likes to be at his best, but often nothing short of a Himalayan peak can
extract it from him: Can compel him to be fittest in body, a lei-test in
mind and firmest in soul, so he is drawn to the mountain and the
mountain makes a man out of him". Sir Francis Young husband,
himself a great wanderer in the Himalayas, who conquered the Kamet peak.
The challenge of the snow covered terrain. And a streak of adventure in
man. That is what combines together in the realm of skiing-the fastest
and most fascinating winter sport. When the white mantle of snow covers
the lush green meadows and the firs and pines are sprinkled with silver,
its skiing time in the Himalayas. Some of the world's most popular
winter playgrounds are here, known for their interesting undulations and
Over the period of time Skiing is one sport that has gained immense
popularity all over the world and in the past decade have become quiet
popular sport because of the Himalayas. The awesome height and spread of
the snow clad Himalayas mountains, with the added advantage of powdered
snow are tempting enough to magnetize the adventurous spirits of the
avid skier, providing all the thrill and excitement attached to the
The vast open spaces above the
snowline have flung open to the skiing enthusiasts. What makes Skiing so
adventurous in Himalayas is the, perennial presence of snow and the
steep slope. Himalayas, with its vastness and ranges of different
heights has added variety to the sport.
Important Places of Skiing in Himalayas
A plethora of ski locales is in Jammu and Kashmir, the hills of Kumaon,
Himachal Pradesh and the North eastern states of India, have become the
favorite ski hideouts of adventure lovers.
52 kms. from Srinagar, at a height of 2730 meters (8750 ft), Gulmarg
has been rightly described as a paradise for skiers. In winter it is a
white wonderland offering some of the finest ski gradients anywhere in
the world. Girdled by pinnacles of white, the air seems to sparkle
against the snow and whisper, as skiers flash past. There is an intimate
contact with nature in the grandeur of coniferous mountains.
Gulmarg in winter is a complete Himalayan experience. The resort has
one T-bar lift, three very modern ski-lifts and a chair-lift. The
beginners' slopes make learning easy, with perfect snow conditions and a
gentle gradient. The Indian Institute of Skiing and mountaineering
conducts training courses of 10 and 21 days duration. Trained
instructors are available and equipment can be hired from govt. owned
ski shop. Instructors are also available for casual skiers.
Now heli-skiing at Gulmarg has opened up new vistas for enthusiasts.
Using some of the most advanced facilities for sports, helicopters lift
the heli-skiers to the peak of their choice from where they weave their
way down through what has been described as the best powder snow in the
For a change, you can enjoy a pony ride on any of the trails that lead
out from this saucer-shaped valley. Or if you opt for a day out
trekking, there are a number of picnic spots to choose from-all within a
few kms. radius : Alpather lake and Ningal Nullah. (Basically for
cross-country skiers). At the end of a fun-filled, thrill-packed day
skiers can stretch out before a log fire in a variety of accommodation.
Pithoragarh in the Kumaon hills
The easternmost hill district of Uttar Pradesh, bordering Nepal in the
east and Tibet in the north, Pithoragarh, is often called 'Miniature
Kashmir'. Nestling amongst the spectacular Kumaon Himalayas, at a height
of 5412 ft., in a small valley, barely 5 km long and 2 km wide,
Pithoragarh was an important centre, of the Chand kings of Kumaon. Apart
from the excellent skiing slopes, Pithoragarh and its environs, are
known for their profuse natural beauty, and fine temples.
In winter is a fairy-tale town holding out an irresistible invitation
to the skiers and snow-lovers. Located at a height of 6,000 ft. to 7000
ft., it offers breathtaking ski gradients at Solang Nala. Between
December and May ski enthusiasts from all over the world are attracted
to this Himalayan resort.
Its smooth-curved ridges and escarpments promise unmatched exhilaration
both to expert skiers as well as beginners. Those on a maiden adventure
can learn the exciting sport on some of the gentle slopes and gradients
with the help of experts. A winter carnival held around the middle of
February is a major attraction for the skiers.
If and when you feel like an outing of a different kind, there are many
picnic spots. Solang valley, Rahia Falls, Vashisht springs and Bhrigu
Lake-all within a few kilometers. Tramping into Manali town itself could
be very interesting. The friendliness and hospitality of the people is
Nestled in the picturesque ranges of Himachal, Narkanda at a height of
3143 Mts. is a quiet town, 64 kms from Shimla. In winter it coats itself
with thick, soft snow turning its gentle slopes into an excellent
playground. The pleasure of skiing makes Narkanda an attractive
destination for many during the winter months. Some of the very steep
and smooth slopes hereafter a different kind of skiing experience. These
slopes especially appeal to the cross country skier for. Narkanda is set
amid fine coniferous forests.
At a height of 2501 ms, girdled by awesome pinnacles, Kufri is a scenic
hill resort 16kms, from Shimla. From December to March it wears its
white winter garb, with snow trimmings on its tall green pines and
deodars. Its undulating slopes are fashioned by nature to exhilarate
lovers of winter sports.
Skiing facilities and training for beginners are available during the
best part of winter. Commands an awesome height of 3978 Mts. and is 51
kms. from Manali, Recently a new ski terrain developed here has fired
the imagination of ski lovers, as it offers a new challenge to their
spirit of adventure. This is the only place in the country where the
skiers can indulge in their favorite sport in summer as well as autumn.
With the onset of summer, the skiers begin arriving here-dotting the
silver-white backdrop with vibrant colors. The steep descents here are
truly inspiring. The setting is just perfect both for the beginners and
the seasoned. Skiing equipment is available and can be hired from the
Snow capped slopes of Auli are flanked by all, dense deodar forest
which cuts wind velocity to the minimum 16-kms from Joshimath on the
Badrinath route, Auli offers a 180 panoramic view of Himalayan peaks
like the Nanda Devi (7,817m) Kamet (7,756m) Mana Parvat (7,273) and
Dunagiri (7,066m) seemingly only a snow ball thrown away. Seasonal
skiers have a clean stretch of 10.20-kms of absolutely virgin slopes to
sport on. These slopes provide excellent opportunities for cross country
and downhill skiing events.
Dayara Bugyal, (Garhwal)
During winter Dayara Bugyal provides excellent ski slopes over an area
of 28 sq. kms. Dayara bugyal affords a panoramic view of the
breathtakingly beautiful Himalayas. There is a small lake in the area
that provides an excellent camping site.
Munsyari is situated at a distance of 66 kms. from Jauljibi and 127
kms. from Pithoragarh via Thal. Munsyari is the center as well as the
gateway of the Johar region. Munsyari is the base of treks to Milam,
Namik and Ralam glaciers. Khalia Top and Betulidhar are two high
altitude places that offer excellent condirions for skiing.
Manali, Kufri & Narkanda in Himachal Pradesh
Who can forget the ultimate destinations such as Kufri, Narkanda,
Manali in Himachal. The Manali Region in Himachal Pradesh also offers
scope for winters as well as summer skiing. It has excellent natural
slopes and in the summer months has limited skiing possibilities at
Narkanda. Last but not the least is Kufri, which has always been a
favorite among ski lovers who visit Shimla in winters. So prepare your
skies and zoom through the snow.
Other Ski Locales
Dayara Bugyal & Kush Kalyan in district Uttarkashi.
Panwali & Matya in district Tehri Garhwal
Mundali in district Dehradun
Bedni Budyal in Chamoli
Khalia Top in Munsiyari in Pithoragarh
Chiplakot Valley in Pithoragarh