Bestowed with the bounty of the Great Himalayas, the Indian subcontinent offers myriad opportunities for skiers and snowboarders. A rising phenomenon, which is increasingly being popularized, skiing and snowboarding in India has gained momentum in the last decade. Whether it is the world-class skiing experience at the Gulmarg slopes or the high altitude valleys of the Solang Nala, there are options for skiers of different levels and types. In the deconstruction of skiing in India, we explore our top three places, levels and routes for an adventurous ski trip on the subcontinent.
WHERE: Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir
Situated in the foothills of the Himalayas, Gulmarg is truly a world-class skiing destination. Ranking top in India, it boasts of the Gulmarg Gondola and ranging slopes for amateurs and professionals, allowing for an eclectic skiing mixture. At Gulmarg, you can pursue skiing, heliskiing, heliboarding, mountain tours or just enjoy the climate and snow!
WHEN: November to Mid March for skiing, April to June for nature lovers
TYPES: Ski, Snowboard, Heliski, Helisnowboard, Gondola ride
RECOMMENDATIONS: Participate in a certified avalanche safety course, bring laxatives and hire a local guide
NEAREST AIRPORT: Srinagar
WHERE: Auli, Uttarakhand
From skiing in the shadows of Mt. Nanda Devi to ski touring amongst glaciers, Auli is a scenic skiing destination. With fresh powder snow and a 3 km long slope ranging from a height of 2519 to 3409 m, it offers the thrill of long distance skiing year-round. Seasoned skiers can engage in cross-country runs of 10-20 km as well.
WHEN: November to March for skiing, year-round for nature lovers
TYPES: Ski, Snowboard, Cross-country skiing, Cable car ride, Glacier tours
RECOMMENDATIONS: Book well in advance due to limited stay options, opt for the months of January and February, bring a thorough medical kit
NEAREST AIRPORT: Dehradun (Peak season: from Joshimath ride Asia’s longest cable car ride (4 km) to Auli)
WHERE: Solang Nala, Himachal Pradesh
With its heavy snowfall prone trait and milky white snow, Solang Nala offers skiing opportunities for all levels of skiers. Popular for its winter games and skiing workshops, it presents as a family adventure for amateur skiers. An ideal adventure destination, you can engage in skiing, snowboarding, paragliding, snow mobile rides and other ranging activities.
WHEN: December to February for skiing, April-June for summer activities.
TYPES: Ski, Snowboard, Paragliding, Quad Rides, Snow Mobile Rides, Parachuting, Zorbing
RECOMMENDATIONS: Opt for the month of January for an ideal skiing experience, while horse rides are fun they are expensive and the walk in the valley is prime
NEAREST AIRPORT: Dharamsala/ Bhuntar Airport/ Manali
With increasing popularity comes an influx of ski packages, travel options and activities. It is important to correlate this with your intended purpose of skiing, since different places suit differing levels of skiers. For certified safety courses, institutions such as the Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering and Nehru Institute of Mountaineering are advised, since they offer safe and certified pre-courses.
In tapping into the geographical ranges and snow terrains of India, skiing and snowboarding presents exciting possibilities. So get out there and enjoy the thrill!
Stay tuned for the best gear to use for skiing.
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