Powder Ski Gulmarg India
- one of the most amazing off-pistes adventures in the World
- stunning slopes with up to 1500 vertical meters
- unique tree skiing
- curry powder, that you can find only in India
Indian curry powder is the hottest off-piste in last couple of years for sure. Cable car that drops you on 4000m and gives you unlimited option to ski 1500m long slope. Fantastic tree skiing, magnificent mountains and lake Dal are the precious memories that our clients took home.
Powder in India is unique because of great climate conditions. Influence of high Himalaya mountains cause that Gulmarg gets lots of snow – up to 15 meters per year! Wide open slopes, superb trees and deep, very deep powder are Gulmarg specialties, that attract us so much, that we are coming back each year.
Day 1: Depart from your country on evening flight to Delhi International Airport.
Day 2: Arrive Delhi International Airport. Transfer to domestic airport and take internal flight to Srinagar the capital of Kashmir. Flight time: 1 hr. You’ll be met at the airport and transferred by private jeep for the 45km journey to Gulmarg. Book into the Hotel Highlands Park.
Day 3-8: Six full days of off-piste guided adventure skiing in the extensive backcountry covering 4 different ski fields.With a gondola rising to almost 4000m, you will enjoy uninterrupted descents of almost 2000 vertical meters of fresh powder each day.
Day 9: Ski for most of the day and then transfer directly back to Srinagar by road and stay overnight in one of the famous house boats on Lake Dal.
Day 10: Relaxing morning before returning to Srinagar airport at midday for the 1 hour flight to Delhi. Arrive back in Delhi at about 4pm. Transfer to the international terminal for flight home.
Dates and prices
- 12th of February – 22th of March 2015 (Thu-Sun) 7 guided days
- Price: 2.250,00 € (euro)
We offer you two possible ways to do your booking: by online booking safety system or via e-mail and Paypal/bank transfer. Our online booking process using PayPal is straight-forward and provides you a simple, understandable, and safe way to book the trip. Before you make your booking make sure, that you read our Terms and coditions.
All of our prices are quoted in Euros – if you wish to use our currency conversion facility, then current daily exchange rates will be applied. Unless otherwise stated, we require a deposit of €470 (approx. £400) per person per course at the time of booking, and the final balance is due eight weeks prior to the start of the course. For bookings made less than 8 weeks before the course start date, full payment is required at the time of booking.
Booking via e-mail/phone and Paypal/Bank Transfer
- send us e-mail or give us a call to confirm dates and itinerary
- check price details, terms and conditions
- make a payment to confirm your booking
- arrange your insurance policy that to cover all relevant hazardous activities and include search and rescue, medical expenses, repatriation and cancellation cover
Please Pay by Bank Transfer to the following Alps Adventures bank account: Klemen Gricar s.p.
For last minute bookings please use our Paypal account: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Recipient: Klemen Gricar s.p.
- Reference: Your Name
IBAN: SI56 0510 0801 0693 369
- Any bank fees incurred are your responsibility to pay at the time of transfer.
What is included?
- 7 full days of professional guiding – IFMG mountain guide
- All accommodation and meals except lunches
- Flight Dehli-Srinagar
- Transfer to hotel in Gulmarg
- Guides’ and yours costs for uplifts
What is not included?
- Travel to and from Dehli
- Travel insurance
- Equipment rental
- Visa costs
Gulmarg is fantastic for intermediate to expert level off-piste skiers and snowboarders. It’s also brilliant for backcountry tours! There is no groomed terrain and chances are you’ll be skiing deep powder most of the time and so you must be a competent powder skier. No previous ski touring experience is required but on most days there is likely to be some limited walking – 20 to 30 minutes – to access or exit the best runs. Fitness is important and to get the most out of this wonderful holiday you need to have the stamina to ski all day for 7 consecutive days.
Our 2014 trips will be led by Klemen Gricar. Klemen is an UIAGM Mountain Guides.
The off-piste and backcountry guiding is provided on all 7 days with a maximum ratio of 1:6.
In Gulmarg we stay in the Highlands Park Hotel which was built in the 1960s and is run much like you’d imagine a hotel in the era of the Raj with old world colonial charm and uniformed staff on hand to cater for your every whim. The hotel is made up of a series of small cottages each sleeping 2-4 people and heated by wood-burning stoves. The rooms are basic but clean and all have private bathrooms.
Subject to availability rooms can be booked on a single occupancy basis. The charge for this is £265 for 7 nights.
The two restaurants in the hotel serve a good selection of Kashmiri, Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisine. The bar – one of the few in Gulmarg – is the place to relax after a hard day on the hill! The hotel is located at the far end of the village about a 10 minute walk to the Gondola base station.
For more information on the hotel visit their website at www.hotelhighlandspark.com.
