When one thinks of India, I’m sure that the large, densely populated, boiling hot cities come to mind. However, the Himalayas in the North of the country, near to the border Pakistan, is where the Indian ski resorts are found. The season runs during their winter months, beginning at the end of December until the end of March in the Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal states. The temperatures are similar to that of the Alps, but the annual snowfall levels are much higher, averaging 14 metres a year! Not only will you have the pistes to yourselves, but you will not struggle to find freshies!
Gulmarg, in the Jammu & Kashmir region, is the most popular ski resort in India. To get there, you can fly to Srinagar, then from the airport it’s a further 90 minute drive. The resort is situated at a height of 2,660m, thus has reliable snow coverage throughout the season.
What’s more, is that the Gulmarg gondola takes skiers further up the mountain to a height of 3,980m, nearly reaching the top of Mount Apharwart. This is in fact the World’s Highest Skiable Gondola, higher than Breckenridge’s! At the top of this rather vintage cable car, soft and fluffy powder will greet you.
Despite only having 2 gondolas, 1 chairlift and 3 surface lifts, there’s more than 3 acres of skiable terrain, this doesn’t include the areas you can access by heli skiing. With over 400 vertical meters of perfectly pristine terrain, consisting of 18 bowls, a few groomed runs thrown in between, this is a powder hunters dream come true, the longest run is a whopping 8km!
Your spot for lunch will most probably consist of the local Kashmiri cuisine, you really should try either the Malai Kofta or a Rogan Josh, there’s no doubt they will warm you up. However, you can also find burgers and chips in the town if you are after some home comforts. As India is famous for tea, you should try Qahwah Kashmiri, a mixture of Cardamom, Saffron, Cinnamon, Sugar and sometimes even Raisins, Almonds or Cashews. Or you can stick with the classic Chai or Chai Masala. Skiing in India is very different to skiing in Europe, you will be spoilt with dramatic scenery as most of the resort is above tree line. The biggest bonus, you will be virtually the only ones on the pistes… although you may spot a snow leopard!
A run in with a snow leopard in Gulmarg