Gulmarg ski resort in the Himalayas, India

Gulmarg

The resort is located 52 km from the city of Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, India. Fly to Delhi, then take a domestic airline flight to Srinagar. You land in Srinagar, get your luggage, fill in the tourist form, from Srinagar after 40 km you reach the village of Tangmarg. The village of Gulmarg, located at an altitude of 2700m, can be reached by mountain serpentine (12 km) by jeep, bus or even on foot. Then two lines (phases) elevator (gondola) will take you to the upper line of the ridge at an altitude of 4000 m. From where you not only have an unforgettable view of the Kashmir valley and the Great Himalayan Ridge, but also the virgin area of almost endless skiing, whose area is mostly limited to the ability to roll down to the right point.

Reviews (4)

A peculiar place, it is interesting to come once to ride in the snow. Cheap instructors, so you can come and learn too. Reasonable enough for the money if you count on two weeks, plus possible delays. As everywhere else in India, from travels.

General Information

India’s largest ski resort is located at an altitude of 2650 meters above sea level on the slope of Mount Afarwat Himalayan range Pir Panjal. When the weather is good from here you can see the ninth highest peak in the world – Nanda Parbat (8126m). The vast Gulmarg skiing area can be conventionally divided into three zones from top to bottom: the upper, middle and lower. The upper zone is characterized by almost complete absence of trails, except for a couple of groomed slopes, as well as multi-directional slopes (aspects), couloirs, places rock and areas of trees below. For skiing is open only side of the ridge facing Gulmarg, the gorges and mountains on the other side – up to the actual border (demarcation line) between India and Pakistan, inhabited only by border guards and other army units. Riding is on the ribs, the bottoms of the couloirs, and the slopes between them. The slopes are mostly to the southeast or to the north, northwest. Landscapes of the upper zone are mostly alpine, and only in its lower part there are slopes covered with mountain birch (paper trees) or spruce (pine trees), without undergrowth. The shade from the trees additionally keeps the snow cover relatively loose on the south-facing slopes.

The upper zone is the most attractive for skiing in Gulmarg, as its area is huge and the virgin soil in the far corners is preserved for a long time. It is suitable for experienced riders who are confident in riding on the gravel that does not fear the steep slopes and firmly stand on the broken snow. In turn, the upper area of skiing is divided into a zone of safe skiing and backcountry zone.

Read more ” The vast Gulmarg area can be divided from top to bottom into three areas: the upper, the middle and the lower.

The upper zone is characterized by an almost complete absence of trails, with the exception of a couple of prepared ski outings, as well as multi-directional slopes (aspects), couloirs, in some places the rock and tree zones below. It has fairly simple reliefs: the top line of the ridge extends approximately from southeast to northwest, to the sides of it go ribs, which form the couloirs between them. Reliefs such as cirques, cliffs with large spans – practically do not occur. The altitude difference from the top of mountain Afarwat (4215 m), which is also accessible on foot or by skitrunner from the upper gondola station (G4) to the middle gondola station (G2-G3), which is located at an altitude of 3100m, is more than 1000m. Only the side of the ridge facing Gulmarg is open for skiing, the gorges and mountains on the other side – up to the actual border (demarcation line) between India and Pakistan, are inhabited only by border guards and other army units. There is also an army camp at the top of the ridge, where high army ranks periodically come for a glass of rum with a breathtaking view.

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Riding goes on the ribs, the bottom of the couloirs and on the slopes between them. The slopes, for the most part, face southeast or north, northwest. Accordingly, south-directed slopes receive more solar heat and have more protruding rocks and stones, and the snow cover on them is sometimes covered in crust or gets wet by mid-day at the bottom of the slopes.

Landscapes in the upper zone are mostly alpine, and only in the lower part of the zone are slopes covered with mountain birch (paper trees) or spruce (pine trees), without undergrowth. The shade from the trees additionally keeps the snow cover relatively loose on the south-facing slopes.

The upper zone is the most attractive for skiing in Gulmarg, as its area is huge and the virgin soil in the far corners is preserved for a long time. It is suitable for experienced riders who are confident in riding on the gravel that does not fear the steep slopes and firmly stand on the broken snow. Part of the slopes available from the chairlift can be used to teach the riders who are confident in riding the prepared slopes, as they mostly have a gentle slope angle. In turn, the upper zone of skiing is divided into safe area and a zone of backcountry skiing. The ski safe zone (ski area) is located within the boundaries of the central couloir (main bowl or gondola bowl), on the left downhill from the gondola line. It is monitored daily both by foreign avalanche experts, who open the second phase of the gondola only after checking the level of avalanche safety in this area, and by local ski patrol, who are constantly cruising within its boundaries during the skiing day.

