The perfect season for skiing would be from January to March, when there is abundant snowfall due to which skiing activities are at a peak. The white powder snow makes for a wonderful experience as one enjoys long descents.
Snow Mountain slopes? The first location that pops up in one’s mind is obviously the Himalayas. The high elevation mountains of the Himalayan range make for very long descents, allowing skiers to enjoy longer time periods of skiing, at tracks of varying levels of difficulty. Be it a beginner or a professional, the Himalayan mountains provide tracks that have something in store for people of all skill levels.
Perhaps the most famous and well known place for skiing is Gulmarg in Kashmir. It is a notified area committee in the Baramula district in Jammu and Kashmir. It is an isolated village at the extreme end of the Himalayas, in the Pir Panjal range.
Around 25Km away from Srinagar, it has an elevation of 2,690m. As quoted by CNN, it is the “heartland of winter sports in India”. The diverse terrain and the abundant snow make for a unique winter-sport experience. This ski location is known internationally and also ranked among the top 10 best ski resorts in Asia.
And why shouldn’t it be? After all, it is home to the world’s highest ski lift, the Gulmarg gondola which shuttles skiers to a whopping height of 3,979m! The lift was installed in 2005 on Mt.Apharwat. Very recently, a new lift was inaugurated (in around 2012) called ‘Marys chair’ and follows a similar line as the gondola.
The heavy snowfall also means that there are very frequent snow-storms and with just two avalanche experts, it takes a good amount of time for them to give a green flag and declare it safe to open up the lift. But once the lift is open and you reach the top, you have a stunning view of the 2300m skiing terrain laid out in front of you! Even if the lift does not take you to the very top, you can still indulge in plenty of thrilling runs from the middle station as well as from the village base itself.
The army camp descent to Drang village is one of the recommended ski routes. It goes all the way from the summit plateau to Sunshine peak, passing through a small army installation, and merging into a ridge line that descends further down the valley. About 300m from there, you find yourself meandering through Pine forests, and at the end of it all, you reach a wooden bridge which takes you to Drang village, which is just a short walk away.
The one skiing experience that you should not miss out on, when in Gulmarg, is the ski from the summit of Mt.Apherwat. It is a journey best undertaken in the afternoon when the sun turns the scenery a crimson hue, resulting in beautiful breath-taking scenery.
Apart from Gulmarg, which is a very popular destination, there are other locations that one ought to try. One of these is Pahalgam, a town in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir. Situated at the banks of Lidder River, it has an elevation of 2200m.
Snow here is best for skiing from December to March.
If you are planning a long vacation, this is the perfect place to go to as it contains not only skiing resorts, but also a hot of other attractions and activities, like the Kolahoi glacier, Tulia lake, and Mamaleshwara.