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Winter sports in Pakistan


Mar 21, 2007
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Winter Sports Gaining Popularity in Pakistan​


Winter Sports Federation and Pakistan Air Force collaborate to organize winter sports events.

Pakistan Air Force (PAF) formally pioneered skiing in the country by introducing this sport as part of the snow survival training for its aircrew. Slowly and gradually, the sport gained popularity with PAF promoting winter sports under its patronage. Consequently, in December 1990 the formation of Ski Federation of Pakistan (now renamed as Winter Sports Federation of Pakistan) was the first modest step by PAF towards promotion of skiing in the country. It also offered this facility to government departments, sister services, civilians and students at its Ski Schools in Naltar and Kalabagh (Nathia Gali).


The Federation is affiliated with the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) and is a member of its executive council. It is also a recognized body of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB). Internationally, WSFP is affiliated with the International Ski Federation (FIS) and the Asian Ski Federation (ASF). The goal of WSFP is to promote winter sports in the country, making it accessible to all enthusiasts by offering sports gear and training. WSFP also sends talented skiers to countries famous for skiing for their professional training and improving their technical skills.

As a part of its effort to promote winter sports, national and international championships are held every year, with the WSFP even sponsoring Pakistani skiers to represent the country in international competitions. Pakistan made a landmark achievement in sporting history of the country, when Mr. Muhammad Abbass, an employee of PAF, qualified for the Winter Olympics 2010 at Vancouver, Canada. It was the opening of a new chapter as four years later Mohammad Karim, a local lad from the area, carried the national flag in the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

This year, Winter Sports Federation of Pakistan chalked out an elaborate calendar of events for the season with various exhilarating winter sports conducted at the picturesque resort with events including Sadia Khan and Children Ski Cup and Inter-varsity Ski Championships for men and women. Another important event was Figure Skating, introduced for the first time in Pakistan. Mallak, an eleven-year-old girl from Dubai, showcased some extremely elegant and swift moves on the rink, enrapturing the audience with her splendid performance. WSFP also plans to open a full-scale indoor simulator in Karachi to facilitate the skiers and enthusiasts from Southern chapter and develop ice skating rinks over the frozen lakes in Gilgit, Skardu and KP regions.

International skiers from all over the world participated in different categories of international ski races at the picturesque PAF Ski Resort Naltar (Gilgit). This marked the second time that high ranking international skiers were seen in action in slalom and giant slalom categories of CAS International Karakoram Alpine Ski Cup.
Experienced skiers from various regions and ski associations of the country also took part in the races on the treacherous slopes of the ski resort. Competing in the FIS races against the highly ranked skiers of the world provided Pakistani athletes with an excellent opportunity to showcase their talent at international level and learn from their competitors’ experience.

Winter Sports Federation of Pakistan, in collaboration with Pakistan Air Force, is earnestly working for the promotion of winter sports in the country. Holding such events would not only boost tourism opportunities in the splendid mountains and valleys of Pakistan but also project a positive image of the country in the comity of nations.

National and International Skiers Participate in Winter Sports at Naltar

38 international skiers from all over the world converged on the mighty Karakoram mountain ranges to participate in different categories of international ski races at PAF Ski Resort Naltar (Gilgit), an event promoted by the Winter Sports Federation of Pakistan.

Experienced ranking international skiers from twelve countries including Greece, Afghanistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, Morocco, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, and Tajikistan participated in the FIS races on the slopes of enchanting PAF ski resort. These athletes competed in slalom and giant slalom categories of CAS International Karakoram Alpine Ski Cup.

Top national skiers from various regions and ski associations of the country were also seen in action on the treacherous slopes of Naltar Ski resort. Competing in the FIS races against the highly ranked skiers of the world provided Pakistani athletes with an excellent opportunity to showcase their talent at international level and learn from their competitors’ experience.



The winter sports season commenced at PAF Naltar with Sadia Khan & Children Ski Cup and Inter-varsity Championships for men and women. The Inter-varsity Men Ski Championship concluded with University of Lahore declared as the winner and the Punjab University and Karakoram University of Gilgit-Baltistan coming in as second and third, respectively.

The Gilgit-Baltistan Ski Association clinched the Sadia Khan Ski Cup. Besides skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and ice hockey competitions were also held for the first time in the country.

Among the newly introduced sports categories, figure skating and ice hockey stole the attention of the audience. Ice hockey match, introduced to continue the legacy of the traditional ‘Ghatal’, provided the spectators with the extraordinary match between the teams of Pakistan Air Force and GB Scouts which ended in the victory of PAF with the only goal of the match.


