Gulmarg offers some magical skiing. A new Gondola takes skiers to the heights where crisp snow makes skiing a delight. Some of the best slopes in the country for beginners and intermediate skiers are available at Gulmarg. Skiing equipment is available on hire from the Ski-Shop. In winter Gulmarg’s natural slopes and inclines turn into the country’s premier skiing resort. Not all tourists who visit in winter come for skiing. Tobogganing, the most popular among them requires no skill. No skill is required – a flat wooden board is taken up the hill and is allowed to descend downhill. There are also snow scooters and snow bobbing.
In fact if one talks about skiing in J&k, it is only about Gulmarg as it has one of the most renowned skiing resort in Asia, when it comes to facilities and surrounding ecstasies. It also has the distinction of being the highest lift served resort in the world. Gulmarg is a great place for total beginners. They can learn to ski on the two Poma ski-lifts on the snow covered golf course. There are slopes that are apt for people with all levels of skills. You will see even young kids skiing on relatively easier slopes using a wooden board and professionals swarming on tougher looking tracks. Gulmarg was also the host to the first winter games in the year 1998.
To start your skiing pleasure, you can choose the height from which you are comfortable. If you think you are good enough, step into the gondola lift and roll up to the top of Apherwat mountain at about 13000 ft from where you can slide down. As and when you reach the top of the mountain, you will notice the instant difference, the place is unimaginably quiet, exquisitely lonely and chillingly cold. The winds exaggerate the feeling of biting in the air. But you probably won’t mind it as you will be looking at the most spell-bounding scene you would have ever seen. Right in front of you are the twin peaks of Nun and Kun and to your left is an 8000 m plus mountain which is either K2 or Nanga Parbat. After being satiated just slide down the gentle but unpredictable slopes of Apherwat.
SKIING FACILITIES AVAILABLE
The facilities that are available here are the best in Asia. There are skiing schools that train the beginners on how to handle the powdery snow and the precautions that one must take while skiing. There are shops that give the equipment required on hire. And the gears and sequipment provided is as good as you will get anywhere else in the world. There are good medical facilities as well in the region that takes care of any mishap that occurs on the slopes. Avalanche control facilities are also there but they need to be stepped up a bit.
Other forms of skiing are also practiced on the snow-covered slopes of Gulmarg. The most famous of them is the Heliskiing. Gulmarg resort is the only resort in entire Asia that provides the facility of hail-skiing. In this, you will be dropped off on the tip of the hill from where you will ski downhill with a far greater speed than in normal skiing. This definitely is more thrilling and scintillating than ordinary skiing but the prospective dangers are also higher. A person who is new to this sport should best avoid it till he knows what skiing is all about.
It is unbearably cold here, so better dress yourself in the thickest woolen clothes and some waterproof material as well. The time to come to Jammu and Kashmir for a splendid skiing experience is from the month of December till March end. During Christmas and easter, the number of people that come here is simply astounding. And many of them are coming here for second or the third time. You might be coming here for the first time, but after your stint with Gulmarg and its snow, you too will be one of those who are making plans for their next skiing trip to Jammu and Kashmir.