Your dreams of skiing in Kalinchowk are right at your fingertips with Ski and Snowboarding Foundation Nepal
Home to some of the world’s most iconic peaks, Nepal is a country blessed with many magnificent mountains. Yet skiing and snowboarding are an unexplored side of the Himalayas in Nepal. Only in recent years has there been any development in this uncharted territory. Even though there are not many marked ski runs or paths down a mountain for snow skiing, snowboarding, or other mountain sports, the mountains of Nepal can offer another type of adventure. Enter off-piste skiing and snowboarding. One of the most rewarding but risky ways to enjoy the snow and the mountains that we are so lucky to have in abundance here in Nepal.
This season around 100 skiers from Nepal and a few foreigners have skied or snowboarded in Kalinchowk with Ski and Snowboarding Foundation Nepal (NFSS). Every year, more enthusiasts and curious adventurers come for this dream of an experience.
NFSS makes it a point to always start the season skiing in Kalinchowk in January with the first snowfalls. Then depending on the amount of snow, you have about several weeks to enjoy. According to the forecast, more snowfall has been expected for 20 January, which is when NFSS hopes to conduct the ‘Kuri Ski Challenge 2022’. It is a ski and snowboard race for competitors from all over Nepal. The season in Kalinchowk usually lasts until the end of February or the beginning of March when it gets too warm.
All you need to know about ski sessions with NFSS
NFSS’ goal is to develop a ski culture and are successfully on a path to achieve this. They welcome beginners, advanced, and even experts with tailor-made courses. They can help you organize individual trips from Kathmandu to their ski slopes in Kuri, Kalinchowk, Dolakha. Upon request, they can even arrange for comfortable stays for you in the quiet hamlet of Kuri. If not, one can always just enroll in their courses or even just rent their gear.
The core team consists of about 20 Nepali youths who have been skiing and snowboarding since 2016. Usually, the trainers are already prepared to begin the courses with the necessary gear. Depending on the group size and the level of students, groups are divided into courses. They have ski and snowboard boots in a variety of sizes that are professionally maintained. For the trips to Annapurna Base Camp, they usually move in a larger group and take refuge in the sleepy lodges and quaint tea houses. While you train in perfect conditions, the lodges in Annapurna Base Camp will take care of your needs.
No holds barred
Their courses are tailor-made and they facilitate courses for beginners on ski and snowboards. In addition, they provide advanced courses in Annapurna Base Camp where there are better snow conditions and a wide variety of slopes for beginners, advanced and experts. As the biggest ski and snowboard rental in Nepal they also rent out gear for people of all ages and domestic and international skiers.
How it all began
In 2016, the Ski and Snowboarding Foundation Nepal was founded to develop a ski culture in Nepal. In February 2016, NFSS held its first ‘Ski for Nepal’ event on 15-degree slopes in Na village, in Rolwaling, near the Tibetan border. On January 25, 2018, NFSS held its first ski festival in Kalinchowk.
Having organized events such as Ski for Nepal I Gaurishankar Conservation Area Project (GCAP), 1st Nepalese Ski Expedition in Mera Peak, Kalinchowk Ski training, Dolakha, Ski for Nepal II, Annapurna Base Camp, High Altitude Avalanche Rescue And Ski-Mountaineering Training Khang-La, Manang, NFSS has chosen their trail and are undeterred by the challenges. Starting with one small slope and having installed the first ski lift in the country in Kuri, Kalinchowk, they also plan to build a proper ski resort there.
In 2019, they expanded their NGO to Humla where they taught women, men, and trekking guides. They have also organized advanced courses in India where instructors obtained new skills and certifications on teaching and instructing winter sports and avalanche safety skills.
Currently, they’re planning ski training for advanced skiers in Gulmarg, India for February 2022. One of their instructors, Abinash Lama, is also training fellow skiers in Simikot, Humla. In addition to their training in 2017 and 2018, their 2020 training in Annapurna Base Camp was also fruitful.
The establishment made its mark in Muktinath, Mustang area in 2020 where Ski championships were held, too. Incredibly, Mera Peak has also been one of their training locations for advanced learners. It is well suited for skiing in September-October after the monsoon since it receives a lot of snowfall during the rainy season. NFSS mentions how Putha Hiunchuli in the Dolpo region also attracted dozens of foreigners for ski expeditions.
The Pandemic and Skiing
During the lockdown restrictions last season, the ski and snowboard community went through trying times since it was not easy to travel between districts. Domestic and international businesses were hit hard.
“We were not able to facilitate any training in Annapurna Base Camp or India due to the ongoing and changing restrictions. Moreover, since international tourism had come to a standstill, we were not able to attract many foreigners for ski expeditions or trips to Nepal. We hope that the measures will be fruitful, and we will soon be able to expand our business and the growing ski community in Nepal”, says Julius from NFSS.
Get in touch
Interested folks can connect easily via email or visit their office in Kathmandu. Stay updated with recent snow updates on their social media channels or just give them a call.
Ski Guides Nepal Treks & Expedition (P).Ltd
4490319, 9851184975 (Suraj Kafle), 9841496323 (Utsav Pathak)
Text by: Rebecca Shrestha
Photos: NFSS/Nikesh Shrestha