Summer skiing on unmaintained slopes of Rohtang pass is a new crowd puller, with thousands of tourists enjoying short term ski courses with the help of local instructors who have been booked in advance for the season.
Hundreds of winter games enthusiasts, mostly students and youths, from plain areas are thronging here to learn the basics of skiing every day. Of the total 25 lakh tourists who visit Manali annually, about 20 percent tourists of all age group enjoy amateur skiing for some hours but a large part of tourists are opting for ski courses for days. Besides the various courses offered by Atal Bihari Vajpayee institute of mountaineering and applied sports, dozens of local ski instructors are earning good by teaching ski to the tourists.
A group of 17 persons, including 6 girls, from Reliance chemicals Mumbai, are undergoing 5 day-long skiing course below Rohtang pass. A learner Abhishek Samantray, who is confident of learning full skiing strategies till the end of the course, said, “It is unmatched feeling to ski under blue sky when day temperature is close to 20 and we are surrounded by snow mountains. I’m however a good skater but skiing has different techniques.” For Sahaj Mishra, skiing on wild mountains is amazing moment as she had witnessed this game only in sports TV channels. “We work together and were looking for a break. We had spent last summer camping in Uttarakhand and this time we chose skiing in Manali and we love it very much.”
Newbies are being charged Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,500 for a day including instructor and skiing instruments. Youths of the region, including national and international level skiers, are earning good money by sharing their talent with the learners. As the skiers are needed to be taken close to Rohtang pass every day, ski lovers are asking only for short term courses.
“We have enough snow around the Rohtang pass and beginners and professionals can enjoy skiing till the end of the June here,” an instructor Enam Thakur said. He added that more than hundred ski instructors of the area are earning their livelihood by teaching skiing to the tourists and learners. He adds, “Many tourists are now showing interest in week-long ski courses. Camping along with skiing is a new trend here.”