Skiing in Gulmarg: A Beginners (budget) guide

#1 Mar 15th, 2015, 18:59
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  • Spandana Araga is offline
#1
Hi,

Hope I'm posting this in the right section!

As the name suggests this review is aimed at being a brief guide for beginners interested in planning a budget skiing trip to Gulmarg.

When & how long:

The snow fall in Gulmarg (usually) starts in mid Jan and often continues till mid March. This hillock is a delightful winter wonderland in this period! It's beautiful white powdery slopes as far as your eyes can see!

You should ideally plan for at least 3-4 full days here to pick up the basics of Skiing.
Skiing is possible from 10am to 4pm daily unless the weather conditions are particularly bad (but dont let a little bit of falling snow get your way!)

Lessons & Equipment:

You can get a decent local instructor for a whole day starting at Rs700-1000 per day. You can always enquire for one at the government ski shop. Would highly recommend you go for one on one instruction as this will allow you to learn much faster in your limited time. We realised this after slightly slow
day 1!

There is a Government ski shop by the beginners slopes. Ski boots, blades and sticks can be hired at Rs300 per day. Preferable to hire from here than through guides as it's cheaper and better quality.

How we progressed:

We are beginners and in not terrible physical shape. We spent the first two days on the beginners slope which is only about 400m long and not very steep. Day 1 was bit slow as the two of us has only 1 instructor and also we had to keep climbing back up the hill for a rerun. (We hired a porter for Rs 500 to carry up our skis- alternately work out a deal with your ski guide!). We got a bit steady on the skis by end of day 1, and so from day 2 we started using the hand cable to glide up the slope on our skis- this is run by government and costs Rs 200 for the whole day. Of course, we fell a lot! But this doesn't particularly hurt due to the lovely powdery condition of the snow

By end of day 2, we sufficiently mastered breaking and turning for our instructors to certify that we could try the bigger slopes. Now this is where the real fun begins!! (And hence my advice that you plan for a minimum of 3/4 days.)

The Gulmarg gondola is the world's second highest operating cable. With your initial practice of 2/3 days you should hopefully be good enough to take this up till phase 1 and ski down the 3km stretch. The views on the way up and down are out of this world! We had quite a few falls still on the way but it's all part of fun. It's Rs 600 for a full day ski pass which your guide will help you get. The queues were not bad at this period. The gondola only operates in good weather conditions.

Do take the ride up to phase 2 at additional cost for some fantastic views. Please note that you will not be able to ski down from there till you gain a lot more expertise though. Phase 2 is closed even more often than phase 1 due to weather conditions so depends on your luck.

Getting there:
Srinagar is the closest airport and it will take you about 2 hrs to reach Gulmarg from here. The prepaid cab (Rs1500) will take you till Tanmarg from where you have to hire vehicles with chains for the snow (Rs 700-1000 based on your bargaining skills.)

Where to stay:
pick a hotel not far from the Gondola on Google maps If this is a skiing trip. Even distance of 700m will take you about 20-25 mind to walk in the snow. Only other option is hiring sledges ( but I found it very uncomfortable having another person pull me! If you want to try , they will charge between Rs 150-500 depending on your bargaining skills and distance from hotel). Some budget hotels close by are pine palace, The meadows resorts (where we stayed), flurosense, gulmarg resorts and affarwat. These are in Rs 2700-5000 range depending again on crowd and bargaining)

Contacts:
-Cab from srinagar airport to Gulmarg-Rs.2500 inclusive of chain vehicle from Tanmarg. Ahmed- 094-197-29634

-Our ski guides were two friendly chaps, Zahoor ( 097 97 765060) and his brother Bilal (+91 99 06 668136 ). They charged us Rs1000 per day per person.

Happy skiing !!

Side note:
For those with 2+ weeks to spare, the Indian Institute of Skiing & Mountaineering in Gulmarg has a 2 week course which I believe is very professional and costs 12k for those above 25(boarding/lodging/ equipment and training) .Sufficient information is available on the same online.
#2 Mar 15th, 2015, 19:48
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  • spgupta1975 is offline
#2
Spandana,

Welcome to Indiamike and thanks for sharing such good information.
#3 Apr 15th, 2015, 19:04
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  • Enlightened Soul is offline
#3
Vow, that is Great info. I have been to Gulmarg three times but always kinda thought sking was not-so-easy-to-learn. Now I wish I had read this earlier.
Question- Do you know what is the minium age criteria for kids? And fitness level?
#4 Apr 20th, 2015, 16:08
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  • spgupta1975 is offline
#4
You need to have good fitness level, as first you are at high altitude , next for beginner it required lot of efforts, even many feel exhaustive in 15-30 mins of skiing.
#5 Jan 3rd, 2018, 21:37
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Dec 2017
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Ahmedabad
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  • shailu90210 is offline
#5
Thanks Spandana for sharing this really useful information and tips. We are planning a trip this February and plan to do some skiing ourselves. You did not mention about JKTDC facility, would you recommend it, if not then can you provide your reasoning for that? Is it at a distance from gondola or any other local information which you may have got? Also is there any discount applicable for opting for multi day skiing package?

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