Amidst the festive and colorful atmosphere and Christmas Celebrations here at Gulmarg, the Directorate of Tourism, Kashmir kick started the first batch of Ski Courses here.Twenty young boys drawn from various districts of the J&K will undergo the 7- Day Introductory Ski Course during which the group will be introduced to the basics of Skiing. All the lodging & boarding and the Ski equipment is being provided free of cost by the Tourism Department. A four member Ski Instructors team will be imparting Skiing training to these beginners.The Directorate of Tourism, Kashmir has drawn a weekly calender for imparting basic skiing training to as many as 6 groups this season. Among these 6 groups, two will be exclusively meant for outside J&K youth including one girls group. Another exclusive girls group will be from the UT.At the end of their training programme, the best three among the trainees in each of the six groups will be selected for Intermediate & Advance level courses.Apart from the Tourism Department, hundreds of boys and girls are being imparted basic Ski training this season by the Youth Services & Sports Department. The Indian Institute of Skiing & Mountaineering has also started various Ski training courses at Gulmarg.Gulmarg continued with its festivities and cultural programmes on Christmas to enthral the tourists who were seen enjoying the colorful folk shows and Sufi songs.Speaking on the occasion, Assistant Director, Tourism, Dr Javed-ur Rehman said that colorful cultural events amidst Skiing activities at Gulmarg are meant to entertain the Tourists and introduce them to the rich culture of Kashmir. " A grand function will be held here at Gulmarg on New Year's Eve for which preparations are in full swing", he added.