Unbelievable Skiing in Kashmir

May 12, 2008 by  
Filed under features

Kashmir is a popular tourist destination and a pleasure to visit at any time of the year, but during snow skiing season, when the snow-capped Karakoram, Zanaskar and Pir Panjal mountains of the Himalayas are transformed into a snow-covered wonderland, snow sport enthusiasts flock to Kashmir from far and wide.

Gulmarg, a town in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in north-western India, is the premier ski resort in the Himalayas. Nestled in the Greater Himalayas along the Pir Panjal Mountains at an altitude of 2650 meters, Gulmarg is renowned for its matchless beauty. Mount Apherwat rises from Pir Panjal to a height of 4124 meters and a gondola transports skiers almost to the peak, providing close to 1400 meters of vertical.

Gulmarg is excellent for backcountry and off-piste skiing, particularly for expert and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Gulmarg provides lift serviced access to more than 10 kms of off-piste skiing and is ideal for inter intermediate skiers who aim to improve their off piste skills. There is extensive challenging backcountry snow skiing terrain and, although there is no man-made park, there are numerous natural jumps and outstanding tight gullies and tree runs to keep skiers entertained for many enjoyable hours.

Due in part to its altitude and geographical location, Gulmarg has an abundant supply of powder, providing excellent snow skiing conditions from mid December right through to April. Seasoned skiers will appreciate the experience of carving through virgin snow, virtually on a daily basis. From the top station on Mount Apherwat, advanced to intermediate skiers and snowboarders are faced with a 5 km wide choice of ridges and runs. It is highly recommended that skiers take the advice of local guides as to where to go to experience the most thrilling, yet safe, powder run.

Although the majority of the terrain is suitable for expert and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, beginners are not left out in the cold. Beginner slopes are situated alongside the world’s highest golf course and are served by three lifts. Good quality gear including skis, sticks, boots, gloves and goggles can be hired from the ski shop and friendly, experienced instructors are on hand to help beginners enjoy what is considered by many to be the world’s most exhilarating sport.

Skiers and snowboarders generally agree that skiing in Kashmir is an unforgettable experience which is well worth repeating.