On February 27, 2021 the Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered the inaugural address at the 2nd edition of Khelo India National Winter Games-2021 through virtual mode.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju also addressed the huge gathering during the inaugural ceremony of the mega event at world famous winter sports destination – Gulmarg.
From February 26 to March 02, 2021, more than 600 athletes from all over the country participated in different winter-sports disciplines including Alpine Skiing, Nordic Ski, Snowboarding, Snow Mountaineering, Ice Hockey, Ice Skating, Ice Stock and Snow Shoe.
Gulmarg has been acknowledged as a promising winter-sports destination in the international circuit.
There is no doubt that central government is keen and has already taken several measures for the development of the sports sector in J&K but Gulmarag is craving for its due share of the state-of-the-art sports infrastructure, world class coaching and modern resources for promotion of sports especially skiing for which it is known throughout the world.
But since 2021, there seems to be no significant change on the ground in Gulmarag in terms of augmentation of its sports infrstruture. One of the most common problems the skiers face in Gulmarag is the absence of surface lifts. The surface lifts can be operated in harsh weather and strong wind conditions. They require very low maintenance compared to aerial lifts.
Apart from that, T-Bar Ski Lifts help to access great terrain without worrying about the wind. Unlike gondolas or chairlifts, the T-Bar ski lifts keep the skier on the ground and are less sensitive to high winds. Since, T-Bars aren’t influenced by high winds, it is used for slopes with high elevations.
But the absence of these surface lifts in Gulmarag is giving a tough time to the skiers, especially the students who visit this famous ski resort for crash courses sponsored by the youth service and sports department.
These fresh ski learners most get de-motivated by lack of lifts when they are supposed to tread the high slopes for getting acquainted with the basics of the skiing.
The ironic part is that some thirty years ago there were at least four to five surface lifts available as compared to the year 2023 when there is only bar lift available for the skiers in Gulmarag. The tourism department should ponder over this serious issue and try to resolve it as soon as possible.