Monday, 22 January 2018 | PNS | Joshimath – At a time when the warmer temperatures and lack of natural snowfall has led to postponement of the International Ski Federation (FIS) races at Auli, artificial snow had to be used to commemorate the World Snow Day with focus on the message of saving the Himalaya at Auli on Sunday. Personnel of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) Force, local skiers, mountaineers and tourists were among those who were present in the programme. Addressing the gathering on the occasion, the principal of Mountaineering and Skiing Institute, ITBP, Auli, Gambhir Singh Chauhan, exhorted the trainees, locals and tourists to conserve the environment. The Himalaya will be safe if the environment is protected, he stressed. Chauhan pointed out that whereas in the past the Auli area used to covered in snow during the month of January, snowfall has been deficient in Auli due to environmental degradation this time, which is a cause of serious concern for all. He said that as a result of the environmental damage caused by human activities, the World Snow Day had to be celebrated with artificial snow here. Laying special emphasis on the importance of sanitation, he said that all will have to come forward for preserving the environment and the Himalaya. Expressing his views on the occasion, the chief development officer Vinod Goswami pointed out that there had been drastic changes in the environment due to global warming and other effects of human activities. It is due to such factors that there has been deficient snowfall in a high altitude region like Auli. Stressing on the need for protecting the environment from negative human interference, he said that this is essential to avoid damaging the environment and causing effects like delayed and deficient snowfall. The chief development officer recalled that the state administration had completed all arrangements for hosting the FIS race to be held at Auli during January. However, the event had to be postponed to February due to the deficiency of natural snow at Auli. He expressed confidence that there will be good snowfall in the coming days which will also enable the successful hosting of the FIS races. It is pertinent to mention here that climatic changes have left places like Auli without snow this year. In the past, the valleys in Auli used to be covered in four to five feet of snow during the month of January but this year the snowfall is still awaited. To overcome this problem, artificial snow had to be used at Auli on the occasion of World Snow Day on Sunday. About 150 trainees of the ITBP undertaking basic ski, advance ski, Nordic ski and snow combat courses skied on the sloped covered in artificial snow. They also made a snowman and a tiger using the snow at the site. On the occasion, the ITBP personnel, employees of the district administration, Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) and the municipal council also participated in a cleaning drive on the Auli slope.