In Srinagar you will spend 1 night in a floating houseboat on Dal Lake. There are hundred’s of houseboats, most very fancifully decorated, and staying in one is a fascinating experience. Most boats have a balcony, lounge, dining room, pantry and 3 or more bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. The boats face the Lotus Garden and have a view of the mountains. A small motorboat takes you from the shore to the houseboats and back.
Water and Food
Gulmarg has its own recently upgraded water filtration system and so you should be able to drink the water without complication. Nevertheless most travellers continue to utilise bottled water for drinking and cleaning teeth.
In the Highland Park hotel you will find both International and local Kashmiri food of a good standard. However in our experience guests often crave a few items that are not readily available in Kashmir e.g. marmite or fresh coffee! The hotel has a bar and beer and some spirits are available, if a tad expensive. If you are a wine drinker, the hotel owner promised us he was starting a cellar… you might want to bring a few bottles just in case he hasn’t got round to it yet!
What to Take
To really enjoy the light, dry powder wide all-mountain skis are essential (a minimum of 95-100mm under the boot is recommended).
Our 2010 ski recommendations are:
- Elan OLYMPUS MONS (140-110-130)
- Elan SPIRE (130 / 98 / 120)
- Elan BOOMERANG (140-120-130)
- Elan Zeal (128 / 88 / 108)
- Dynstar Legend Pro rider (128-100-118)
- Volkl Mantra (133-96-116)
- Volkl Gotama (133-105-124)
- Movement Goliath (135-108-124)
- Movement Goliath Sluff (134-99-118)
- Movement Baggy (132-102-122)
- Scott Pure (132-92-118) - advanced/expert level off-piste & powder skiers only
- Scott Mission (128-89-115) - advanced/expert level off-piste & powder skiers only
- Black Diamond Kilowatt (127-95-115)
- Black Diamond Zealot (136-110-126)
- K2 Side stash (139-108-127)
- K2 Coomback 135-102-121)
Your skis should be mounted with touring bindings. Touring boots are recommended but are not essential as the walking distances are not very great. Without touring bindings you will struggle to walk in deep snow and on the odd occasion when the lift isn’t running – i.e. if there’s too much wind – we will go touring. (Going up through the wonderful forest in deep fresh snow is almost as good as coming down!)
If you only have skis with downhill bindings then you will need to reserve a pair of Alpine Trekker bindings in advance from Mountain Tracks. These bindings convert downhill bindings to free heel bindings and are suitable for this trip.
Snowboarders must bring snowshoes and collapsible ski poles.
As always everyone must ski at all times with avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe. These can be hired from Mountain Tracks if required.
Bring a small day pack (25ltr max) to carry these and other bits and bobs – skins, camera, water, snacks etc which you might want during the day.
It is essential that you have proper skins that fit your skis. If you are unable to find skins to fit your skis, you can reserve a pair of skins from Mountain Tracks. Our guides will have 4-5 pairs of split skins that can be used on any skis.
You do NOT need to bring ski crampons, boot crampons or an ice-axe.
There is a local hire shop that has reasonable skis but these are all fitted with standard downhill bindings and their other kit e.g. skins is of poor quality. The hire shop in Gulmarg should really only be used as a last resort and we strongly recommend that you bring all your own gear. Edge-2-Edge in Crawley, Sussex (www.edge2edge.co.uk) have a small selection of suitable skis (Volkl Mantra with Marker Griffon bindings) to hire this winter. Contact them directly on 01293 649300.
You might also want to bring any old jackets, sallopettes etc that you no longer use. You will quickly become the most popular person around as far as the locals are concerned!
It is also well worth bringing some decent snow boots with good grip for getting around the hotel grounds and Gulmarg itself in the evening. The paths are often deep channels through the snow and can be very slippery or powdery.
The most convenient way to get to Gulmarg is to fly to Delhi and take the 1 hour internal flight from there to Srinagar. From Srinagar it is approximately 2 hours drive (37 miles) to Gulmarg. On the return journey at the end of your trip we recommend that you spend 1 night in a houseboat on Dal Lake in Srinagar before continuing on to Delhi for your international connection back home. If you want to spend a few extra days in Delhi or visiting other areas/cities e.g. Agra and the Taj Mahal, we can arrange this on request.
International flights to Delhi arrive at the International Terminal and the connecting flight to Srinagar departs from the Domestic Terminal. The 2 terminals are a few miles apart and it takes 20-30 minutes to travel between the 2 terminals by taxi. It is essential that you have at least 3 hours between your scheduled arrival into Delhi and the connecting flight to Srinagar. The last flight to Srinagar leaves Delhi at about 1pm (times change slightly depending on the date) which means your international flight should arrive no later than 9am.
From the UK British Airways offers the most convenient connections with 2 flights daily from Heathrow arriving in Delhi at 0155am and 0455am. Virgin and Airindia both have 1 flight each day from Heathrow but both flights arrive after 11am which is too late to make the connecting flight to Srinagar on the same day.
