This year, the winter carnival promises a slew of attractions for the tourists to make it success. Apart from the traditional folk dances and dramas, the winter carnival offers good feats including snow sports and other competitions for tourists. The organisers will select Winter Queen and Mr. Manali during the carnival, which is also open for tourists. The five-day state level winter carnival -2007 would run at Nehru Park known as Ram Bagh in the heart of Manali between 3-7th January.
To make the carnival a special attraction the district administration has tied up with the Western Himalaya Institute of Mountaineering and Trekking and Allied Sports, Manali to organise winter games.
The SDM, Manali and President Winter Carnival Mr Vinay Thakur says that over 9 different cultural events would feature in the carnival. The Punjabi pop singer Mikka, Star Idol finalist Anuj Sharma and other artistes would give their performances during the cultural nights. â€œOne cultural night would be sponsored by the Doordarshanâ€, he adds.
As the snow remains the prime attraction for tourists during winter season, the winter carnival will feature a slew of snow sports, including skiing competitions for the sub-juniors and juniors at Solang Nallah ski resort about 15 kms from Manali.
Though the ski resort experienced snowfall last week but if the weather god obliges, an extra spell of snow around the New Year would come as a harbinger of more tourists, giving an extra boost to the winter carnival and snow games in Manali.
The panel of judges will choose the Winter Queen during the winter carnival. The competition is open for all including tourists. â€œThe idea is to ensure tourists interaction with local residents to cultivate a good relation and hospitality. After all, Manali is a tourist townâ€, comment tourism officials.
Approximately, 35,000 tourists visit Manali every month during winters and out of total tourist inflow in the valley, about 21,000 tourists enjoy winter sports at Solang Nallah and Rohtang Pass. The special feature of Solang Valley is the variety of ski slopes available from mid December to June apart from skiing in winter. There are eight private ski clubs and about 180 skiers who are conducting commercial skiing for tourists at Solang Nallah and Rohtang Pass. This has also helped them to generate self-employment and income besides promoting winter tourism in the State.
The Mountaineering Institute has provided vital training and support to India’s junior and senior skiing champions. The local skiers trained by the institute have taken part in Winter Asiads and Winter Olympics held in Japan, China, Korea, Iran and France. In order to expand the scope for further development of Winter sports activities, the Mountaineering Institute has also explored other places for snow skiing in Himachal Pradesh like chansil (Rohroo), Soja (Kullu), Dalhousie and Bharmour (Chamba), Sangla (Kinnaur), Jispa (Lahaul & Spiti) and Prashar (Mandi).
The Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Manali is the key promoter to create and develop skiing facilities at Solang and Narkanda. Presently 2 hostels with 100 beds, 2 guest houses, ski lift (two ber) 325 mtr, portable ski lift, snow scooter training equipment, ski competition equipment (ski poles, electronic timer) and one ski workshop is available at Solang (Manali) whereas a hostel with 40 beds, one portable skilift and ski training equipment is available at Narkanda (Shimla) to facilitate adventure sports lovers.
About 15 teams from all over India with more than 200 participants take part in national Championships by the institute. The events covered under these are skiing —– (i) Alpine (a) Slalom-Men & women (b) Giant Slalom – men & women. (ii) X-Country (Nordic) (a) 4×10 km Relay-Men Free Style (b) 10 Km. – men free style, (b) 15 km – men free style. Events conducted under ice-skating are (1) ice hockey for men, (2) Short Trek speed skating for both men and women and (3) Figure skating for both men and women. Besides these games, Heli skiing is also gaining popularity in Manali valley. Apart from conducting All India skiing championships and National Winter Games championships, a number of trials for selection of National Ski teams and coaching camps were also conducted by the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports at Manali.