The winter season in India is a fascinating time with most of northern India enjoying snowfall and wonderful weather. With fresh-fallen ice flakes, biting cool breeze and sky-touching mountains, the various destinations in India are sufficient enough to give you an adrenaline rush. And if you are someone who loves to explore snow-clad mountains then skiing in India will offer you a golden chance to indulge in such expeditions.
Gulmarg – this small Swiss village takes you on an epic skiing journey offering staggering views and snow-clad terrain that is perfect for the sport. You can ski on the naturally groomed 450m slope of Kongdori or challenge yourself by skiing the 800m ridge at Apharwat Peak. Gulmarg scores on all fronts: regular flights, good road access, snow quality, luxury accommodation, lift infrastructure, and availability of ski equipment, and is also easily accessible. The absolute top-end place to stay in Gulmarg is The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa, Hotel Highlands Park, and The Vintage Gulmarg. All these resorts are spacious, well maintained, and hold superbly trained staff. You can also ride the high cable car ride called the Gulmarg Gondola which is Asia’s largest cable car project.
Dayara Bugyal - is one of the most scenic skiing spots in India and has lush grasslands and steep snowy slopes. Dayara Bugyal overlooks the snow-laden Himalayan peaks such as Draupadi ka Danda, Srikanth, John Lee. It is situated amid two snow-clad peaks – Bandar Poonch and White Peak, that turns into an amazing skiing destination as it is completely covered in thick snow, ideal for the best skiing experience. This place has slopes that vary from easy to difficult and for beginners, there is even a ski training institute. It is also popular as a camping spot that offers a completely tranquil environment. One can stay here in tents as there are no accommodation facilities, although there are nearby options such as The Goat Village, Dayara Resort and Garhwal resort nearby within range of 2- 3 km.
Kufri - A hidden gem in Himachal Pradesh, is a popular destination for snow skiing in India. Surrounded by tall deodar trees and green pines, Kufri provides a calm and serene experience to visitors. The winter season covers the town with a nice white sheet of snow and the scenery just looks beautiful. Kufri attracts many tourist skiers which are ideal for skiing and are a treat for skiers both beginners and advanced. Kufri is also the venue for the annual winter sports festival organized by HPTDC. Few places such as The Twin Tower Hotel, Hotel royal tulip, and Ocent Kufri Valley Retreat provide good hospitality and serve amazing food. You can easily book a cab or take a bus from Shimla to Narkanda and travel via road enjoying the beautiful scenery.
Narkanda is a small secluded town in Himachal Pradesh at a height of 2708 m above sea level. High snow-clad mountains form the town’s backdrop mesmerize the tourists that come here looking for skiing in India. Both amateurs and experts can enjoy a ride through the snow here with slopes of varying difficulty available. The skiing destination is easily accessible by all modes of transport being readily available. The best time to visit Kufri is from October to February. You can stay here are Harsh Villa, Hotel Snowflake, and also accommodation facilities provided by Himachal Tourism, the HPTDC hotel.
Auli - located in the Gharwali hills at an altitude of 2500 to 3000 meters with just the perfect amount of snow on them. There is also a 500m long ski-lift and 800m long chair-lift to take the skiers on top of the mountains. It is the most preferred skiing destination in Uttarakhand because it offers a well-maintained, pristine retreat away from the confines of bustling city life. The Places to stay here are Cliff Hotel and Vikas Nigam hotel being the absolute best. Although reaching Auli is a task, that takes about 8 Km from Dehradun airport and one has to take the 3.5km cable car ride from Joshimath.
With increasing popularity comes an influx of ski packages, travel options and activities. It is important to correlate this with your intended purpose of skiing. For certified safety courses, institutions are advised, since they offer safe and certified pre-courses. It is always good to be prepared, then come home with an injury. But no worries, having fun while being cautious is what traveling is about.
Pick up your ski gear, strap up, and let the adrenaline follow!