A number of teams including PAF, Pak Army, GB Scouts, Gilgit Baltistan Winter Sports Association, Chitral, KPK, Punjab, Islamabad, Higher Education Commission Hindu Kush Snow Sports Club and Civil Aviation Authority participated
It's time to enjoy the Winter Festivities in Mountains.

Khalti-Ghizer Winter Sports Festival will be an amazing experience to enjoy winter sports, traditional cuisines,Local products and much more.



Pakistan At Winter Olympics 2022:
When Theatrics Matter More Than Triumphs

flagbearer muhammad karim of pakistan during the winter olympics opening ceremony photo reuters

Flagbearer Muhammad Karim of Pakistan during the Winter Olympics' opening ceremony. PHOTO: REUTERS

For our leaders, the reception matters but not why Pakistan is lagging behind in the international sports arena​

Farah Khwaja
February 09, 2022

Pakistani politicians appear to have a rare talent for giving themselves unearned pats on the back and engaging in self-congratulatory behaviour, which in turn only reveals their complete inability to adequately wrap their heads around the true core of the issues faced by the country.

The recently held opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing provided us with yet another such example. Anyone who has even a modicum of knowledge regarding Pakistan’s record at the Olympics in recent times would know that it is nothing worth celebrating. Our athletes are disenfranchised and often have to resort to training themselves since they receive little to no state patronage. This lack of diligent involvement on part of the state is reflected in Pakistan’s measly Olympics medals tally. Yet, this reality seems to be lost on the current Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry.

As part of a diplomatic visit to China, a contingent of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members – comprising of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Information Minister Chaudhry, among others – attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics 2022. Chaudhry subsequently said:
“Dozens of teams came but if there was applause for any team after China in the stadium, it was the Pakistan team. The Chinese people love Pakistan and the applause are an expression of the same spirit.”
Naturally, given how Pakistan has pinned its future prospects to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and due to a lack of allies in the region, a Pakistani politician cheering on the importance of Pak-Sino friendship is nothing new. But what is startling is that Chaudhry’s primary takeaway after seeing the one lonesome athlete representing Pakistan at the Winter Olympics was to marvel at how much the Chinese apparently love Pakistan. If anything, such blatant ignorance only helps to illustrate why our athletes have been so neglected over the years. Our policymakers are simply more interested in amateur theatrics and maintaining appearances instead of actual long-term investment and development of our sportspersons. In effect, this ability to stick their head in the sand so easily extends to all aspects of Pakistan’s political, social and economic problems.

The unfortunate reality is that Pakistan participated in the Winter Olympics for the first time in 2010. One athlete attended the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, one athlete was present at the Winter Olympics in 2014, and an unprecedented two athletes represented Pakistan at the
2018 Winter Olympics. All the said individuals participated in the skiing categories.

This year, only one Pakistani, alpine skier Muhammad Karim, was able to qualify for the Winter Olympics. As a result, a nation of more than 220 million people was only able to send a paltry squad of five people (one athlete and four officials) to the Beijing Winter Olympics. Yet, our leaders are more interested in the reception they received rather than trying to address why Pakistan is lagging so far behind the rest of the world in the international sports arena.

It goes without saying that all our well wishes and prayers are with Karim, and we hope he continues to represent the country for many years to come. But as is the case during the Summer Olympics, it is unfair for us as a nation to have any concrete expectations from our athletes at the Olympics. They have been deprived by the state for decades due to the neglect and corruption which has taken root in the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA). Athletes like Arshad Nadeem, who made Pakistan proud after finishing fifth in the javelin throw category during the Tokyo Olympics 2020, can only get so far given the limited facilities at their disposal.

As a result, there is simply no comparison between the training Pakistan’s athletes are afforded as opposed to that which most professional international athletes receive.

Unfortunately, our policymakers keep relying on hand-outs from other nations in order to improve their own mess. In a recent interview with Chinese media, Chaudhry said,

“Pakistan’s northern area is double that of Switzerland in terms of size and having the world’s highest peaks that are suitable for winter sports, but our winter sports are not up to the mark. I hope China would help us by setting up a framework for winter sports in that region.”

Firstly, the recent Murree tragedy has demonstrated that having scenic locations which can rival Switzerland is of little value if no attention is paid by the state to the development of proper infrastructure in the region.

