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Solang Valley skis off as winter sports destination

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As the first Alpine Premeir League skied off in the Solang Valley of Himachal Pradesh, the state government and local ski clubs brace for the expected avalanche of tourists this coming summer

The first edition of Alpine Premier League (APL) held recently in the Solang Valley with over 300 participants opened a new window for positioning it as a hub for winter sports activities. The event was organised by Ski Himalayas Ropeway and Ski Centre with local ski clubs of surrounding Palchan, Kothi, Ruar and Solang villages and supported by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (ABVIMAS), Manali and Himachal Pradesh Tourism. While inaugurating the first edition of APL, Prem Kumar Dhumal, chief minister, Himachal Pradesh assured that the state government will extend all possible help to promote winter games and adventure sports in association with different organisations.

Speaking on the occasion, Dhumal said that priority will be accorded to promote adventure sports in the state, which in turn will bring more national and international tourists. Dhumal had earlier dedicated the ropeway-cum-ski-centre at Solang valley in district Kullu, connecting the ski-slopes at Mount Phatru, which was constructed through private sector by Ski-Himalayas Ropeway in association with the department of tourism and civil aviation, at a cost of `36 crore on BOT basis under PPP mode.

Addressing a huge gathering at the inauguration of APL, he reiterated that another milestone had been added in the tourism development of the state with the start of  APL, which will give a boost to tourism promotion in the world famous Kullu-Manali valley. “This will not only provide opportunity to people to enjoy natural grandeur but also skiing options,” added Dhumal.

He opined that nature has bestowed the state with immense natural potential, which can be leveraged in accordance with ecological safeguards for tourism promotion, as varied climatic and geographical conditions of the state works as an added attraction for tourists visiting the state. However, he highlighted the need for addition of quality tourism infrastructural facilities, which will enable the state to attract more tourists from the world over.

Arun Sharma, chairman, Ski Himalayas Ropeway, thanked the chief minister for inaugurating the event . He added that Adventure Himalayas has been given the opportunity to develop Solang as India’s leading adventure destination. “We are committed to offer a world class product with  the extremely pro-active support of the government of Himachal Pradesh,” said Sharma.

“Indians would have never imagined telling their friends that they have come back from a ski holiday from the Himalayas. Thanks to Adventure Himalayas, this is now a reality at Solang, which in terms of its pristine beauty is India’s answer to Mt.Titlis in Switzerland and Aspen in America,” added Sharma.

Taking it further, Amitabh Sharma, managing director, Adventure Himalayas, said, “Today is a special day for all of us at Ski Himalayas, as a dream has turned into reality. To hold the APL has been one of the key initiatives that was earmarked when launching the Ski Himalayas Ropeway and Ski Centre. This event is going to be an annual event that will attract the best skiers globally in the years to come once this league becomes a part of the international skiing calendar.”

He added that Adventure Himalayas offers all kinds of adventure sports in the country including paragliding with two jump stations, one on a lower and one on a higher level. It also offers mountain biking, which never fails to attract adventure enthusiasts. There is also the option of snowmobiling, which is famously known as sleds around the world. Skiing and snow boarding is another option at Solang, which offers India’s most extensive skiing and snowboarding facilities in a safe, secure and peaceful environment.

Moreover, Adventure Himalayas boasts of 19 gondolas with a seating capacity of eight persons in each. The ropeway is the latest state-of-the-art built by Poma of France similar to the one in Switzerland and France and it covers a distance of 1.3 km having a vertical rise of 500 metres and a top speed of 6 m/s. It is designed to carry 1200 passengers up the mountain in an hour and provides diversity of natural terrain for all standards of skiers and snowboarders. Adventurists can access the best locations for paragliding, skiing, snowboarding, zorbing, mountain biking, ski mobile and other adventure sports.

Amitabh Sharma further shared plans to encourage local communities participation in the mission to make Adventure Himalayas as the hub for adventure activity in India. The company has tied up with most of the local accommodation providers including guest house owners, tourist transport operators, guides and other stakeholders.

The company has also appointed Delhi-based Mukesh Jagga, president, Viva Holidays Tours & Travels to promote the valley. Jagga said, “Adventure Himalayas has huge potential and I am confident that in the next three-five years this place will get substantial number of inbound and domestic tourists.”

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