The Royal Highlander Festival will be organized in Laya from 23rd to 24th October, 2017. Driven by the underlying goal of making the Highlands a vibrant and thriving economy, the festival aims to promote the sustainable livelihood of highlanders; showcase highlander’s innovation; and exhibit the Highlands as a Pride of Bhutan. The festival is expected to bring together highlander from other parts of Bhutan and other countries to exchange values, knowledge, skills and best practices related to highlands and yak farming. The festival will be a landmark activity of Gasa Dzongkhag’s vision of Good to Great Gasa. The Good to Great Gasa is a vision inspired by His Majesty’s passion to make our country Great.
One of the interesting part of the Royal Highlander Festival is the Snowman Run. The 2017 Snowman Run is planned to be from Sephu, Wangdue to Gasa Tsachu, Gasa. This stretch is about 18 days trek for normal tourist . The Snowman Run traverses one of the most remote regions in Bhutan. It will cover 200kms of race trail, a few passes of over 5,000m elevation, some sleeping elevations of over 4,000m. There will be 14 stations along the route which will provide water, food and tent accommodation for runners. This is a no stage race which means runners can go as far as they wish and can race day or night as per their choosing. The long term intention is to make the Snowman Run into a globally famous ultra-trail. Basic cell phone coverage is available at the start and finish of the race and when runners reach the yak herders village of Lunana in the midway of the race. Other than that there is no cell phone coverage on the entire race trail.
The race for 2017 will start on October 15th. There will be a trail calibration and route survey taking place at the end of May and beginning June.
This year is a test run with 20 participants, 10 foreigners and 10 Bhutanese.