Skiing In Gulmarg

Srinagar | India
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All You Need to Know About the Skiing in Gulmarg

From Kahwa to Pashmina shawls, Kashmir has a lot to offer to its tourists. With views as pristine and divine as heaven, Kashmir has perfectly been given the title of 'Paradise on earth.'

But, after visiting the Mughal gardens and the beautiful lakes of Kashmir, If your heart craves some adventure, there is a perfect place for you to visit - Gulmarg.

Gulmarg is a famous hill station in Kashmir. Also known as the 'Skiing capital of India,' Gulmarg offers some of the best scenic views that a skier would want from their experience. With landscapes so beautiful that you would like to stop and keep glancing at the skyline, Gulmarg is a place that every traveler should add to their bucket list.

You can opt for a skiing course in Gulmarg and learn skiing at any level. There are resorts where you can stay and enjoy your time learning and excelling in skiing while being in the cradle of breathtaking mountains.

Fit for every level

Gulmarg is one such destination, where no matter what your age or level of practice is, you still can ski and learn skiing as much as you want. Well-equipped with six bunny slopes which are low inclination slopes that are best suitable for beginners, along with slopes with higher reach and elevation for expert skiers, Gulmarg becomes a perfect destination for all levels of skiing.

The skiing is done on the Apharwat(4482m), and the paths are distributed according to the person's skiing level. For the easy level, it is 7.5 km, for intermediate, it is 16.5 m, and for the experts, it is 6 km long. Moreover, a team of experts is on patrol to keep all the safety measures in control and ensure swift action in case of any mishappenings.

You can even opt for sledding and other snow sports if you wish to be more adventurous.

Affordable skiing course

There are a lot of great and affordable variants of a skiing course in Gulmarg for anyone who would like to learn skiing and slide freely through the slopes of Gulmarg. The classes are priced at an average of 20 USD (INR 1500) for a day. You can either start as a beginner, an intermediate, or even an expert to brush up on your skills before going for actual skiing.

The trainers are highly skilled and are locals from Gulmarg. Though many of them are not certified on an International level, their skills and teaching methodologies are perfectly devised and great.

You can also book Gulmarg skiing packages which will not only help you make the trip more affordable but also help in placing a suitable itinerary for your trip to Gulmarg.

Thrilling Gondola ride

Since you will have to ski from a height, the Gondola ride from Gulmarg would take you to a height of 3980 m to make it an even more thrilling and exciting experience. This Gondola ride across the Apharwat is the second-largest Gondola ride in the world and the largest in Asia. Hands down, the Gondola ride is not just adventurous but also fulfilling.

Even if you don't want to ski, you can still take the Gondola ride and enjoy the landscapes and scenic white beauty while sipping a hot cup of Kahwa.     

Secluded guest houses

Gulmarg is a place of scenic beauty. From the skyline to the mountains surrounding it, everything in Gulmarg is just breathtaking. While staying in Gulmarg, you can opt for secluded and beautiful guest houses where you can spend your time in peace and relaxation, away from the hustle-bustles of the town.

You can even interact with the culture of Gulmarg while staying in aesthetic-looking guest houses and make the best use of your time in Gulmarg.

Breathtaking landscapes

Gulmarg is a beautiful place nestled in the Pir Panjal range. Blessed with beautiful scenes of nature, it is one of the most cherishable places by all nature lovers. Covered in a snow blanket most of the time of the year, this place offers some of the best views that one wouldn't be able to forget for a lifetime. Whether you choose to ski or not, you can still enjoy the chilly air and the heartwarming beauty of these mountains and valleys.

One of the best ski resorts

With an elevation of about 3950 m, the Gulmarg Ski Resort is the world's third-largest ski resort. The magnificent Apharwat peak is deemed the longest ski slope in India, making it all the more adventurous and exciting. Known for its powdery-white snow, Gulmarg presents to its tourists a perfect texture for skiing and snowboarding and taking in the beautiful landscapes around the mountains. A must-visit sport to try, you should head to Gulmarg at least once in a lifetime.

Overview of skiing in Gulmarg:

Location and geographical features

Gulmarg is a cup-shaped valley nestled in the Pir Panjal range. A popular hill station in Kashmir, Gulmarg is known as the world's third-largest ski resort. With beautiful landscapes and impressive natural features, it has become a popular tourist destination for some years.

The skiing starts at the base of Apharwat. The mountain is divided into two phases depending upon the height you want to ski.

Phase 1 is accessible through the Gondola ride. With this, you can easily ski down to the village from Kongdori, where the Gondola ride will leave you. The other phase, i.e., Phase 2, is on the higher end. It is also accessible through Gondola and covers the destination from Kongdori to Apharwat. If you want to feel the real adrenaline rush of skiing, then phase 2 is where you should head to. Moreover, there are cable carts between Kungdori and other places from which you can ski down back to Gulmarg as well.

With beautiful snow all over the place, you can even indulge in activities like snowboarding and rejoice in the snow by making snowmen and snow angels.

The scenic beauty of Gulmarg also offers you to sit and unwind while sipping on your Kahwa amidst the white mountain beauty.

