Though India’s Northern belt is covered with the greatest mountain range but Skiing is still not a known sport to many.
Skiing is offered at several locations in India like Himachal Pradesh, Uttranchal and Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh but the high cost of travel and equipment, poor infrastructure and not enough cable cars and chairlifts refrain people from exploring this sport.
Only a few Ski resorts in India are well devloped and qualify as most of them lack the facility of Cable cars or chairs and groomed trails with sign boards. Without these it gets difficult for anyone to enjoy this sport.
In India the best places to Ski are :-
1. Gulmarg , Jammu and Kashmir – Gulmarg is by far, the best place to Ski in India and can claim to be World Class with regular flights, good road access, snow quality, luxury accommodation, lift infrastructure and availability of ski equipment. With an hour flight from Delhi, you land in Srinagar and another 2 hours drive takes you to Gulmarg where there are 6 Bunny slopes with different gradients and levels for beginners and higher slopes for professional Skiers.
With 5 international level Poma Ski lifts and one of the highest Cable car in the world, the Gulmarg Gondola which travels a distance of 2.7 km with a vertical rise of 1280 metres and takes skiers to a point of 3980 mts, Gulmarg is one of the best Ski resort in India. The resort also has a sophisticated avalanche warning system, to flag off any trouble.
2. Solang Valley , Himachal Pradesh – The next best Ski destination after Gulmarg is, Auli loacted about 14 km from Manali. Snow conditions are also equally good and easy access from Bhutur airport with only a 2 hour drive. Infrastructure wise Solang is lagging behind with the cable car covering only 1.3 km and a 500 mts slope to the top of Mt Phatru and only one Poma Ski lift.
3. Auli , Uttrakhand -Though its the most prisitine desitnation with beautiful views of garhwal mountains but reaching there is not easy. After an hours flight from Delhi, an 8 hour tiring drive over the mountain roads will take you there. To get to Auli during the peak skiing season of Jan–Mar, one has to alight at Joshimath and take the 3.5km cable car ride, as the road itself is often closed due to snow. Also, Auli presents very limited options to stay, and even using Joshimath as your base and going up and down by cable car is not recommended, as the system could break down in bad weather.
Unlike Gulmarg and Solang Valley, Auli has south-facing slopes, so the actual skiing season is limited to a month—from 15 Jan–15 Feb, when the snow cover is deep enough. With limited rescue services and only one Poma Ski lift and chairlift, Auli doesnt have great stay options.
4. Narkhanda , Himachal Pradesh – With stunning views of high snow peaked mountains, Narkhanda is located at an altitude of 2708 mts. There are many apple orchards as well as dense forests, which is apart from the famous slopes of Narkanda, which are apt for skiing and winter sports.This Himachal town also has a portable ski-lift, but it gets wheeled out when the season begins—not for serious skiers at all.
5. Kufri , Himachal Pradesh – With beautiful scenery all around, Kufri is a small little town in Himachal Pradesh which experiences a lot of tourists , mainly skiers from all over India. The ideal months for skiing here is November to February.