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

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.

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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The first Ski lift in Nepal – Backyard engineering 2.0

IMG_1423The first time I visited Kalinchok in Dolakha was in 2011. As a “backpacker”, I ran into a group of youngsters who began to study tourism at the Nepal Academy for Tourism and Hotel Management (NATHM). The idea to open a skischool in Nepal was only put in concrete terms when Utsav Pathak, one of the students, suggested in 2015 to start a ski project in Nepal. Subsequently we decided to collect used Skitour gear and Snowboards through friends and family in Germany and Austria. In a next step, several friends joined me to teach a group of 15 students and mountain guides how to ski and shred in Rolwaling Valley in Dolakha. It was my second time in Dolakha and once more, after the trip to the high mountains, we trekked up to Kalinchok to scout the area for possible ski slopes.

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Utsav and his friends returned dozens of times to their local mountain to Ski and suggested to me to look into building a Ski lift. It took several months until Florian Trittler, a fellow ski instructor from Germany who also skied in Nepal with me, and my Nepali friends continued to look into the matter. Florian also works in a cable car company in Austria as an engineer and together we drafted the first protype on paper. Our approach of German engineering, mixed with a Nepali cost-benefit analysis, eventually ended in a rope tow system, powered by a gasoline engine.27018429_1955470457854692_366574133_o

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We did not want to errect a permanent structure to keep the footprint light, since Kalinchok is not only part of a conservation area, but also an important religious shrine. Therefore, the poles and bottom- and top station are held in place by metal poles. In addition, electricity in Nepal is scarce, hence we decided to opt for a combustion engine for the first prototype. After looking at backyard rope tows on youtube and historical ski lifts from the alps, we wanted to keep it simple and as cheap as possible.

When I begann to search for reduction gear boxes on Kathmandu markets, I realized it will be a long journey to design and built the lift completly by ourselves. Hence, we approached Guna Raj Dakhal, one of the leading cable car engineers in Nepal, who instantly was interested in pioneering the first ski lift in Nepal. Guna is one of the engineers who is part of the recent boom of cable cars in the country. In contrast to European or American cable cars, the infrastructure is commonly used to transport pilgrims (and goats) to religious shrines. The business model remains similiar. After four to five years, the cable car is paid off. This led to the errection of Manakamana, Chandragiri, Kalinchok and finally a new project in Sarangkot.

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Our vision however is different. We only realized that promoting skiing to beginners is not so easy without a ski lift. Although it worked for the first generation of Skiers in Nepal, it is incredbly exhausting to skin up with skis and to focus again while going down. At least for the very beginners. Therefore, we decided that a rope tow lift, up to 80m is sufficient to introduce beginners to the sport while limiting the environmental footprint to a minimum extent. We still believe in a Skitour & Splitboard tourism in Nepal that can attract foreigners while we establish a Ski culture for Nepalis.

How does it work? This season we faced some temperature issues with the carburator. Also the large iron rebars that we used to fix the system loosend in the soil. We are looking forward to operate again next January and February with some technical improvements. The interest of the locals and Kathmandu tourists was definitely high! Overall at least 250 youngsters came out to Ski with us, hence its a major success to bring more people on the slopes! Ski on! #skisnowboardnepal

Here is the first 100% Nepali Ski Movie filmed and edited by Rupak Tandukar

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Inauguration ceremony with high level guests. Jevan Ram Shrestra President of the Olympic Committee, Vice-Mayor of Charikot, District Chief of Police Dolakha

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Two poles are needed to increase the rope tension. An old rice bag serves as counter weight.

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A reduction gear and a car transmission provide the necessary low speed while permitting enough torque to pull up to 10 persons at the same time

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