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Adventures in India; Gulmarg Ski Resort

Adventures in India; Gulmarg Ski Resort

Where the Streets Have No Name

pop quiz: perhaps inspired by Ethiopia or by his home town

In another fabulous guest blog, Matt Appleford from The Adventure Project excites us about the prospect of skiing in the Kashmir Himalayas. Matt is a seasoned ski instructor from the US who lives for deep powder; not adverse to hiking up in order to ski un-touched powder and make big, fast turns, Matt’s favourite places are the Telluride (Bear Creek) back country, a place he calls home, and Gulmarg; The Adventure Project’s first destination.

Gulmarg Ski Resort

If you an advanced to expert skier, with a longing for adventure and a hankering for untouched powder, then Gulmarg Ski Resort in the Indian Himalayas could be the experience you are looking for. A place where getting there is all part of the adventure.

Shikara Taxi on Dal Lake, Srinagar, Kashmir, India. Photo by Jerrod Fast.

Nestled in the Pir Pajals, one of the 6 mountain ranges that make up the Himalayas, Gulmarg is a small town in Kashmir, in northern India, close to the Pakistan border. The Pir Panjal’s are the first mountain range to be hit by the south-westerly storms that come across the Indus Plains. As a result, Gulmarg gets inundated with snow during the winter time; over 14m is not unusual: Skiing Magazine called Gulmarg the 7th snowiest ski resort in the world.

Matt Applefod of The Adventure Project

Gulmarg has one of the highest gondolas in the world which gives access to a 5km wide ridgeline that has more than 33 named bowls and ridges. The two-stage gondola starts in town and rises to the mid-station at Kongdoori where there are several restaurants; from here the fixed-grip quad chair departs. Skiing in Gulmarg is a free-rider’s paradise; a busy day is about 2-300 other skiers and boarders, so you can find untouched snow for days, especially if you know where to look.

Fresh Powder straight from the Gondola

From stage one of the gondola there is some nice easy open tree skiing through massive old-growth fir and pine trees. The first 100m of vertical is nice and steep to give advanced skiers a challenge, but the rest of the run is pretty mellow. When snow levels are deep enough, they groom a cat track down from the mid-station (called Kongdori) to the bottom of the gondola. There is plenty of un-touched powder at the side of the trail that intermediate skiers will enjoy.

Tim Williams in powder, Gulmarg. Photo by Matt Appleford.

From the top-station you can cruise downhill along the ridgeline for nearly 2.5kms and take your pick of the numerous bowls, gullies and ridgelines that lay before you. The terrain is massive and you will be in awe of the scale of the place when you take that first memorable ride up the upper gondola. Of course, for a resort with so much snow, there are days when it’s snowing! When the top of the mountain is closed there are two main to go, the long gentle runs down to Tangmarg or the shorter steeper lines down to the Baba Reshi Shrine.

Tim Williams in Lower Trajan Bowl, Gulmarg, India. Photo by Matt Appleford.

Why Ski in Gulmarg

With 3* or 5* accommodation, excellent food, friendly and colourful locals and experiences you will never forget, skiing in Gulmarg should be on the bucket list of anyone with an adventurous mind and a hankering for exciting and exotic destinations around the world: You will get immersed in new cultures, meet locals and seek out the deepest powder.

The Adventure Project

The Adventure Project specialises in taking adventurous-minded skiers to exotic locations around the world. Going to places that the average skier hasn’t even heard of. Places where you can find un-tracked powder days after a storm! Places where you can access the ski slopes easily and where you don’t need a helicopter to get there. Places where you can meet friendly locals and be immersed in totally different culture, without breaking the bank.

Snow Monkeys on the Hotel Roof, Gulmarg, India. Photo by Matt Appleford.

Don’t go to Gulmarg if you are looking for something like home. If you are up for a bit of an adventure, a trip out of the ordinary, then Gulmarg is the place for you. The skiing is world-class: it is truly possible to do heli-ski type runs from off of a gondola and to only pay a few dollars for doing so. The scale of the mountain is vast, the runs are long and the snow can be out of this world. The locals are extremely friendly and you will see why the Kashmiri people have the reputation as being the most hospitable in the world.

Market at Dal Lake, Srinagar, Kashmir, India. Photo by Jerrod Fast.

pop trivia “Where the streets have no name” a 1987 single from Ireland’s famous sons, U2, taken from their Joshua Tree album.

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