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Crowdfunding 2020

Hi all Ski, Snowboard & Nepal enthusiasts! This time we need something from you. Due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, our financing model collapsed. Fortunately, Sofie Lenarts, the first Belgian female seven summitteer, and Seppe Smits, Belgian Snowboarder and World Champion Medalist, set up a crowdfunding for us.

Your contributions will go directly to Nepal to support our grassroots work. We will maintain our office in Kathmandu, distribute more skitour gear around Nepal and organize trainings, competitions and explorations of new skitour/splitboard regions. Transparency is everything and we will let you know in detail, what we paid with your contributions. Moreover, you will recieve merchanidise suchs as T-shirts with our logo to share our story and spread the word. Check out the crowdfunding and support us today:

https://www.kisskissbankbank.com/en/projects/support-ski-snowboard-foundation-nepal/tabs/backers

Season 2020 Wrap up, Kalinchok, Mustang & Annapurna Training

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!

Exploring Mustang

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.

Abinash´s Vlog:

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: nfssnepal@gmail.com

We hope you have a nice summer and meanwhile stay safe!

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1st snow of the year & Plan for the season

The first western disturbance arrived in Nepal last week and brought heavy snow showers throughout the country. Here are some impressions from our first lines on Kalinchok. Utsav Pathak and Sukdev Thapa already ventured out to the village of Kuri to inspect the ski lift and the amount of snow that has fallen. Infact it is quite an early snowfall in the season and we expect the snow will disappear within the next week. Nevertheless, it is a perfect start in the new season an we are happy to announce several ski & snowboard events in Nepal.

In January 2020 we will join the Mountain Academy of Nepal (MAN) on a Ski expedition to Mustang. We want to attempt  to skin up to Bhrikuti Shail (6361m) which is covered by a wide system of glaciers in upper Mustang. Since the glaciers are not too steep and only have few crevasses in winter, it is technically relatively easy. We are looking forward to be back skiing Nepals glaciers to demonstrate the potential for SkiMo tourism in Nepal together with MAN as an official project of the #VisitNepal2020 campaign.

Brikhuti Shail 6361m and glaciers in Mustang

For February 2020 we will organize another major event in Annapurna Base Camp 4150m in Kaski, Nepal. During a 13 day event we will provide European Ski instructors and teach 35 Nepal students how to ski and snowboard. This event will also be organized in cooperation with MAN and the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB). The training consists of a beginner ski course (Level 1), an advanced ski course (Level 2) and snowboard courses. Furthermore, we will conduct a theoretical and practical avalanche course to teach locals, mountain guides and Skiers about the risks and assassement of avalanches.

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In March 2020 we hope to be back in Humla to continue our ski training with locals, students and trekking guides. March is the perfect time to find big amounts of poweder snow in western Nepal. Therefore we are planning to fly to Simikot with European instructors to conduct beginner courses in skiing and conduct skitours to various passes and peaks.

Finally, we want to send a group of our Nepali ski instructor aspirants to Gulmarg for an intensive 14 day training course. The goal is to go really indepth and focus on how to teach skiing to others. We can greatly benefit from the amount of snow in Gulmarg and the vast ski lift infrastructure in India. After the training, a licensed ski instructor will examine the aspirants and if successful, award the international instructor certificate. From thereon, its just downhill. Nepalis will go skiing.

Ski for Nepal 3 – Annapurna Winter Festival

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Finally we are launching the next Ski training in Annapurna Base Camp. This year we will cooperate with the Mountain Academy of Nepal, an institute affiliated with the Ministry of Tourism in Nepal. The training will take place from the 10th until 23rd February and we will provide gear and ski instructors from Europe. As in the last years we will conduct a beginner Ski course, an advanced course and a Snowboard course. Furthermore, we will teach all students about avalanche awareness, rescue techniques and conduct practical trainings on how to find avalanche victims. After the training we will also organize a Ski, Snowboard and Skimountaineering race.

The advantage of Annapurna Base Camp as our location for this festival are manifold. First of all, there is plenty of snow. Especially for advanced skiers it is important to Ski various kinds of terrain and different snow types to progress. In February and March there can be up to 2 meters of snow in the Annapurna Sanctuary which is ideal for Ski mountaineering and splitboarding. Especially last year, there was so much snow, that the lodges at ABC had to close and some of the roofs collapsed due to the weight of the snow.

