Gulmarg, Kashmir Region, J&K
Heli-Skiing Base: Apherwat Peak
Facilities: T-Bars & Chair Lifts, Toboggans, Sledges, Snow
Skiing Season: December To March
One of the major attractions for adventure loving tourists is
the Himalayas. Gulmarg, the best ski resort in the Himalayas,
was first established by the British in 1927, when two British
Army Officers, Maj. Metcarp and Maj. Hadow had setup the Ski
Club of India at Gulmarg.
Skiing had become very popular during the pre-independence years
and Gulmarg used to host two main events, one each during
Christmas and Easter. In 1938-39 about 500 skiers are reported
to have participated in the Christmas and Easter ski races.
Gulmarg's atmosphere can generally be identified with 1940's and
50's European skiing—‘the Alps of good old days’. It has good
sunshine as well as good snow.
Gulmarg holds a position as one of the highest lift-served ski
resorts in the world. This is due to setting-up of a Gandola
Cable Car Lift from Gulmarg to Apharwat top. Presently, only the
first section of the Gandola, from Gulmarg to Kongdori is
operational, giving a downhill ski run of about 3 kms. In
addition, three ski lifts and one chair lift also service the
resort, which are suitable for beginners and intermediate-level
The skiing season in Gulmarg usually commences before Christmas
(around middle of December) and continues till middle of April.
In January-February, 1998 the first National Winter Games of
India were held at Gulmarg, for which the facilities were
enormously improved and upgraded. The resort acquired two Kasse
Bohrer snow beating machines used for preparing skiing slopes,
and five snowmobiles, which can be made available for going up
the mountain. Good quality equipment, including skis, boots,
sticks, gloves and goggles are available
on hire on the spot from the Government-run ski shop. There are
also trained instructors available for guiding the tourists.
Gulmarg is ideally suited for learning skiing, as it is probably
the cheapest ski resort in the world.
Some time back, the famous French skier Sylvain Saudan, had
started Heli-skiing in the Himalayas for European skiers. He
would take the skiers by helicopter on top of Gulmarg mountain
and other peaks in the area from where they would ski down the
immense Himalayan slopes. This programme has been suspended for
the time being.
The most enjoyable aspect of a winter sojourn in Gulmarg is the
friendly atmosphere. It is like being in a family where
everybody knows every one else.