Secondly, China cannot simply swoop in and solve Pakistan’s sporting woes. The government needs to take accountability and put a proper plan in place from top to bottom in an attempt overhaul the existing system if it truly wishes to encourage and promote athletes.

The POA in particular needs to be attended to and reformed, otherwise we will continue to return from the Summer and Winter Olympics empty-handed.

Farah Khwaja
The writer has completed her masters in political science and is currently working with a New-York based think-tank.
How Pakistan develops winter sports with unique characteristics

By Cheng Shijie and Zhao Yusha
Feb 04, 2022


People stand in front of the snow-covered Pir Chinasi shrine in the hilly area of Muzaffarabad, Pakistan on January 16, 2022.

People stand in front of the snow-covered Pir Chinasi shrine in Pakistan on January 16, 2022. Photo: AFP

How Pakistan develops winter sports with unique characteristics

How has Pakistan, a country with a diverse climate - hot in the south and mountainous in the north - developed winter sports with its own unique characteristics and attracted tourists and athletes from home and abroad?

If Pakistanis want to see snow, they will go to the northern mountainous region of the country, whose altitude is among the highest in the world - five mountain peaks have the altitude of more than 8,000 meters among the total 14 in the world.

The mountainous climate in the region has offered the most fantastic opportunity for snow sight-seeing.

For example, in Murree, 60 kilometers north of the capital Islamabad, the altitude has risen sharply in the mountains which commands a fine view of the entire Punjab plain. After the British colonists were driven away, the Pakistanis discovered the beauty of Murree - the beauty of snow in winter.

Murrees snow is only visible in the middle of winter. On a clear day, the capital Islamabad is still bathed in the warm winter sun, but looking at the skyline north of the city, Murree can be seen, which seems to be hanging in the air, wrapped in silver. The white snow on the distant mountains embellishes the capital, which is known as the "garden city". Under the warm sunshine, one can enjoy the snow scenery, which makes you feel refreshing.

Walking northward from Murree, one can see two large rivers flowing out of the valley and converging in the valley city of Muzaffarabad. In the distance is the perpetual snow on Nanga Parbat, one of the highest mountain at the western end of the majestic Himalayas.

In 2005, it was the epicenter of a 7.6-magnitude earthquake. After the disaster, Chinese engineers arrived to help rebuild houses and schools. They also built a dam to help tame the Neelum River and solve the problem of the natural disaster caused by the severe uneven flow of the river in winter and summer, and brought clean energy to the region.

Many Chinese people working there told reporters that they could never forget the snow scenery on the moonlit night in the region.

On the north side of Nanga Parbat, the altitude continues to rise. This is the junction of the Himalayas, Karakoram Mountains and Hindu Kush Mountains. It has also been an important gateway for communication and exchanges between Chinese, South Asian and the Middle Eastern civilization since ancient times. Here, snow poses the biggest challenge for those who dare to challenge the road.

There is an important town on the Karakoram Highway, which is also called the China-Pakistan Friendship Highway, the only road connecting China and Pakistan.

In the 1970s, 82 Chinese engineers were buried here after building the road, which symbolized the friendship between China and Pakistan. From Gilgit to the north.

The end of the road is Khunjerab Pass in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region with an altitude of 5,314 meters. Every winter, heavy snow freezes the road, and it can only be open to traffic again in the spring in the following year.

In the northeast of Gilgit stands Karakoram Mountains, the second highest mountain range in the world. This is the "snow mountain" in the minds of climbers. Since the 20th century, only 377 people have successfully made it to Mount Chogori, the peak of the Karakoram Mountains.

In recent years, Pakistan has begun to attach importance to the promotion of winter sports. In January 2021, the first Winter Sports Festival was held at the Nalta Ski Resort, where skiing, ice hockey and snowboard competitions were included. Pakistani President Arif Alvi attended the closing ceremony.

In the same month, the FIS Snowboarding World Championships was held in Maram Jabba ski resort at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with more than 40 domestic and foreign athletes participating.

At present, the Pakistani government is paying more and more attention to the development of winter sports, and the public shows greater interest in taking part in winter sports, which helps boost the development of the tourism industry.

The Winter Sports Federation of Pakistan is the national governing body to develop and promote winter sports in the country. Winter Sports Federation of Pakistan was formed in December 1990 with Chief of the Air Staff, PAF as its patron-in-chief and the Vice Chief of Air Staff as president of the Federation.