In the diagram above, the safe ski area is highlighted in green and is suitable for riders who are confident on the powder. The zone is fully accessible from the upper gondola station (G4), and partially from the upper chairlift station. The backcountry area includes all other couloirs to the left and right of the central couloir. In the diagram it is highlighted in red. Access to the descents in this area is from the top station of the gondola. The top line of the ridge is passable and has a slight slope from the northwest to the southeast edge. Access to the start point is mainly by traverse on skis and boards in a southeasterly direction and on foot or on skitterboard to the northwest. The access to this ski area is allowed only with a well-equipped and prepared group that can render first aid to the injured person up to his/her evacuation from the slope, or to the groups accompanied by a professional guide. From the upper line of the ridge you can find a lot of interesting descents as the upper area to the station G3 and below to the station G1 and the nearby hotels, as well as a favorite of all riders Gulmarg descent to the Drang with an altitude difference of about 2000 m.

The middle zone is on the right, if you stand facing the slope, from the first phase of the gondola, or on the left, if you look down the slope, between the stations G1-G2. A deviation in the opposite direction takes you away from Gulmarg , into inconspicuous but steep and very rocky couloirs that lead to the Drang Valley. Leaving in them is fraught with loss of skiing days and forces for a very long and uninteresting descent, mostly crawling, to the village of Drang, and perhaps an overnight stay in the mountains, which may even kill the rider out of strength from frostbite or a meeting with a snow leopard. The thing is that the ridge, which is the line of the elevator, is the watershed between the plateau Gulmarga and Drang valley. In the right direction, to the left of the first phase of the gondola, it is limited only by your ability to roll out to your desired point on the Gulmarga Plateau or even behind it, on the military road along the ridge.

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This skiing area has a natural terraced terrain where good slope angles alternate with flattens, there are almost no rocks and stones. It has a coniferous, well-traveled, spruce landscape and, again, no undergrowth. Stumps and trunks of fallen trees form natural springboards. Keep in mind that even when following someone else’s trail, you should stay within the boundaries of this area relative to the first (G1-G2) phase of the gondola.

Access to the middle ski area is possible from the upper gondola station (G4) or the upper chair elevator station – from the left, downhill part of the upper ski area, as well as from the middle gondola station (G2-G3).

In the middle zone of skiing there is a track with several branches, corresponding to the blue route of the American classification, which is periodically served by the gondola. During the skiing day on the track runs a ski patrol. It is suitable for beginners, but, due to several steep walls, it is not suitable for beginners. The slopes outside the piste are for more experienced riders.

The lower ski area goes from Gulmarg (2700 m) down to the road between the village of Tangmarg (2150 m) and the mosque of Sufi mystic Babareshi (2400 m), so its altitude difference is about 500m.

It is similar to the middle skiing area, has a natural terraced terrain on which very good slope angles alternate with gradients, especially in its lower part, there are almost no rocks and stones. The coniferous terrain is without undergrowth and absolutely passable, it abounds in fallen tree trunks and stumps, which form natural springboards.

This skiing area is suitable only for experienced riders who are able to quickly roll over steep corners, wiggling between trees and minimizing falls into deep snow.

Within this area you can distinguish two directions of descents: north – towards Babareshi, and, east – in the direction of Tangmarg. The Babareshi direction is the most popular due to the steeper gradients and north-directed slopes. Of the three ski areas, the lower area is the least accessible due to its low altitude and the large amount of snow necessary to thoroughly cover all the irregularities of the terrain

Recommendations

The study area is located on the Gulmarga Plateau itself, in close proximity to the base station of the gondola (G1). In fact, it is several elevations on the nearer part of the ridge glade in the center of Gulmarg. It can be reached on foot within 1. read more “

Apharwat is 5 km high and offers thousands of acres of powders for every level. It is well known for the double black diamond (the most challenging) Shark’s Fin runs, and it also has the longest runs for intermediate skiers. read more “

The lower ski area runs from Gulmarg (2,700m) down to the road between the village of Tangmarg (2,150m) and the Sufi mystic Babareshi Mosque (2,400m), so its elevation difference is about 500m. more “

Elevators

All elevators in Gulmarg are made by the French company Poma. The Gondola’s cabins are designed for 6 people, sitting 3 back to back, although riders often sit 4 people per cabin, thus slowing down the queue. Gondola in. read more “

The Gulmarg – as it is

Gulmarg for people used to European and not so European ski resorts – a wonderland. The old-timers say that somewhere in the local mountains live yeti – snow people – short, human-like creatures, covered with hair and possessing tremendous strength. We have never met Bigfoot, but there are plenty of monkeys in the dumps around the hotels. This is a manifestation of the local peculiarities.

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Gulmarg

Gulmarg

Gulmarg

Gulmarg

Gulmarg

Gulmarg

Gulmarg

Gulmarg

Gulmarg

Gulmarg

Gulmarg

Gulmarg

Gulmarg

Gulmarg (1400-4138 m) was built in 1927 by the British. It is very far from European standards. On the usual domestic resorts it also has little resemblance. Some old-fashioned Gulmarg fully compensated by friendly and unobtrusive service and low prices.

