Losing out on snowfall as a part of weather shift, the hill state of Himachal will still offer adventure to the tourists, if not snow skiing.
The catch is grass skiing. Being introduced after monsoons this year by state youth services and sports department at Solang nullah, 13 kilometers north of famous tourist destination Manali.
Grass skiing began in Europe in 60s.
Himachal Pradesh will be the first state to have it. The state is otherwise known for its snow skiing slopes.
However, with lesser snowfall over the years, some prominent skiing slopes in the state, including those in Kufri (15 kilometers North of Shimla, have gone missing.
This made the department look for different opportunities for adventure tourism in the state.
"We have identified suitable slopes in Solang nullah. We will have thick green grass variety planted on this 250 ft long and 30 ft. wide patch at ripe time to start the sport hopefully by July-August this year," Deputy Director, Mountaineering Institute, Mahavir Thakur told HT.
Thakur had been a chief skiing instructor at the institute earlier.
He said the process for purchase of 50 pairs of skis is already on through tenders. The grass skis are not available in India and will have to be imported from Europe.
Grass skiing needs gradual slopes ending into a plain ground. The period between July to November is considered the best for this sport, when quality green grass is there.
But, it can re-start in summers by facilitating proper grass cover through continued irrigation, that the department may propose later with resource mobilization, sources said.
Grass skis have a plastic base. A pair of grass skis, referred to as track skis, and costs around Rs. 30,000.
According to Thakur grass skiing in generally done at middle heights ( above 5000 feet) and the boots required for skiing on grass are the ones used for snow skiing.
``It will be a additional attraction for the tourists and those interested in adventure sports in Himachal, when snow is not there.
"The whole thing will have to start with the training as its new to even skiing instructors in the state,'' said Principal Secretary, youth services and sports, VC Pharka.
The department proposes to the hire foreign trainers for the purpose.
This is not all. The youth services and sports department is also working out to have artificial rock climbing facility in Solang nullah shortly. It would be a kind of wall climbing.