I have been so out of touch in last 10 days. It’s been bumper to bumper non stop trip and tomorrow I head off to Srinigar, Kashmir. Then on to Gulmarg for a week of exploration skiing/snowboarding. Cannot wait!
Have great faith in the team from Australia, Ski Himalaya, who I booked the tour with and our local hosts, Kashmir Powdercats.
Here is an idea of a rough itinerary, but don’t worry, I will make sure to post a blog for each day of this great adventure!
Kashmir Powdercats = Local Road Transport + Mountain Guiding Services
Whatever the weather rest assured – riding with the Kashmir Powdercats means you’ll make the most of the incredible snow riding on offer during your short stay in Gulmarg. When you sign on with Kashmir Powdercats, you enjoy the benefits of our local mountain knowledge plus protection against disappointment if a Himalayan snowstorm closes the upper gondola for part of your visit. If this happens you have private transport to and from the all-weather terrain below Gulmarg. This area has a huge number of descents through widely-spaced trees which are perfect for riding in bad weather.
Who knows what the weather will be like during your stay in Gulmarg. The following is a fictional week to show you how our full-time Mountain Companion Programme adapts to give you the best possible riding experience no-matter what weather you hit – sun, snow or blizzard.
Sunday: Met at Srinagar Airport and transfer to Gulmarg. Evening welcome from Kashmir Powdercats. Distribution of avalanche beacons.
Monday – Clear weather: Morning practice session with avalanche beacons. Warm up runs and orientation on lower gondola. Later, ascend gondola and see views from the top of Mt Apharwat. Option to ski/board down, or to ride the gondola back down to Gulmarg. At lunch or at the end of the day your Mountain Host makes sure you know the best way down from the mountain to your hotel – to make sure you enjoy the full benefits of your hotel’s ski-in ski-out location.
Tuesday – Snowing: Stage Two of gondola is closed. Our transport meets you at your hotel door and shuttles you to the top of the forested runs to Tangmarg. Repeated descents – over three kilometers in length – in this enchanting area. Advanced groups progress to steeper forested runs to Baba Reshi. Our road transport is co- ordinated by two-way radio and mobile phone so we can minimise, or eliminate, any waiting time before returning you to Gulmarg for your next run.
Wednesday – Snowing Again: Stage Two of gondola closed again. Repeat Tuesday! Expert groups might also ride from gondola mid-station, past Monkey Hill, to the valley floor. Later in the day our ‘cruiser’ group elects to return with their Mountain Host to the forested runs under Stage One of the gondola and our nearby hotels.
Thursday – Clear Weather: Opening of Stage Two of the gondola is delayed until after lunch while the ski patrol monitors avalanche risks and undertakes safety steps. Some guests opt for early descents through the forested slopes to the Baba Reshi shrine, where the views take on a new beauty in the clearer weather. Others are happy to spend the first part of the day scouting the runs under Stage One of the gondola with their Mountain Host. After lunch at our nearby hotels, the afternoon is spent riding the gondola to the top station at 3980 metres and plundering the safer aspects of Mt Apharwat’s Stage Two slopes.
Friday – Sunshine again: Most guests will wish to head for the gondola! Some guests may wish to participate in the ‘north-western’ descents which involve the walk to Mt Apharwat’s summit. This may include direct descents to points further along the golf course, from where our vehicles return you to the gondola base. Full ‘south-eastern’ descents from Mt Apharwat to the Tangmarg Valley floor are long and serious challenges, and by necessity are restricted to guests with the requisite skill, fitness and aptitude.
Saturday – Snowing lightly: Visibility is average, with snow expected to increase over the next three days. Some of our guests participate in further exploration of the Stage Two descents closer to the gondola. Some guests participate in a group which cruises the sheltered slopes under Stage One of the gondola, staying conveniently close to our hotels. Other guests participate in groups preferring the better visibility combined with steeper terrain of forested descents to the Baba Reshi Road.
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Image from indiatravelpal.com