After those turbulent days, we finally got some time to wrap up the last season of our Ski school in Nepal. The winter started early for us and we were quite busy during the first weeks of December and January in organizing and participating ski trainings and competitions. In sum, we had a fantastic season with plenty of snow, lots of new skiers and incredible trainings and races in various spots like Mustang, Kalinchok and Annapurna Base Camp.
Trainings at Kalinchok
Our instructors based in Charikot and Kuri, Dolakha, were out in the snow on all weekends of December and Janurary to provide training for interested boys and girls. These trainings are really important to get new people on skis and boards. Hence we are really happy to have our volunteer instructors, who are spending their free time to share their passion.
For the next year we are planning to improve our ski lift and fix the lift poles with cement. Hopefully we will have as much snowfall as in the past seasons to teach even more people how to enjoy the wintersports in Nepal.
National Ski & Snowboard Race
The Nepal Ski Association held its national Ski race in Muktinath, Mustang. We also participated with several athletes and this year for the first time with a team from Dolakha!
Our Snowboard instructor Mahan Pandé and Ski instructor Sukdev Thapa decided to stay after the racing and remained in Jharkot and Muktinath. Already in the spectacular winterseason 2019, they explored several slopes and skinned up new peaks in day trips. These sorts of exploratory trips are incredible important to discover the full potential of Nepals ski & splitboard backcountry and to practice the avalanche and route planning skills. Also, we finally managed to get two splitboards to Nepal. Now our riders will be able to ascent easier uphill to shred the Himalaya.
MoU signed with Mountain Academy of Nepal
On the 29th December 2019, our President Utsav Pathak signed a Memorandum of Understanding with representatives of the Mountain Academy of Nepal (MAN). This cooperation with other stakeholders in the tourism industry is very crucial to promote the possibilities of skimountaineering and splitboarding in Nepal. Hence, we are happy to have the as a partner who is doing outstanding work in the field outdoor education and trainings. We are also happy to share an article on the development of ski mountaineering in MAN´s brilliant Journal in the near future. Furthermore, MAN supported us in the preparations of our high altitude training in the Annapurna Sanctuary and their support was well appreciated. In addition our european ski instructors were happy to share expertise and insights on avalanche safety, route planning and avalanche rescue techniques with students of the MAN.
Kuri Ski & Snowboard Challenge 25/26 January 2020
This year, we decided to organize the first Ski& Snowboard competition in Dolakha, since this is where it all began. We had perfect conditions and plenty of high profile guests and a crowd of fans who cheered their friends and athletes. On the downhill ski race Pundarik Pandey recieved a gold medal, Chiring Tamang silver medal and Ramesh Pahrin from Kuri village bronze medal. On our snowboard race Bishal Tamang got gold, Daw Tamang silver and Nabin Tamang bronze medal. We hope to organize this race next year since for us it was a great success with media attention and sponsors involved. This is good to promote Ski & Snowboarding in Nepal.
Ski: 1-Pundarik Pandey, 2-Chhiring Tamang, 3- Ramesh Pakhrin
Snowboard: 1- Bishal Tamang, 2-Dawa Tamang, 3-Nabin Tamang
Annapurna Base Camp Training February 2020
As in the last years, we helt a Ski & Splitboard training in the Annapurna Sanctuary. The lodges are based on 4200m and offer prime backcountry skiing and snowboarding. Since there are gentle slopes for beginners,tons of snow and other various terrains for more advanced skiers, ABC is perfectly suited for us. While we were cautious to head up this year, because an avalanche buried several trekkers 4 weeks before, we evaluated the situation and decided to go. I was really happy to bring my good friend from Humla, Abinash Lama, who I visited last year. If you want to know more about Humla and the West of Nepal, I strongly advise to subscribe to his YT channel.
The snow line started already at around 3000m and the ascent to the Fishtail BC in the hot sun was tough. Nevertheless, we reached our destination and had fruitful days of teaching, exploring and filming in ABC. Hence, it was again an unforgettable time, with dozens of new students who fell in love with skiing. Our instructors provided not only a ski course, but specific workshops on ski waxing, route planning, probing, beacon search and avalanche rescue techniques. In addition, we attempted to ascend in the main north slope of Hiunchuli, however turned around due to much wind slab. Interestingly, there was around 5-10cm new snow every single day. Which allowed perfect skimo conditions and all instructors were happy to explore some new slopes around the BC.
2nd Annapurna Attack SkiMo Race
We also had a revival of our SkiMo Race in ABC. This year we decided for a new route, since last time the race course went inbetween rocks up above the lodges. First the skiers descend around 100m of altitude and about 2km from ABC down to MBC, put on their skinns and race uphill. This new mode was well recieved by the students and we got incredible performances uphill, and downhill.
Nr 1 Gold Medal: Ram Bahadur Gurung
Nr 2 Silver Medal: Sajjan Ghale (Chiring)
Nr 3 Bronze Medal: Abinash Lama
Corona & Outlook for 2020/2021
This year took an unexpected turn for all of us. Due to the virus and the travel restrictions, the economy in Nepal will suffer treamendous consequences. This will also impact the tourism, since tourists in source countries will rethink their plans in an environment of uncertainty. Unfortunately we were also not able to continue our planned ski training in Humla this spring. Nevertheless, we hope to use this predicament to increase our training opportunities, since many mountain and trekking guides will be free for trainings in September and possibly the whole winter. Therefore we are currently assessing the possibility to conduct another training in Gulmarg, India and a glacier training on Mera Peak for our guides. This would enable us to teach and learn in a period of crisis and make the absolute best out of it. In addition, we would like to bring more Nepali crowds to Kalinchok this December and promote domestic tourism as much as we can. If you are interested to get involved as an avalanche, ski or snowboard instructor or willing to donate equipment or cash, please let us know via: firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you have a nice summer and meanwhile stay safe!