MINGORA: The recreational activity of snow tubing is becoming popular in Malam Jabba as it has become a source of income for the local people.
There was a time, according to the residents of Malam Jabba, when they would prefer to stay at home during snow period as they had nothing to do but to pass time around the fire telling stories to each other.
However, now snow tubing has become a source of income for the residents of the country’s only ski resort.
The local people have to buy a tube and come to the ski slope and start earning by giving their tube at Rs20 for a session of a down ride.
“We charge Rs20 for one session that is a ride from half of the slope to the bottom.
Sometimes tourists take it for hours for which there are no specific rates but have to bargain,” said Ali Khan, who was pulling his tube behind and motivating tourists to have fun by riding his tube down the hill.
He told Dawn that he earned an average of Rs1,000 daily. He was happy to have a source of income.
The recreational activity has become a source of income for local people
The operators usually tie a rope to their tubes to control their speed during sliding down to avoid any unpleasant incident.
“Although no skill or training is needed for tubing on snow covered hill yet we tie a rope to the tube and run with the tourist during descending to control the speed and direction,” said Ikram, a young tube owner. He added that they earned more on Fridays and Sundays from December to March.
“Flow of tourists remains high in the month of March and we enjoy it as we earn a lot in this month,” he said.
Not only children and youth but elderly people also like snow tubing. “Children and women take great interest in tubing and when they slide down they scream. When they complete a session, they demand more. The more sessions they have the more we earn,” said Nek Mohammad, a fifth grader holding a tube.
He comes to the slope after school time.
About 100 families, according to local sources, are directly connected with snow tubing and it is a major source of livelihood for them. For those tourists, who cannot ski, snow tubing is an experience to have fun of winter recreation.
“We tried to do skiing but failed as skiing needs proper training. We saw many young boys holding tubes. After tubing one session we found it a great fun so we made many rounds and enjoyed it,” said Bushra Abbas, a tourist from Lahore, who came to enjoy snow and winter sports with her family.
Sometimes enthusiastic youth make races on tubing to add thrill to the fun.
By FAZAL KHALIQ Published in Dawn