Things to keep in mind while skiing in Gulmarg

Among Asia's highest ski slopes, the Apharwat mountain stands tall at around 3959 m. With breathtaking nature surrounding the mountain peak, skiing through the mountain would be a great experience.

But while skiing through the mountains, there are some technicalities involved that you should keep in mind.

  • Getting a ski instructor is always better if you are not well-versed in skiing. It will save you ample time as the instructor will buy ski passes for you and help you feel the adventure and thrill without risking anything.
  • Make sure that your skis are waxed. If you feel that they haven't done it before, ask the person required to do it.
  • Pre-book all your gondola services and ski passes and everything related to skiing since there is a lot of rush during the skiing time, and it might take you long hours of waiting.
  • Make sure to carry your pack of medical aid in case of any injuries.
  • If you do not wish to opt for skiing, then there are sledding and snowboarding activities for you that you can go for.
  • You can even find good chill restaurants for some delicious Maggi and a cup of Kahwa during your skiing journey as well.

How much would it cost?

The skiing price in Gulmarg is lower than most of the other skiing destinations in India. It could still sometimes get overwhelming to track the expenditure.

So, here are some price ranges that you can expect out of your journey of Snow skiing in Gulmarg.

  • The Gondola services in Gulmarg are active from 10 AM to 5 PM and work in two phases. Phase 1 from Gulmarg to Kongdori will cost around USD 10 (INR 700), and the second phase from Kongdori to Apharwat will cost around USD 13 (INR 900).
  • The skiing classes can range from USD 20-40 (INR 1500-3000) depending upon the facilities you would avail of. Your ski trainer will help you get the passes and equipment, whatever would be required to get your ski experience going. From ski passes to renting your skis and shoes, they'll help you with that.
  • Gulmarg skiing prices are different for both phase 1 and Phase 2. For Phase 1, the Gulmarg skiing price is around USD 10 (INR 700), and for Phase 2, it is USD 16 (1300 INR). However, for foreign nationals, the price differs. For phase 1, it would range around USD 16 (INR 1210), and for phase 2, it is USD 25 (INR 1900)
  • While on your skiing journey in Gulmarg, you can opt for various serene and beautiful places to stay in Gulmarg and spend some days disconnected from your busy schedules. You can spot guest stays and luxury resorts with a varied price range. Your accommodation budget could look anywhere between USD 20-60 (INR1500-3000) per night.

You can even opt for Gulmarg skiing packages and plan all your bookings and travel without any hassle. You can get a variety of Gulmarg skiing packages that you can choose from according to your needs and suitability.

Different types of snow sports in Gulmarg

There are several kinds of snow sports that you can go for while in Gulmarg. Such as:

Cross country skiing:

You can go cross-country skiing at a meager price in Gulmarg. You can easily rent skis from a governmental rental shop or get one in the Gulmarg skiing package and have fun while skiing on the luxurious paths.

Heli-skiing:

Interestingly, Gulmarg is the only place in India that provides heli-skiing. Heli-skiing involves being dropped down from a helicopter from a height and then skiing down the hill. It is as exciting and as adventurous as it sounds.

Tobogganing:

Similar to snowboarding, this enjoyable snow sport will help you enjoy sliding on the snow just without the skis. Interesting and fun, this can be a must-try if you don't want to go completely out there but still want to enjoy the snow.

Snow trekking:

With breathtaking landscapes, you won't be able to resist going on various hikes in Gulmarg. With beauty surrounding you from all sides, hikes in Gulmarg are a refreshing way to get in touch with nature.

Ice skating:

Hire some skates from the government rental shop, and live your fantasies by ice skating in the designated ice ring. You can even play various sports in the ice ring or dance like the people in your favorite fairy tales.

How difficult is skiing in Gulmarg:

Snow Skiing in Gulmarg is fit for all levels. Whether you are a ski expert, an intermediate, or a beginner- Gulmarg is the perfect ski location for you. Being Asia's one of the best skiing resorts, it offers ski experts to help you out with your skiing and make sure that you have a wonderful time.

If you are someone who doesn't know anything about skiing, then you can get off with your skiing experience from Kongdori to the village, but if you are someone who wants to go all-in with your skiing adventure, then there are a lot of slopes and journeys that you can take from Phase 2 as well.

Skiing, if done right and under the proper guidance, isn't challenging. All you need is a flair, confidence, and an excellent technique to ski down the slope.

Best time for skiing in Gulmarg:

The best time for skiing in Gulmarg is December to February. Ideally, The best time to indulge in snow skiing in Gulmarg is when the paths are covered in snow, i.e., the month of January and December. This is when the snowfall has just occurred, and the temperature is chilly and dry.

Moreover, sipping on a hot cup of Kahwa and enjoying a bowl of maggie are just added pleasures during this season.

However, you might see a price increase during this time, but we can assure you that it will. The skiers need to be worth it.

Gear guide and checklist for skiing:

Clothing and footwear

Packing for snow skiing in Gulmarg should be light but efficient. Start by packing layers of clothing along with athermal wear to keep you warm through the negative temperature. Moreover, make sure that you also carry thermal pants to wear underneath to keep your body warm and help you ski more efficiently.

