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Countdown begins for first ever Wintersport National event in Sonamarg;T-Shirts for SnowShoe Championship unveiled

Srinagar: The countdown for the first ever Wintersport to be hosted by tourist resort of Sonamarg has started with the unveiling of event dedicated T-Shirts for the 8th National SnowShoe Championship 2024 at Sonamarg on Wednesday.
The unveiling ceremony was attended by Chief Executive Officer Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA) Farooq Ahmad Baba, Hoteilers Association Sonamarg office bearers, and J&K SnowShoe Association General Secretary Dr Altaf ur Rehman, senior member Gulzar Khan and other officials of SDA.
The first ever national level wintersport in Sonamarg, 8th National SnowShoe Championship is scheduled to be held 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 in collaboration with Department of Tourism Kashmir with the full support from local stakeholders like Hoteliers Association of Sonamarg.
The event is going to witness participation of around 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 sued 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 SDA, termed it great beginning with the bright future ahead.
“The preparations are held underway and with this unveiling the final countdown has started. The teams will be arriving in Kashmir on Febuary 17 while as competitions would be held on Febuary 18 and 19,” CEO SDA Farooq Ahmad Baba said.
“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 Winterspiorts 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,” he 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 need 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.
“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 ideal 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 Alta fur Rehman thanked Sonamarg Development Authority and Hoteiliers Association Sonamarg for all the help without which hosting event wouldn’t be possible.
“Today we were here to unveil the customised T-Shirts for the event and also to review final arrangments. The response and support from both Tourism department and Hoteliers Association Sonamarg has been great. Even the local stakeholders like guides, skido association etc are excited about the event,” Dr Altaf said.


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