,” CEO SDA said.
“To conduct any level of National sporting event requires support and coordination from one and all. For this event we have got full support from Hoteliers who will be accommodating guest athletes and officials. Also infrastructure wise, SnowShoe doesn’t require mega infrastructure overhaul or development. It requires basic track and few inches of Snow that we already have. In that regard , we expect our first National level Winterport’s turning out as huge success ,” he said.
CEO SDA said that Tourism Department of Kashmir is working on to explore other destination for the promotion of Tourism and this step is one in that direction.
“The idea is to explore all tourist destinations across Kashmir other than the traditional ones for the benefit of local populace and stakeholders. For winter, Gulmarg is world famous ski resort and Kashmir’s winter is almost fully revolving around Gulmarg. Tourism Department has been working on to explore other possibilities and one such destination is Sonamarg that has got the ideal topography to turn into next Wintersport destination. That is going to help a great deal the locals as well as stakeholders who mostly run out of business during winter season. Once the hustle bustle is back in Winter, that will automatically help Tourism sector. We all have to join hands for that and so far our Hoteliers have shown a great enthusiasm,” he said.
SnowShoe Federation of India President Mir Mudassir said that idea behind granting hosting rights is to help destination in promoting winter tourism.
“SnowShoe and Winter tourism go hand in hand. SnowShoe sports discipline is the only wintersports discipline that doesn’t require infrastructure upgrade or any special equipments and machinery. It is the only wintersport discipline that can be held in anywhere, where there is snow. For that reason, SnowShoe is ideal in holding events at the places that are traditionally not known for winter tourism. It is going to help promote those destinations as winter tourism destinations and in current case Sonamarg,” said Mir Mudassir.
“The 8th National SnowShoe Championship 2024 is going to witness participation of more than 200 athletes and officials from 13 to 17 State/Union territories. It is going to be big event with competition held in Senior and Junior categories in both men and women sections. The championship is also going to act as selection event for the International SnowShoe Championship scheduled to be held in Dubai, UAE in August-September 2024,” he added.
The General Secretary J&K SnowShoe Association, Dr Altaf ur Rehman thanked Sonamarg Development Authority and Stakeholders in Sonamarg for all the help without which hosting event wouldn’t be possible.
“We recently held a run in Sonamarg on New Year eve and also held trial run last year there. After sending report to Federation with the assurance of full support from Sonamarg Tourism office and local stakeholders like Hoteliers, the SnowShoe National body granted the hosting rights for Sonamarg. It is historic moment as before this no National level Winterport event has been held in Sonamrg,: Dr Altaf said.
“We are highly thankful to CEO Sonamarg and Sonamarg Hotel Association without whom this wouldn’t have been possible. Now the actual work of preparations has started and we plan to deliver a massive successful event,” he added.(KNS)

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