MINGORA: Tourists from across the country flocked to Malam Jabba on Friday to witness a skiing gala at the 9,000-foot-high ski slope, which saw participation from over 30 national and international players.
The three-day skiing gala was jointly organised by the Pakistan Army, district administration and Samson group. The competition included slalom, giant slalom and free downhill races.
Amjad Ali, a ski player who is participating in the competition, told Dawn that he started skiing with wooden ski gears which he made himself but later on he was selected in the KP team and received proper professional gear.
“Presently, I am a professional ski player and participating in various professional level championships. Here, I will try my best to win the competition as being a resident of Malam Jabba, I am confident I will play a good game,” he said.
The players said that skiing was limited to the winter season and they waited for snowfall to play the game. They said that if the local ski players were facilitated they had the talent to play internationally.
Hundreds of tourists have also reached Malam Jabba to enjoy the skiing gala as well as snow in the picturesque valley.
“I did not expect to find such a beautiful place in Pakistan where everything is white with snow. The ski resort and the facilities available here are of international standards. I am surprised to see such skiing here because I always thought skiing was a European sport and is played in Europe and other western countries,” said Abdul Wahab Khan, a tourist from Islamabad.
The tourists said that Malam Jabba was worth a visit, and the government must open the valley for tourism by advertising about it on an international level.
Samar Sabeen, a tourist from Lahore, said that she visited Malam Jabba during the summer season and was excited to see the amazing valley covered in snow.
“I am also happy to know that the organisers of the event have organised a month-long ski training course for locals which is a very positive step for promoting winter sports and tourism in the country,” she told Dawn.
Pir Waris Shah, one of the organisers, said that the skiing event was polishing and promoting the ski talent of the country.
“We are not only facilitating professional players to go skiing here but also providing professional training to children and youth,” he said, adding that by organising the event they wanted to send a message of peace and harmony to the world and invite them to come and see the natural beauty and hospitality of the people. He also invited national tourists to visit Malam Jabba and learn skiing as professional coaches were providing services free of cost.
Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2019