The highest ski school in the world
Certainly they won’t be the most elegant skiers on Mera Peak, but motivation and enthusiasm will surely not be missing. Six Nepalese mountain guides have set out to ski down the 6476-meter-high “trekking peak” in Nepal in September. They will be accompanied by two ski instructors from Europe, German Julius Seidenader and Austrian Michael Moik. What’s remarkable: The Nepalese have been for the very first time on skis only last February. “I am confident that they will be able to ski down along with us,” says Julius.
These Nepalese mountain guides have already gained their first skiing experience at an “almost six-thousander”. After their three-week ski training near the village Naa at 4,200 meters in Rolwaling in February, they ascended the 5,925-meter-high Ramdung Go with touring skis and skied from the summit to the valley. “They did a good job,” told me Julius, who had mounted the ski course along with some Nepalese friends. “It was certainly a bit of adolescent folly to ski down their first 6000er after only three weeks training. But they managed it without broken bones and all reached the valley unhurt.”
The 24-year-old is one of the founding members of the “Ski and Snowboarding Foundation Nepal”, which has set the goal of teaching young Nepali skiing, snowboarding and ski touring. “I’m not a crazy European who enforces his ideas on Nepali people,” Julius makes clear. “It was a Nepalese idea and it will be implemented there. The guys are totally motivated.” His Nepalese friend Utsav Pathak, who is studying tourism in Kathmandu, had told him his idea, says Seidenader: “We wanted to work with young people and to teach also girls skiing and snowboarding what has happened never before in Nepal.” So last February in Rolwaling, about 30 young Nepali were standing for the very first time on skis, under the guidance of five ski instructors from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, in rather bad snow conditions. “The first ski school in Nepal and the highest in the world,” the initiators of the project cheered. The equipment, 25 pairs of used skis and four snowboards, had been donated.
Nepali people want to work as ski guides
The young people involved in the project dream of opening up a new branch of tourism for Nepal. “We don’t want ski alpinism as we have here in Europe with ski lifts and snow cannons,” says Julius, who comes from Munich and is now studying in Vienna. “We are striving for sustainable tourism and focus on ski touring.” Their long-term goal is to train Nepali people as ski instructors and also to offer skiing skills to local mountain guides. “Nepali people find it cool if they, in the long term, get the opportunity to work as ski guides,” says Seidenader.
There are already trekking agencies who offer ski expeditions in Nepal, for example on Mera Peak. But they are not led by local but by foreign mountain guides with ski experience. There are many options for ski touring in Nepal, for instance in Dolpo in the far west of the country, but there still lacks the necessary infrastructure, says Julius. “We need the ability to sit still and be patient” – and they need money: The “Ski and Snowboarding Foundation Nepal” has launched a crowdfunding for their project on the Internet.
Before Julius will return to Nepal in September, he will make a stopover in Dubai. The head of the local skiing hall contacted him: “He said there were already Nepalese ski instructors: in his skiing hall. And they would like to work in a ski school in Nepal for a few weeks per year. For free!”
Date25. August 2016 | 21:06
TagsExpedition, Julius Seidenader, Mera Peak, Michael Moik, Nepal, Rolwaling, Ski and Snowboarding Foundation Nepal, Ski course, Ski instructor, Ski school, Utsav Pathak