Hitting the Slopes in India

April 1, 2011 by  
Filed under features

Anyone who has tried the sport can tell you that snow skiing is loads of fun – from the first tentative attempts to remain upright, to the point of whizzing down the slopes at high speed. So it comes as no surprise that the popularity of snow skiing continues to grow around the world. With the snow-covered Himalayan Mountains hugging its border, India has a number of ski resorts offering this exciting winter sport.

Kashmir State in northern India is home to Pahalgam and Gulmarg ski areas. Gulmarg is considered to be one of the country’s premier resorts, offering a ski lift to the beginner’s slope and a chair lift and gondola to the more difficult slopes. Modern facilities and equipment for hire ensure that skiers get the most out of their vacation. The ski season generally runs from December through to April.

Manali Ski Resort in the Beas River Valley of Himachal Pradesh is another popular choice with snow sport enthusiasts and adventure seekers. In addition to superb skiing conditions, Manali offers hiking, mountaineering, rafting, paragliding, kayaking and mountain biking, with heli-skiing available for expert skiers. If you are really looking for something different, you may want to try yak-skiing – a little known sport unique to the area, requiring a high level of cooperation between yak and skier. Other ski resorts in this Indian state include Kufri, Narkanda, Solang Valley, Chamba, Triund and Shoja. In the summer months, snow skiing in Solang Valley is replaced with zorbing – rolling down grassy slopes inside a giant ball.

Mandali in the Garhwal district of India is renowned for its picturesque landscapes and plentiful ski slopes that offer a challenge to experienced skiers. Also in the Garhwal district, skiers can enjoy the slopes of Dayara Bugyal, complete with panoramic views of the Himalayas and camping spots at the lake. Other ski areas in India include Tawang in the Arunachal Pradesh State; Lachung and Yumthang in Sikkim; and Auli, Munsiyari and Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand.

Skiing in India is not just reserved for the rich and famous. At most resorts, rental equipment and basic tuition are affordable, and the weather is not so extreme as to require special thermal clothing. The views are magnificent and the snow is superb… All that is missing is you!