A Kashmir Adventure
Skiing


 
Not many know that it is possible to ski in India. Skiing in India as a modern sport started almost at the same time as in Europe. The Ski Club of India was es-tablished in Gulmarg in 1927. The Indian Ski team won eight diplomas in the first ever Asian Winter Sports held in March, 1986, at Sapporo, Japan. Six of the winners are from Gulmarg - the ski paradise of In-dia. People think of mountains only in the summers, reflecting on their cool shade and lovely breezes. The meadow of flowers, Gulmarg is about 50 km from Sri-nagar, situated at an altitude of 2,730 m. It turns into a meadow of romance in winter, a small ski resort where everyone knows everyone else. There are comfortable hotels and huts to stay in. It is the only ski-resort in the mighty Himalayas where you can ski with a magnific-ent view of the Karakorams. Gulmarg provides an al-titude difference of over 1,500 m with lengths of more than 10 km. But presently only a ski-mountaineer can reach these higher slopes. Four ski-lifts and a chairlift are available but these are suitable for beginners only. Gulmarg is also the cheapest ski resort in the world to learn skiing. The latest Austrian and French equipment is available on hire. There is a ski school known as the Indian Ins-titute of Skiing and Mountaineering, which conducts 10 day and 21 day short ski courses for beginners and advanced skiers. The season is mid-December to mid-April and the road is kept open to Gulmarg throug-hout the winter with the help of powerful German machines. Apart from downhill skiing, one can also enjoy cross-country runs. Excursions to the shrine of Baba Reshi through the 'powder chute' is an experi-ence to treasure. One hasn't started yet with heliskiing but there are tremendous possibilities for the sport here. You can mark new tracks almost throughout the entire winter season. There are long chains of moun-tain valleys and ridges covered with fine powder snow. One can even try a different valley each day with the aid of a helicopter.

Gulmarg is not the only place to challenge your courage. Ski tours from Pahalgam to Sonamarg through high mountain passes are not only arduous but also exciting. Some people have even gone on skis to Ladakh through the Wardwan Valley. Adventure here has no limits.

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Kashmiri Overseas Association