Skiing in Kashmir
Major Location for Skiing: Gulmarg, Kashmir Region, J&K.
Heli-Skiing Base : Apherwat Peak
Facilities Available : Toboggans, Sledges, T-Bars & Chair Lifts, Snow Cycles.
The Best Season for Skiing : December To March
Skiing in the Himalayasis one of the major attractions for adventure loving tourists. Gulmarg, the best skiing base in the Himalayas, was first founded by the British in 1927 in Gulmarg.
Skiing at Gulmarg
During the pre-independence years skiing had become very popular and Gulmarg used to organise two main events, one each during Christmas and Easter. Gulmarg's atmosphere can generally be identical to the 1940's and 50's European skiing. It has good sunshine as well as good snow, a rare experience.
Gulmarg enjoys the position of being one of the highest lift-served ski resorts in the world. This is due to setting-up of a Gandola Cable Car Lift from Gulmarg to Apharwat top. At present, only the first part of the Gandola, from Gulmarg to Kongdori is operational, giving a downhill ski run of about 3 kms. Besides, three ski lifts and one chair lift also serves the resort, which are ideal for beginners and intermediate-level skiing, respectively.
Winter view of Gulmarg
Around the middle of December, before the Christmas, the skiing season in Gulmarg usually commences, which continues till the middle of April. In January-February, 1998 the first National Winter Games of India were held at Gulmarg, for which the facilities of the skiing resorts were highly improved and upgraded. The resort had two Kasse Bohrer snow beating machines used for preparing skiing slopes, and five snowmobiles, which are used for going up the mountain. Good quality equipment, including skis, boots, sticks, gloves and goggles can be hire on the spot from the Government-run ski shop. There are also experienced instructors available for supervising the visitors. Gulmarg is ideally acceptable for learning skiing, as it is probably the cheapest ski resort in the world.
In the recent past, a famous French skier Sylvain Saudan, had started Heli-skiing in the Himalayas for the European skiers. This arrangement has been suspended for the time being.
The most enthusiastic aspect of a winter stopover at Gulmarg is the friendly atmosphere.