Second of all, the terrain in ABC provides different kinds of slopes. First of all, there are gentle slopes for beginners. Furthermore, there are slopes with more incline for advanced and professional skiers. Infact, the slopes are part of the north face of Hiunchuli 6441m. Due to the northern exposition, snow remains cold and hence fresh powder. You can ascend with climbing skins from ABC at 4200m up to 5200m and enjoy almost 1000m of descend.

Finally, the lodges in ABC provide great comfort to all students and instructors. After a long ski day it is better to enjoy a warm dinner in the heated dining room then to sleep in tents. Also the costs are significantly lower then in tents due to the gas, kitchen gear, food etc.

We hope to find about five to six instructors and about 30 Nepali students. Also we are planning to subsidize all Nepali students to keep the costs as low as possible. Currently we are still negotiating with the Mountain Academy, MoT and the VisitNepal2020 campaign office about a budget and are looking for private sponsors.

We will also soon upload a registration sheet for all the participants to faciliate insurance, ski gear and other equipment. Looking forward to ski with you in ABC! #skisnowboardnepal

Preliminary schedule:

1 Drive from Kathmandu to Ghandruk with the team and gears. Overnight at Ghandruk.
2 Inauguration Day at Ghandruk.
3 Trekking to ABC (Overnight at Sinuwa/Bamboo)
4 Trekking to ABC (Overnight at Himalaya/Deurali)
5 Trekking to ABC (Overnight at MBC/ABC)
6-9 Annapurna Winter Festival and basic training for trainee/locals/students/guide
10 1st National Ski/Snowboard Championship and Annapurna Winter Festival closing day.
11-13 Trekking to Siwai,Ghandruk
14 Drive back to Kathmandu

Impressions from 2017

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Cooperation with Vacation with a Cause

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The Foundation is happy to announce its cooperation with the Austrian company “Vacation with a cause”. Lisl Leitn, the founder joined us already in 2017 and was part of a group of european Ski instructors in Annapurna Base Camp.

We decided to team up, since the Foundation faced drastic financial problems in the last years. Funding a ski school in Nepal is quite a challenging task. Although we rely on volunteers and sponsors, it is difficult to organize trainings without any cash. While our sponsors such as Mammut, Contour Skins and Dynafit did provide us with vital gear such as avalanche tranceivers and Skitour skins these donations consist of gear, but not cash.

Therefore, we decided to initiate a social sustainable business model and reach out to travel agencies for cooperations. This step was important to provide job opportunities for our ski and snowboard guides and to promote skiing in Nepal to a global audience. Furthermore, our cooperation consists of combining ski tourism to Nepal with trainings for locals, guides and kids.

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We could not have found a better partner than “Vacation with a cause” since their business model does exactly do that. Lisa´s company offers Kite surf and surf trips to Brazil and cooperates with local surf schools close to Fortalezza. Her clients are looking not only for epic waves and beautiful beaches but also want to give back something to the surf community. Hence, the clients spend half of their vacation sharing their passion with local kids and enjoy themselves for the rest of the trip. They also provide English classes to the kids that will eventually significantly benefit their education in the long run.

Now its time to adopt the same approach in Nepal. Therefore we sat down with Lisa and planned for the winter season 2020 and drafted two fixed departures for interested SkiMo and Splitboard enthusiasts. The first group will trek to the Annapurna Base Camp and join us for Skitours in the mornings and subsequently teach locals in the afternoon. The second group will fly to Nepal in March and explore the hidden powder slopes of Humla, while continuing our ski training in Simikot and Hepka Valley.

Sounds interesting? If you want to be part of the first Ski school in Nepal and enjoy Himalayan Powder please contact Lisa. She will provide all details, costs and a concise itinerary:  info@vacations-with-a-cause.com

https://vacations-with-a-cause.com/en

Dates:

Annapurna Base Camp 14 Days: 25.02-09.03.2020

Humla 15 Days: 11.03-27.03.2020

Some impressions from our previous trainings:

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