Its specificity and the local color contributes to the stoic attitude of the local population to the hardships and deprivations. Winter is perceived as a natural disaster. As the inevitable evil. Since winter lasts only 2-2.5 months, it must only be endured.

The Gulmarg is probably very beautiful in the summer. High mountains, Himalayan pines, monkeys, mild climate. In winter, however, the local stoicism is somewhat stressful. The monkeys and pines remain the same as in the summer. The only difference is that temperatures can drop to -20 C at night.

About Hotels.

Since heating in local hotels is in its infancy, this can bring some inconvenience. Double glazing is also unknown to local builders.

If you are lucky and your room is equipped with central heating (and possibly with a stove-burner), then the temperature in the room above 17 degrees is difficult to achieve. And only when the heating is on. Heating in the rooms at best 17.00-20.00 and 7.00-9.00, but at this point the hot water is turned off (if it is). In the worst case (Hill Tor Hotel, room with electric heating) the temperature does not rise above 8 C. Water appears occasionally, but only cold. To live in a room with a fireplace and water in the morning in basins did not happen, and maybe this prevented us to fully appreciate the fallen on our share of the fullness of local comfort.

We were lucky to stay in three consecutive rooms. The room with central heating and a boler in the Hill Tor Hotel. A room with electric heating at the same Hill Tor. At the Pain Palace Platinum Hotel.

The room at Pain Palace Platinum was the best in the entire valley (this hotel is booked by Australian skiers for the entire season), but even there the temperature did not rise above 17 C. Since the pumps are electric heating system, respectively, with the loss of power off and the heating was turned off. But not more than 10 times a day. The cost of the room ranged from 1000 to 3000 rupees per day.

Electricity is also supplied in hotels also very peculiar. The voltage on the different phases, scattered on the different outlets in one room can range from 150 to 200 volts. Using shoe dryers and other pleasures of civilization can be very difficult. Sometimes the voltage drops below the starting voltage of daylight bulbs.

Gulmarg is an ideal resort for the brave of spirit, fully stocked with equipment and clothing. Sleeping bags are not at all superfluous at this resort.

About sustenance

Food at Gulmarg is easy on one hand. Each hotel has a restaurant where you are always ready to be served for your money. There are a number of outlets where you can taste the local cuisine.

On the other hand the local cuisine is quite specific. The abundance of spices makes many dishes unacceptable to Europeans. In the diet is completely absent beef and pork, but there is rice in all forms and manifestations.

Alcohol is also almost completely absent. You can find only local beer at corridor attendants for 200-250 rupees a bottle. 1 rupee 0,7-0,8 rubles.

About manners

Local service is simple and unobtrusive.

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Indian mentality, their slowness and bureaucracy leaves a mark. The elevator may work, but there is no attendant (just took and left), the ticket seller came back – the gondola stopped (out of electricity). The power came – it snowed. In a heavy snowfall elevator also does not work. Gondola works unstable, may work one turn. May include only the first turn, and the second will include only let’s say at 12:00, or may not turn on at all. In that case the queue to the lower station of the second queue is reminiscent of Cheget. But there is a significant difference. To get to the elevator is possible only on tickets.

About the skiing.

But all the above difficulties and deprivations can be forgiven and endured for the sake of the opportunities offered by the slope.

Skiing (for fans of Freeride) is fantastic. As the Himalayas block the way to the warm and humid air masses from the Indian ocean, there are no problems with snow. To say that there is a lot of snow is nothing to say. Fluff. A lot of fluff.

It is almost every day a rule rather than an exception, when virgin land is not thawed to the waist-deep or more.

The maximum height to which the second stage of the elevator elevators 4000 m. This is the most interesting part of the lift. Large differences in altitude, a good slope and huge fields. Soft snow. In terms of skiing – the place is excellent. Tracks as such are not present, driving vnetrassovoe, with many variations.

Skiing can be further diversified by walking up just above and orographically to the left of the upper station. Thus you can get into the neighboring couloir having the general roll-out to the elevator.

It is possible to go more to the right, but from there you can get only to the nearby villages and that if you know the way. This option is rather extreme, as there were cases of wandering skiers for several days and search by local rescuers.

If the elevator does not work, you can take a jeep and ride through the woods down into the village (Babareshi or Tangmarg), the feeling is inexpressible. And again, the snow, a lot of snow. A lot of snow!

Prices for skiing pleasures are approximately as follows. Elevator: 1 point – 100 rupees, 2 points 200. Car – 600 rupees per lift from Babareshi per car (6-7 people).