Also, don't forget to pack comfortable clothing as well to rest through the night. Make sure that they are comfortable but also warm. A pair of joggers and a warm sweatshirt could work as good loungewear for Gulmarg.

Make sure that you also carry warm scarves, caps, gloves, and socks for yourself to keep you warm throughout.

For skiing purposes, you should get with yourself a quick-drying towel and some quick-drying T-shirts to wear underneath your layers of clothing.

Moreover, you can purchase good-fitting ski boots and warm socks to keep your feet warm. Furthermore, you can also rent ski boots from Gulmarg.

Baggage

A backpack of around 60 liters would be perfect to fit all the essential items for skiing in Gulmarg. A small pack to tie around yourself for mobile phones, camera equipment, and necessary documents will also be beneficial while traveling.

While skiing or just traveling in the snow, the snow can make the items wet. Thus it becomes imperative to waterproof the items by either covering them in plastic bags or just covering your backpack and other bags with a waterproof casing.

Other necessities

It is important to carry all your toiletries and other necessary items with you when you are traveling. From caps to protect you from the sun to good quality sunscreen lotions, you might even want to take your sunglasses with you.

Make sure to carry your hygiene products, from body wash to shampoos to lip balm and other necessary items.

Moreover, women can also carry the products they might need, such as tampons, menstrual cups, sanitizer, sprays, or equipment to tackle unhygienic toilet conditions.

Also, make sure to carry the required medicines and a first aid kit. The first aid kit could have medication for headache, fever, or cold, along with bandaids, cotton, and an antiseptic wash and creams. Ensure that you have all the medicines you might need during your travel.

Essential documents

Your essential documents would include your identity proofs, such as your aadhar card if you're an Indian. All the papers that you would need to travel, such as the papers for your pre-booking or booking time. It is advisable to carry all essential documents in a file so that you don't misplace anything. Also, as these are the times of the pandemic, you should need to carry your RTPCR report and vaccination report.

Skiing equipment

For skiing, you would need some equipment that could be either hired from a local government shop or purchased from Gulmarg. The cost of hiring these gear is USD 10-20 (INR 800-1000).

The skiing equipment would also be provided in the Gulmarg skiing packages that you can easily avail of.

The equipment would be:

  • A helmet
  • Eye gear
  • Good quality skis
  • Ski boots
  • Skiing poles

You can easily avail this equipment through Gulmarg skiing packages and save yourself the trouble of hunting for this equipment.

Skiing in Gulmarg itinerary:

Skiing in Gulmarg is a fun and thrilling experience. But it is always better to plan it out beforehand so that the days after reaching Gulmarg don't get in chaos. And what's better than having a fantastic Gulmarg skiing package to help you out with your itinerary, right?

Here is a basic itinerary that you could follow and would be included in the package.

The itinerary is a 6 day and 5-night long itinerary.

  • Day 1: This day will mostly be about traveling. From Srinagar, take a 2-hour long drive to Gulmarg while visiting the beautiful landscapes and magnificent mountains. Settle down in your accommodation and have a great lunch and dinner while enjoying the surroundings and beautiful landscapes. You can go for a walk around Gulmarg to enjoy the beautiful markets of the valley or relax in your accommodation while sipping on warm Kahwa.
  • Day 2: This day is high time for you to get accustomed to the skiing course in Gulmarg that is your priority for this journey. Wake up to the fragrance of a good breakfast, and then go ahead with your training sessions with the allotted instructor and equipment. You will learn the basics of skiing on the baby slopes. Later on, after the training session, you can go back to the resort and indulge in a delicious dinner and some time under the stars.
  • Day 3: This is the day to revise the previous day's techniques and learn snowplowing. After having a nice breakfast, it is time to go for a firm revision of the previous day's skills. Learn to snowplow and practice it.
  • Day 4: Learn skiing with increased ski speed. It's time to take the skiing adventure to the next level by speeding up the skiing. You will also practice parallel ski positions and advance with your skiing course.
  • Day 5: Since the techniques are learned now, it's time to practice and polish the skills. Practice all you have learned on baby slopes- from parallel ski positions to snowplowing.
  • Day 6: This brings us to the end of the skiing course, and thus it's time to go real with skiing. Venture onto practicing your skiing techniques on Phase 1 and bask in the glory of skiing as you conquer this incredible adventure. Head back to Srinagar and stay for a night in great accommodation and enjoy the night in Srinagar.

Getting fit for skiing in Gulmarg:

The skiers need to be in a fit condition for the skiing adventure. Though skiing doesn't require any prior experience, it would be good if you could be fit and energetic for the journey.

You can delve into jogging, running, swimming while making yourself suitable for skiing.

Snow Skiing in Gulmarg is of its kind experience. With the Skiing course in Gulmarg, you can not just experience the beauty of the white mountains but could also learn to ski on Asia's highest slope.

With the best skiing resorts in Gulmarg, you can make the adventurous soul in you satisfied and fulfilled.