Ski in the Himalayas

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Travel Features >> Ski in the Himalayas

Ski in the Himalayas

January 29, 2013

India's ski resorts are largely confined to the western half of the Himalayas. Skiers have frequented Gulmarg, Manali and Narkanda for decades now, while Auli in Uttaranchal and Solang Valley in Himachal are the latest rage of skiers in the country. All across the Himalayas, January to March is the skiing season; by late December, most slopes are already well covered, but serious skiing only begins with the new year.

Auli, Uttarakhand
India's premier ski zone, Auli lies high up in the mountains of Uttarakhand, above the town of Joshimath. The main snow slopes of Auli stretch for about 5 km, and include 500 mt long ski-lifts and 800 mt long chair-lifts. The GMVN (Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam) handles all skiing activities at Auli and also facilitates adventure enthusiasts with ski equipment for rent. Beginners may also enroll in a ski course ranging from 4 days to 14 days, other that this they also offer advanced courses.

Manali and Solang Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Manali in Himachal Pradesh is a heli-skiing paradise. The area around town, including Deo Tibba, Hanuman Tibba, Rohtang Pass and Chanderkhani Pass, is where heli-skiing takes place. Skiers are taken aboard a helicopter up to a height of close to 14,000 ft, to ski downhill. Just about 13 kms from Manali lies the beautiful Solang Valley that has some spectacular ski runs for the beginner as well as the professional.

Kufri and Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh
Narkanda, 64 km from Shimla, is one of India's oldest ski resorts, still comparatively unspoilt and uncrowded. The slopes at Narkanda run the gamut from beginner's to advanced, from slalom to cross-country. Hattu Peak, 6 km from Narkanda, has popular ski slopes. Himachal Tourism manages all the skiing facilities at Narkanda, while the Directorate of Mountaineering and Allied Sports at Manali also plays a part in the skiing at Narkanda; they organise special skiing courses January onwards every year. The most easily accessible ski resort in north India, however, is Kufri, 10 km from Shimla, with some good slopes on the Mahasu Ridge, just above Kufri.

Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir
And finally Gulmarg in Kashmir has some of the finest ski slopes in Asia. The ski season starts end of December and goes on till March with snow like powder and slopes that give ski runs even in the slopes a run for their money. The beginners can start on the ‘baby runs’, and the intermediate skiers can ski down the slopes, while the seasoned and more adventurous skier will find many off piste runs. The highest ski lift in the world is at Gulmarg with the Gulmarg Gondola Cable car being a two stage ropeway. Ski equipment can be hired here and ski courses are run regularly for the novice skier. Enroll yourself with the Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering in Gulmarg that conducts various skiing courses from mid December till early April. With qualified ski instructors the Institute offers latest and best-imported equipment plus features boarding and lodging facilities during the courses.

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