Keep Active All Year Around with Grass Skiing
Developed in 1966 by Richard Martin in Germany, grass skiing was originally aimed at helping skiers to brush up on their skills before the winter season. The activity soon caught on and developed into a sport in its own right, with grass skiing centers springing up in a number of European countries, as well as Taiwan, China, Japan, Iran, Lebanon and India. In the village of Pajares in northern Spain the last weekend of August each year is marked by the annual Skiing on the Grass race, catering for all age groups and skill levels.
Originally, short skis with rolling treads or wheels used, with the rolling treads working on the same principle as the treads on military tanks. While some skiers may tackle high speeds and jumps, the main objective of the sport is to make their way down grassy slopes, using ski poles in the same manner as they would be used on snow. Modern grass-skis offer two options – wheeled and tracked. The tracked model is designed specifically for descending grassy slopes. Skiers who want some off-piste or freestyle action on varied terrain will use wheeled grass-skis. Helmets and protective padding on the legs and elbows are essential.
With its great snow and steep pistes, Solang Valley in Himachal Pradesh, India, is popular with snow sport enthusiasts. The Atal bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering in Manali, which was established in 1961 to promote adventure sports in this beautiful region, has developed 120-meter-long grassy slope which can be used virtually all year around. In order to encourage people to try grass skiing, the institute has started a seven-day basic training course in the sport. The course will continue to operate until the winter snows set in, when it will be used as a snow skiing destination. When the snow thaws in March, skiers can try their hand at grass skiing. Describing the ski-run as being ‘steep and deep’, director and spokesperson for the institute Randhir Singh Salhuria noted that the first monsoon showers of the summer season will make the slopes even more perfect for grass skiing. Certainly the idyllic setting of the Himalayan range in Himachal Pradesh is reason enough to visit. Add to this the excitement of grass-skiing, hiking and mountaineering, and adventure seekers have plenty of reasons to consider visiting this snow skiing destination.