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The National Skiing Championship in Auli has been cancelled due to low snowfall


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The National Skiing Championship in Auli has been cancelled due to low snowfall

Due to a lack of snow, the National Skiing Championship in Auli, Uttarakhand, has been cancelled by authorities. Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj and The Ski and Snowboard Association have confirmed the news. The event was scheduled for February 23 to 26. Previously, it was to take place on February 2, but officials had to postpone it. Land subsidence in Joshimath, a town located 12 kilometres below Auli, further worsened conditions. Local homes and hotels developed cracks due to the subsidence, impacting both residents and tourism.

Mr Santosh from the Auli Skiing Centre, where the championship was set to take place, told Springtide that temperatures in Uttarakhand have been rising every year. “Global warming is increasing. Previously, they had to cancel three national games and two international events as well due to inadequate snow. It’s not that there is less snow – there isn’t any snow at all!”

However, despite low snowfall, the Championship could have continued as planned through artificial measures. “In 2009-10, the government imported a snow gun machine from Germany so that the South Asian Winter Games of 2011 and the training camps could continue in case it didn’t snow. But there was not much knowledge about the machine, and they set up a second-hand, expired one. The machine has not been able to create snow at all.”

Mr Santosh said they have just one simple question – for how long can they depend upon natural snowfall, given the current state of global warming? “If this situation continues, it is difficult to say if we will ever have national games, state championships or training camps in the future. The heat is going to keep increasing. If the machine doesn’t work, they need to replace it.”

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Moreover, tourism and local incomes have taken a hit too. Auli boasts one of India’s foremost skiing resorts. It welcomes tourists from around the country every year for skiing, snowboarding and trekking. “If there is no snowfall, it affects the economy too. There are so many local people who sell and rent boots, gloves and clothes. How will they make a living?” Mr Santosh said.

Such conditions will force tourism authorities to take measures to create snow artificially more seriously. Athletes who have been training for national and international events will also be discouraged from the sport due competitive opportunities being cancelled. While global warming could take a considerable amount of time to reverse, perhaps snow gun machines will have to be our best bet.

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