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.
Nestled in the Pir Pajals, one of the six 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.
Gulmarg has one of the highest gondolas in the world. This gives access to a 5km wide ridge-line 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 200 to 300 other skiers and boarders. So you can always 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. This gives 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 untouched powder at the side of the trail that intermediate skiers will enjoy.
From the top-station you can cruise downhill along the ridge line for nearly 2.5km. You can take your pick of the numerous bowls, gullies and ridge lines 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 routes to choose. The long gentle runs down to Tangmarg or the shorter steeper lines down to the Baba Reshi Shrine.
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 untracked powder days after a storm! Where you can access the ski slopes easily and where you don’t need a helicopter to get there. And places where you can meet friendly locals and be immersed in totally different culture, without breaking the bank.
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 a gondola and to only pay a few dollars to do 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.
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