While the Pakistan Super League (PSL) usually steals the accolades for bringing international sports back to Pakistan, beyond the glitzy cricket event other sporting events are steadily returning to Pakistan as well. The recently concluded Chief of the Air Staff International Karakoram Alpine Ski Cup, held in the majestic Naltar Valley’s Pakistan Air Force (PAF) ski resort, is another milestone in Pakistan’s gradual grind towards security and the organisers of the event deserve the same praise that we usually reserve for our cricket board.

The fact that the tournament participants were mostly women from diverse nations such as Pakistan, Greece, Afghanistan, Turkey, Ukraine, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, Morocco, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, and Tajikistan, goes to show the country’s progress towards stability. The fact that the participants expressed their desire to visit Pakistan’s mountains again in winter to race is a further testament still.

With Pakistan opening itself up to foreign tourism with the relaxing of visa requirements, sporting events like this would be instrumental in drawing attention to the country’s physical beauty and tourism potential.

Hence, the government should aim to make this ski tournament an annual event, hoping to make it bigger and better with every iteration. With the plethora of locations available in the north to hold such events it shouldn’t prove difficult. Pakistan should look at the fact that the majority of the Middle East’s snow-sports enthusiasts head to Iran or even Lebanon to satisfy their requirements and recognize that a huge market exists in the regional vicinity that it can tap into.

Furthermore, while ski tournament in Naltar was dominated by the Ukrainian delegation, Pakistani players, including Mohammad Karim, Umama Wali, and Jia Ali also performed very well in the competition. Regular tournaments drawing intentional participants and improvement in our existing facilities will help grow this native talent manifold.