International Heli-ski competition begins at Gulmarg

Srinagar:A three-day long international Heli-ski competition, a first of its kind event in Jammu and Kashmir, has begun at the world famous ski-resort of Gulmarg.

Around 200 skiers from across the country and outside have turned up to participate in the event that began on Thursday.

"There are participants from the state and other parts of the country as well as the US, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada. It includes some of the top international skiers," officials said here.

The competition has been organised by Kashmir Heli-Ski Club and sponsored by Airbus Helicopters.

The skiers were taken across to Afarwat peak (13,500 ft) in helicopters and dropped to manoeuvre through to reach the bottom of the slopes.

Thirty skiers qualified for the semifinals in the first round held on Thursday.

The officials said Heli-Ski is a challenging sport which has usually been pursued in international venues.

"The state government is making concerted efforts to promote Gulmarg as a key destination and possibly to qualify among the top ten skiing destinations in the world," the official said.