Freeride in Gulmarg, Kashmir
In Gulmarg, Indian Kashmir, a few kilometers from Srinagar, a gondola lift take skiers from an altitude of 2700 m to 4000 m, opening up the vast north-east slope of Mount Apharwat to freeride lovers. The upper part is in open ground, with rather steep slopes, whereas below 3000 m one can ski in the coniferous and birch woods, down to Gulmarg or the neighboring villages.
Here, long and varied ski lines await you, often in powder snow, plus an impressive panorama over the 7000m of Kashmir and the giant Nanga Parbat.
The contrast between the town of Srinagar with its characteristic waters and the snow capped mountains of Kashmir contributes to the special fascination of this rather exotic trip.
We can arrange a full week of freeride, utilizing the lifts, or a mix of freeride and ski-touring. Heliski is also an option, with the possibility to book just one day or more.
Snow quantity is very impredictable in this region. In january you may have a 2-3 m or more snowpack already , or almost zero if winter started dry. We always check the local conditions prior to confirming our trips to Gulmarg.
LOCAL GUIDE (optional)
Assistance of a local guide is recommendes as to: get access to the best ski lines and avoid avalanche zones; arrange at best the return to the village after descents to other valleys; hassle-free access to military controlled zones (in case of ski-touring)
In Gulmarg there is ample choice of hotels, from basic (wood stove heating and limited hot water) to luxury. We generally stay at a comfortable hotel, providing full heating and hot showers, good cuisine (kashmir, chinese, or western), but not luxury. We offer luxury hotel upon request.
ORGANIZATION OF SKI DAYS
Please note that ski lifts (gondola and chair lift) do not always work regularly, and this is beyond our control. The upper section of the lifts may be closed due to avalanche danger; in this case it is possible to ski from the middle station (3030 m), mostly in forest.
In some areas skiing off-piste or ski-touring is not allowed.
Due do the nearby border with Pakistan, indian military staff check the area and also how tourists wander around. Some ski-touring itineraries require a formal permit from the military authorities. Solo tours are not recommended.
Arrival by international flight to Delhi, then domestic flight to Srinagar. Reception at the airport and transfer by minivan to Gulmarg (about 2 hours). Accommodation in a hotel or lodge in the village.
Off-piste skiing on the vast slopes of Mount Apharwat. The initial pace must be controlled, to ensure the best adaptation to high altitude. Many possible lines, with always different descents up to Gulmarg, Tangmarg, Drang, Babshi. At the end of the descent, possible recovery by jeep and return to the cable car.
In the morning transfer to Srinagar. Boarding for the return flight.
VARIATIONS OR EXTENSIONS
With the extension of one or two days, it is possible to include in this trip:
a) off-piste descents on the west side (Skark’s Fin) of Mount Apharwat, and in the Drang valley;
b) ski mountaineering: from the upper station of the cable car, short ascent to the summit of Mount Apharwat 4130 m, then ski the south-east slopes in the Drang valley and overnight stay in a hut; the following day: ascent to the 4800m Sunshine Peak, with a 2500m long descent to Drang.
From Gulmarg, Tangmarg and Baramulla there are many possibilities for ski tours over 1 or 2 days, with altitude differences of 1000 – 2000 m and more.
From Yusmarg, east of Srinagar, one can make the ski tour of Sunset Peak 4745m, usually in 2 days.
c) heliski: you can take a single day, or join an all-inclusive package with 6 net days of heliskiing. Genereally we fly from Gulmarg, with possible descents on the south side of Apharwat or from the many peaks of the Pir Panjals south of Gulmarg, such as Kounsarnag 3900 m and Tratakoti 4730 m ..
*** Other ski-mountaineering trips in India ***
> Ski touring in Kullu Valley, Manali: day trips or mini-expedition of 3-6 days
> Ski expedition in Kashmir: Nun 7135 m and / or Kun 7077 m, Kashmir
> Ski expeditions in Garwhal Himalaya: Kedar Dome 6830m, Satopanth 7075m, Bundarpunch 6102m
> endless other possibilities, even peaks never skied before!
Contact us to request a customized programme.
Trip dates, Duration, Departure
The period of time given in the trip description sheet is indicatively the most recommended for optimun conditions for the planned activities. Different periods are possible, especially during season with special climate situations. Duration is referred to the “standard” programme as per description sheet, however it could change according to the local conditions and/or the team’s requirements. If the trip is included in the Scheduled Trips list (yearly planner), the departure date is the one given in the planner; otherwise it will be decided according to the requests we have received. In any case we suggest to contact us for more precise information. In customized trips, departure date and duration are established according to customer’s request
By means of the scores given in the trip decsription sheet we wish to provide an indicative assessment of the challenges to be expected, divided in the following three categories:
Grade 1: adult performing a minimum sport activity (4-8 hours/week), or teenager in medium fitness conditions
Grade 2: adult performing sport activity (8-16 hours/week) or teenager in good fitness conditions
Grade 3: adult performing regular sport activity (16-20 hours/week) or teenager in very good fitness conditions
Grade 4: adult only, regularly performing sport activity and intense training (more than 20 hours/week)
Grade1: no prior experience in the activity is required, just a natural predisposition
Grade 2: prior experience in the activity as beginner to medium level
Grade 3: prior experience in the activity at medium to high level, with regular practice since min. 3-5 years
Grade 4: excellent technical skills with long experience in the activity (more than 5 years)
Grade 1: no prior experience in adventure travel id required, just a positive attitude to adapt
Grade 2: prior, yet limited, experience in adventure travel, with a strong attitude to adapt and determination
Grade 3: prior experience in adventure travel including remote area and wilderness, or extreme wheather, or uncertainty in route finding
Grade 4: prior experience in adventure travel including remote area and wilderness, or extreme wheather, or uncertainty in route finding, strong determination to overcome unforeseen events
The type of accomodation as planned is indicated in the trip sheet (hotel, lodge, tents, etc..).
The means of local transfers are indicated as planned (flight, bus, 4WD vehicle, ferry, etc.). Some changes are possible in relation to the actual availability on site and/or the terrain and wheather conditions.
Service included and Prices
We do not have a price list. Quotes are sent on request only. Details of services included, excluded, or optionally available, will be specified in the quote and confirmed at the time of booking. Prices depend on number of participants and on the specific requirements of the group. They will be definitely set at the time of booking after definiton of all trip details and confirmation of dates. Special prices can be granted according to number of participants, and/or for pre-established groups, clubs and associations, guides with own clients, active athletes, tour operators and travel agents, journalists, physicians, rescue operators, schools, staff of organization running an humanitarian or research project.