Skiing on the Roof of the World

I can’t be the only one who’s a little surprised that skiing in the Himalayas isn’t already a thing. I mean, if you’re looking for snow sure slopes, you’re not likely to find any more snow sure than those. Nevertheless, they’ve never been added to the list of destinations to hit the hill. With locals getting increasingly into the sport though, that looks like it’s about to change…

With some of the most daunting mountains in the world, the Himalayas have attracted climbers in search of the ultimate adventure since the first ascent of Everest in 1953. In all that time though, the mountain range has seen very few skiers or snowboarders attempt to join the party. In fact, it took until 1970 for someone to ski Everest.

A lot of that is down to the lack of local knowledge or interest in skiing as a sport. After all, skiing has existed in Europe for almost as long as we can remember; that’s not the case in Nepal. In 2016, the Ski and Snowboard Foundation Nepal was set up to bring skiing and snowboarding to the Nepali Himalayas in a safe, ethical and environmentally sustainable way.

We’re not saying that tourists are going to be able to hit the Himalayas in the same way that you’d ski the Alps; mountaineering is an integral part of tourism in Nepal, and it’s doubtful that the Himalayas are ever going to be the fashionable location of choice among social skiers.

No, the plan is to use existing infrastructure as much as possible, with the exclusive Heli-skiing operations covering the high-end experience. This isn’t going to be the sort of thing you do if you prefer après ski to actual ski; skiing in Nepal, much like climbing in Nepal, will involve really earning your turns.

The new foundation will mean more locals than ever will be able to enjoy snow sports on one of the most incredible mountain ranges in the world. For the rest of us, skiing on the Roof of the World will probably have to wait.

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