The departure times for flights from Delhi to Srinagar are 10:20, 11:30 and 13:10. With the last flight leaving Delhi at just after 1pm (times change slightly depending on the date) your international flight should arrive into Delhi no later than 9am.
If you need (want) to arrive early and spend the night in Delhi we can arrange accommodation in the Hotel Shoba which is conveniently located within 20 minutes drive of the airport and the cost is £70 per person including transfers.
Air India Express (www.airindiaexpress.in) have (allegedly) introduced flights from Dubai direct to Srinagar (a 5½ hour flight) which would be a good alternative if you want to avoid travelling to Delhi. To-date we have been unable to obtain information on their 2010 schedule, so flights via Delhi remain the most viable option until we hear otherwise.
Kashmir, Security and Travel Insurance
For the past 10-15 years the UK government has advised against all but essential travel to Kashmir. This is due to the ongoing troubles between Pakistan and India and the threat of terrorist attacks. We take this advice very seriously and continuously monitor the threat level. However based on our experience over the past 2 years, the experience of other tour operators and travelers and regular contact with locals in Kashmir, we believe it is safe to run these skiing trips. Although our trips in January and February 2009 took place only 2 months after terrorist attack in Mumbai in November 2008, our clients and staff encountered no problems whatsoever whilst travelling via Srinagar to Gulmarg or in Gulmarg itself and the local Kashmiri people were, without exception, friendly and helpful and very pleased to see tourists coming to their beautiful country. As a result of the UK government’s advice against travel to Kashmir it is difficult to find UK-based insurance companies who will provide insurance cover for this trip. We therefore recommend the insurance provided by Campbell Irvine (www.campbellirvine.com) or by IHI, a Danish subsidiary of BUPA. For details on their policies click on http://global.ihi.com.
It is a condition of booking that you are insured for your chosen activity and that the cover includes medical expenses, personal accident, personal liability, third party risks and rescue (including helicopter rescue). You are strongly advised also to take out cover against cancellation and curtailment. We recommend www.snowcard.co.uk. They specialise in travel insurance for all adventure sports and travel and they offer competitive rates for both single trip and annual policies.
Mid-January to early March is the optimum time to visit Gulmarg for powder skiing on dry, light powder! Expect similar or slightly colder temperatures to the Alps at this time. When its not snowing the clarity of the Himalayan winter mean the mountain views are wonderfully clear.
All foreign nationals visiting India require a visa and for this trip, a short term tourist visa is required. This will cost £30 plus the visa application fee and any relevant postage charges. The visa must be obtained in the UK prior to departure. In May 2008 the Indian High Commission has outsourced the visa application to a private agency called VF Services (UK) Limited You can apply for the visa online by going to the VF Services website: http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk If you are going to use the postal application service you should allow 15 working days to process the application. Alternatively you can apply in person at one of the Visa Application Centres – there are 5 in the UK – click on http://in.vfsglobal.co.uk/vacs.aspx for details. On the application form you need to provide the names, addresses and telephone numbers of 2 referees in India. We will provide these in our trip pack at the time of booking. Together with the completed application form you also require your passport, 2 passport size photos and the visa fee. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months.
Gulmarg resort is at 2650m which is not an elevation at which altitude sickness is typically experienced, however the gondola goes up to just short of 4000m and altitude sickness is possible.
The symptoms of altitude sickness are headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, mild shortness of breath, dizziness or light-headedness, slight swellings of hands and face.
To minimise any risk of discomfort and inconvenience from even mild altitude sickness, guests should take the following measures on their arrival in Gulmarg:
- drink plenty of water
- avoid alcohol and sleeping tablets
- do not over-exert yourself on the mountain on your first day or so.
Let one of the guides know if your feeling unwell. There is a quick and simple cure to altitude related illness…simply to go to a lower elevation.
This equipment list will help you ensure you have all the important things which might be needed. Please be aware that on our off-piste and heli-skiing programs we recommend the use of an avalanche airbag backpack. We recommend you have skis with ski-touring bindings and skins which fit your skis, as your guide may decide to do a short climb to get the best skiing on untouched slopes.
- Base layer clothes
- Thermal layer
- Fleece jacket
- Ski (waterproof) jacket
- Ski trousers
- Light down jacket
- Warm hat
- Thermal gloves
- Warm and waterproof overgloves
- Camera (optional)
- Sun cream, lip salve
- Water bottle (1 litre)
- Avalanche airbag Backpack (15-30 litres)
- Ice axe
- Climbing harness
- Ski helmet (recommended)
- Skis (with ski-touring bindings – optional)
- Ski-touring boots or skiing boots (compatible with bindings)
- Ski poles
- Avalanche transceiver
- Avalanche shovel
- Avalanche probe
- First Aid kit (personal medicine, blister protection, etc)
Technical gear such as crampons, ice axe, climbing harness, avalanche kit and backpack can be hired from Alps Adventures (see equipment hire). Please let us know if you have to hire any equipment, so we can help you.