Skiing gala at Malam Jabba from today

PESHAWAR: The five-day skiing gala arranged by the Provincial Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority (PaRRSA) at the tourist resort of Malam Jabba will start today (Wednesday).The event is aimed at reviving the tourism sector, including winter tourism, in the militancy-hit Swat area.“The skiing gala is being held from Jan 26 to Jan 30 with the support of the Pioneer Skiing School at Malam Jabba,” Adnan Khan, an official of the PaRRSA, told this correspondent here on Tuesday. Trainers of the school are organizing the event, who will also give useful skiing tips to the participants.Mr Khan said that the authority had already held a successful `Aman Mela` in Swat from June 27 to July 11, 2010 that attracted over 40,000 tourists. He said that the Mela generated an economic activity to the tune of Rs240 million. The boom of the tourism was halted due to flash floods in July 2010.Situated 314km from Islamabad, Malam Jabba is a hill station in the Karakoram mountains range nearly 40km from Saidu Sharif in Swat Valley. Malam Jabba is home to the largest ski resort in Pakistan and the area also has two Buddhist stupas and six monasteries that are scattered around the resort.Two trekking trails are located near the Malam Jabba resort.The Malam Jabba resort had a ski slope of about 800m with the highest point of the slope at 2,804m above the sea level. Built with the cooperation of Austrian government, the ski resort was equipped with modern facilities including roller/ice-skating rinks, chairlifts, skiing platforms, telephones and snow-clearing equipment.In June 2008, the ski resort was destroyed by fire and then it remained closed for over a year due to militancy – Dawn