National Championships in alpine and cross-country ski events are held annually and Pakistani skiers are also regularly representing the country in international competitions. The Federation is affiliated with the International Ski Federation (FIS) and the Asian Ski Federation (ASF).

President of the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) Syed Arif Hasan said in an interview in October 2021 that the Northwest part of Pakistan has abundant winter sports resources, and Pakistan will welcome tourists from all over the world once the pandemic recedes.

Pakistan's northern mountainous area, which borders China's Xinjiang, has an area twice that of Switzerland. It's the best place for winter sports, Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan, who is visiting China, said at a seminar with Chinese scholars on Friday. [Development of] our northern region has just started, said the Prime Minister.

A unifying factor

Pakistan also endorsed the Beijing Winter Olympics.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is himself a sportsman, attended the opening ceremony of Beijing Winter Olympics on February 4.

In a letter the Khan sent to the Global Times that published on January 28, the Prime Minister said that "In the next few days, I will be arriving in Beijing to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games. Being a sportsperson myself, I can very well relate to the spirit that sporting events like Olympics instill in a nation. I strongly feel that sports should be a unifying factor and should transcend politics. I congratulate the leadership and people of China for hosting this mega event and wish all participants safe, healthy and successful games."

Pakistan's top skier, Muhammad Karim, is all set to represent his country at the Games in Beijing in February. Karim, 26, is eyeing his first Winter Olympic medal, and is hopeful that the Beijing Winter Olympics will play a significant role in his career and boost his confidence given the event's scale and audience.

"The Winter Olympics is a major event, and athletes from many countries are trying to improve their skills to hold a good position in the Olympics," he told Xinhua in an earlier interview.

"A top Pakistani skier is participating in Beijing Winter Olympic, if he is able to win a medal, it could help boost winter sports in Pakistan. Prime Minter Imran Khan will also attend the opening ceremony of Winter Olympics, which will add a new impetus to the sports. The PM himself is a sportsman, he will also like to promote winter sports in the country," Asghar, a Pakistani reporter who is based in China, told the Global Times.

11 February, 2022:
Prize distribution ceremony of 29th National Ski Championship-2022 was held at PAF Ski Resort, Naltar today. Air Marshal Muhammad Mughees Afzal, Chairman Pakistan Aeronautical Complex was the Chief Guest at the occasion.

Addressing the ceremony, the Chief Guest appreciated the efforts of PAF and WSFP for the promotion of winter sports in Pakistan. He also congratulated all stakeholders for successfully holding the mega event.

The Chief Guest also awarded medals among the winning players. Gilgit Baltistan Scouts clinched the winner trophy of 29th National Ski Championship-2022. In Giant Slalom category, Mr Zahid Abbas, Mr Mir Nawaz and Mr Waqas Azam of Gilgit Baltistan Scouts were awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze medals respectively. Gold medal for 5th Snow Boarding Championship-2022 was won by Mr Khalid Hussain of Gilgit Baltistan Winter Sports Association, Silver medal was earned by Mr Zahid Abbas of Gilgit Baltistan Scouts and Bronze medal was awarded to Mr Ali Hasnain of Hindukash.

Earlier, Air Vice Marshal Imran Majid, Air Officer Commanding, Federal Air Command said in his address that PAF is fully committed to not only promote Skiing in Pakistan but also train budding players for participation in international winter sports events..


It was challenging to organize Winter Sports Festival at Hoper Valley Nagar. Gilgit Baltistan first time...

Picturesque Phander valley of Ghizer district in Gilgit Baltistan, hosts Ice Sports Festival on January 4 and 5, 2022, theme of the event is promotion tourism.
Local organizations arranged it, now a communities are vibrant & leading the initiatives...

First National Ice Sports Competitions starts in Ghulkin, Hunza of Gilgit Baltistan, total 21 teams from Punjab, Sindh, AJK, KPK, GB Scouts, Pakistan Army, Pakistan Air Force, Gilgit Baltistan participating, Canadian High Commissioner Gilmour Wendy acted as referee in first match..






The event is named after a great young skier Miss Saadia Khan who lost her precious life in a tragic car accident at age of 24 years.
The tournament is being organized to provide opportunity to female players..




12 March, 2022: Prize distribution ceremony of 16th Shah Khan Ski Cup & National Biathlon Championship-2022 was held at PAF Ski Resort, Naltar. Brigadier (Retd) Syed Kausar Hussain, Director Operations & Plans National Logistic Cell was the chief guest at the occasion.



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