Snowfall in Gulmarg – it is SNEGOPAD with a capital letter. Visibility is sometimes limited to 5-10 meters. There is a lot of snow. Avalanche detectors and shovels are not superfluous at all. You should not go skiing alone.

About other pleasures

After completion of skiing, comes sadness and melancholy. There is nothing to do in the evening except for a hookah, but it’s for the lovers.

In the case of prolonged bad weather, you can arrange an excursion to Srinagar. At the same time to get a lot of adrenaline, ride a jeep on bald tires on the icy serpentine. But we must keep in mind that such a tour will take at least two days. And there is a lot to see in Srinagar. Srinagar is situated in a picturesque valley near the lotus lake. Srinagar is not only the city of famous floating houses since ancient times, it is also terraced Moghul Gardens, the “throne of Solomon”, the tomb of Moses, Shivalingam in Amarnath cave and the white marble mosque Hazratbal. But again, this is all to the amateur and depends heavily on the tensions in the region. You are unlikely to see so many armed people on the streets. Pakistan is actually behind the pass.

The trip to Gulmarg also quite possible to combine with a visit to other interesting places in India.

In general, the impressions for the 10 days spent there – excellent. The truth “to roll away” failed, but this is a tribute to the local specifics.

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A spoon of tar

However, in every barrel as usual has a spoon of tar. In our case the role of this spoon has played the choice of fellow travelers and the corresponding financial losses. When the decision to visit Gulmarg was made, the question arose about the way of getting there. At the recommendation of mutual friends we turned our attention to a certain Mr. Petrov.

Andrey Petrov introduced himself as a guide recruiting a group for a trip to Gulmarg. On direct communication we were promised that for our $2000 we would have no problems whatsoever, within reason. Visa included. Considering that the cost of the flight Moscow – Delhi – Moscow, was about $600. Delhi-Shrinagar $100 and Shrinagar-Gulmarg transfer $50-80, we fully expected that in addition to the transfer, this amount would at least include lodging. How naive we were.

The first call was an offer to change at the Delhi airport for $1000-$1500 minimum. By local standards, that’s a lot of money, enough to live and ride in Gulmarg for 10-14 days.

Upon arrival in Gulmarg, it turned out that accommodation, food, an elevator and the return trip to Srinagar were not included. The question immediately arose, what is included? Unfortunately, the answer to this question so far could not be obtained. However, as well as any financial report.

Could not get back and the rest of the amount. Neither directly in India. Not upon my arrival in Moscow. Repeatedly meetings were arranged, followed by vows to return every last penny of the remaining amount, but when the moment came, Mr. Petrov was either unavailable or extremely busy. And so eight times. At this point more than 9 months had passed since the trip to Gulmarg and probably could have taken a couple of hours out to settle their financial obligations, but it didn’t happen.

There is no doubt about the need to pay for the guide’s services. However, it would be nice to know what these services are and how much they cost. A commission of 100% of the trip costs seems a little excessive.

This behavior does not correspond to the behavior of a guide, which Mr. Petrov positions himself as. It looks more like the behavior of a person who wants to ride at someone else’s expense.

Short resume

  • Is it worth to go? It is obligatory! You will hardly find such a skiing and exoticism anywhere else.
  • Comfort is quite conditional.
  • There is nothing to do after the ride.
  • A trip to Gulmarg dovetails well with a visit to the other beauties of India.
  • Golden Triangle, Srinagar, Leh, Goa, optional.
  • Communications, in Gulmarg itself, only at intercoms. GSM does not work.

Approximate costs. 1 rupee. – 0.8 rubles. You can and should exchange dollars for rubles at the airport upon arrival. The exchange rate is quite adequate.

  • Moscow-Delhi-Moscow approx. $ 600
  • Delhi-Srinagar 100 US
  • Srinagar-Gulmarg 50-80 US
  • Riding 100 rupees. – 1 turn. 250 rupees. – 2nd turn.
  • Riding mostly on the 2nd turn. In a day descend more than 4 times is difficult.
  • Accommodation 1000 to 3000 rupees per day.
  • Meals 300-600 rupees.

P.S. to the “spoon of tar”.

Two days after the publication of the article on RASC.RU Mr. Petrov contacted me and got a financial report and the rest of the sum paid, which helped me to clarify the costs of the trip. Report provided:

  • Tickets Moscow-Deli-Moscow : $635
  • Visa : $245
  • Delhi-Shrinagar-Delhi tickets : $135
  • Overweight : $15
  • Transfer Srinagar-Gulmarg : $25
  • Guide services : $700

What we spent directly in Gulmarg:

  • Accommodation and riding expenses : $900
  • Gulmarg-Shrinamarg return transfer : $25

Total : $2,675

Guide services included:

  • Obtaining visas
  • Purchase of tickets
  • Arranging 1 way transfers
  • 2 individual descents on the 1st turn
  • 2 group descents in a big company

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