Nepal Hosts the First-ever Skate Nepal; Figure Skating and Ice Hockey in Gokyo Lake

Nov 20 . 2020,Omi Karki

Known for its diverse geography, forested hills, and world's eight tallest mountains including Mt. Everest (8,848 m), Nepal recently hosted its first-ever figure skating and ice hockey event. Organised on 14th February 2020, Ice Hockey and Figure Skating is an alternative adventure game for visitors in Nepal.

Started with an idea of promoting Visit Nepal 2020, participants from countries like United States, Canada, Russia, and India will be participating at the Skate Nepal in Gokyo.

Figure Skating and Ice Hockey at Skate Nepal

Friendly matches are played at the third lake of Gokyo amongst players of nationalities like the United States, Russia, Canada, India, to name some.

The Visit Nepal Year (VNY) 2020 SecretariatYogesh Bhattarai stated that this event is one of the leading steps in promoting winter tourism in Nepal. 

He mentioned,

"The event is an initiation of the government of Nepal through the Visit Nepal Year 2020 campaign to introduce and explore the enormous potential of high altitude adventure sports in Nepal,"

Government representatives from Finland and France witnessed the hockey match, officials from TAAN, Turkish Airlines, Nepal Airlines Corporation, Summit Airlines, Heli Everest, and Hotel Hikers Inn

High ranking officials of Nepalese Govt. like Sherdhan Rai, Jeevan Ram Shrestha, and Solukhumbu's Khumbukhasang Rural Municipality's Laxman Adhikari were also present.

Players at Skate Nepal

Skate Nepal features world-acclaimed players like Aleksandr Chekarshev and Dmitriy Viktorovich Dudarev from Russia.

Ice Hockey pioneers from the United States like Jeremy Abbott, 2008's Grand Prix Final champion, Laura Kottlowski, American skating gold medalist, Matej Silecky, and ice hockey player and filmmaker Nick Kalisz are in Nepal for the sporting event.

Other players include Elizabeth Putnam and Patrick Chan from Canada. Winners of the Indian Ice Hockey Championship namely Jigmet Rinchen, Tsewang Namgail, Tinlass Glasston, and Tashi Largyal will be representing India.

Where is Gokyo Lake?

Designated as World Heritage Site on 13th September 2007, Gokyo Lake is situated at a relatively high altitude of 4,700–5,000 m (15,400–16,400 ft) Gokyo Lakes is a collection of freshwater lakes located in Nepal's Sagarmatha National Park.

The Gokyo lake system is a collection of 19 lakes spread over 485 acres of land filled with a permanent freshwater source. The primary water resource for Gokyo is the Ngozumpa glacier, a stream originating from Renjo La pass.

Gokyo Lake consists mostly of significant lakes like:

  1. Thonak Cho (160.8 acres),
  2. Gokyo Cho or Dudh Pokhari (106 acres) 
  3. Gyazumpa Cho (72 acres),
  4. Tanjung Cho (41.9 acres),
  5. Ngojumba Cho (35.6 acres)

Gokyo and Tourism

Gokyo's Pristine Alpine Beauty

The sites in Gokyo are amongst the most popular tourist destinations in Nepal which direct towards Sagarmatha base camp and other places. As per statistics, an average, about 7,000 tourists visit Gokyo Lake yearly.

The village is situated at 4,790m from sea level and is a two days walk uphill from Namche Bazar (3,440m), the gateway to Mount Everest.

The lakes are part of an extended vacation site at the Everest Base Camp commonly known as EBC trek which goes through Gokyo Lakes. Trekkers usually take this trekking trail to spend more time in the area as it takes four days more than the regular EBC trek.

Gokyo, Religious Site for Hindus and Buddhists

The lakes in the Gokyo area are sacred to followers of Hinduism and Buddhism religion. Hundreds of pilgrim goers visit the place during Janai Purnima festival in August.

The lake is famous as the residing area of Nag Devta or Snake God and also features temples of Hindu gods like Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.