Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have ordered closure of all winter sports activities in the famous ski resort of Gulmarg due to "insufficient snow depth" caused by melting of snow due to higher than normal temperature.
"Keeping in view the insufficient snow depth and changing weather conditions, the winter sports activities viz skiing, snowboarding etc inside the marked boundary and back country area of the slopes of Mount Apharwat are hereby officially closed with effect from 31.03.2022," an order issued by Assistant Director Tourism Gulmarg, Javid-ur-Rehman said.
The snow has melted faster than usual in Kashmir this year due to unusually high temperature. While Srinagar city is witnessing a spike of 10 degrees in temperature for this time of the year, Gulmarg has recorded temperatures six to seven degrees above normal. The tourism authorities said no ski patrol will be available from Thursday and cautioned all tourists including foreigners not to venture in higher areas for skiing.
"Any skier (foreigner/domestic/local) skiing in the above mentioned area shall be skiing on his/her sole responsibility and no department shall be held responsible for any kind of injury or loss of life," the order added. Kashmir is witnessing huge influx of tourists from across the country and Gulmarg, which usually remains covered by snow till mid-to-late April, is one of top attractions for the visitors.
According to officials, the valley has witnessed highest winter footfall this year as nearly 4.5 lakh tourists visited Kashmir from November 2021 to February 2022.