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Published on : Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The Jammu and Kashmir government plan to purchase and deploy snow-making machines in Kashmir’s famed ski resort of Gulmarg, have come in for heavy criticism from some nature experts. Experts fear this move may “Boomerang” and it could be counter-productive as it is unsuitable for a place like Gulmarg.
The J&K Govt. is of the opinion that “Fed by huge reservoirs located at high altitudes, the machines can produce snow by forcing water and pressured air through cannons. They are used in Europe to supplement natural snow when it’s deficient and to extend ski seasons. Indoors, where the temperature can be controlled, the machines can create snow and there are such indoor ski slopes in parts of west Asia.”
“We have started the process and are in touch with manufacturers. We are yet to choose one,” said Director Tourism Kashmir, Talat Parvez. “Initially, we will not require more than half a dozen machines.”
Tourism Minister GA Mir’s objective for getting these machines is to extend the ski season as he expects these machines will help in generating more revenue. But Mir facing serious opposition from experts and skiers saying use of snow guns will mark the end of ski resort.
A tourism expert who does not want to be named said.”It is expensive and requires a lot of energy but that is the only thing why it should be opposed.”
“It is required at places like Alps in Europe where the snowfall gradually reduces to an extent that they need to put on these machines around Christmas to make money because 8% people ski.”
“Use of snow guns would play havoc with both – the natural tracks and the quality of snow,” he said. “No international skier who spends around Rs 20,000 a day will ever like to be pushed to a slope that is laced with artificial ice.”
Gulmarg is renowned for its powder snow and it has one of world’s longest ski runs which is as long as 18 km. In a season ending early March, Gulmarg is visited by around 2,500 foreign skiers and nearly 4,000 domestic ski lovers. The main attraction of Gulmarg is its pristine natural beauty.