Thinking of family adventure holiday this winter?
How about skiing in Gulmarg, Kashmir?
The icy slopes of Gulmarg in Kashmir are great for both beginners and pros.
There is a good beginners’ slope in Gulmarg with proper ski lifts. Then, there is Slope 85 at the base of Hotel Highland Park – an intermediate level slope. For people who already know skiing, Gulmarg offers the Gondola, the one of its kind in India – it transfers tourists and skiers to Kongdoori at about 3000 m (9000 ft), what is popularly known as the First Stage or Phase I.
For the real pros, there is the option of going to the Second Stage / Phase II – at a height of 3950 m (about 12,500 ft) on the Apharwat Peak. This is a perfect skiers’ mountain, although a small central section of it is avalanche-controlled and patrolled. The rest of the mountain is off-piste. But for expert skiers, the lure of the fresh powder and stunning views is too good to ignore.
Do read – Weekend getaways from Delhi: Escape to the hills
Ski packages with Mercury Himalayan Explorations
It is important to choose the right outfit for learning skiing. Friends who have been to Gulmarg earlier to learn skiing raved about the beauty of the place and the hopelessness of the ski instructors there, in the same breath.
Mercury Himalayan Explorations (MHE) is one of the best in the business. Their CEO Akshay Kumar is an expert skier himself and leads small groups of adults and kids. He is supported by local ski-teachers in Gulmarg.
Check their video!
MHE organizes 6-day trips from January-end to mid-March, where the first day involves flying into Srinagar and taking a road trip to Gulmarg (about 2 hours), the next 4 days are spent learning how to ski, and the last day going back to Srinagar and taking the flight home. We did a 6-day ski tour as a family in Gulmarg with them, and repeated it twice after that!
You have to pass by Srinagar to reach Gulmarg. Why not make a trip out of it? There are many places to visit in Srinagar.
Ski Clothing Packing List & Ski Accessories
It is important to remember that layering is key when skiing. The weather can change very quickly in the mountains.
There are several options in ski wear at Decathlon shops in India or you can order online from Amazon.
Ski Clothing: Thermal inner wear / Base Layers
Buy good-quality breathable base layers to ensure maximum comfort. You will need 2 sets of these.
Always ensure your inner layers are made from a moisture-wicking fabric that takes away the humidity from your skin so it can evaporate easily. You do not want to end up getting wet from the inside; as you work up a sweat on the slopes.
Some options at Decathlon –
Ski Clothing: Mid-layer
This is the layer between your thermals and your ski jacket. It can be anything: a fleece, a wool sweater or a technical t-shirt. On a sunny day, you might be happy shedding your mid-layer and skiing just in your ski jacket, or vice-versa. Again, you will need at least 2 of these.
Choose a snug fit when it comes to the mid-layer, you want it to fit comfortably under your ski jacket, but still, have room to wear a base layer without it feeling too tight. Avoid cotton at all costs.
Some options at Decathlon –
Ski Clothing: Ski Jacket and Ski Pants
Some of the factors to consider are the type of insulation a jacket offers (down or synthetic), how breathable the jacket is, its waterproof rating and how warm it is.
For ski pants, the same principles of insulation, breathability, waterproof rating and warmth apply.
You can easily rent the outer jacket and pants at Gulmarg.
Here are some of the options at Decathlon shops in case you want to buy –
Ski Clothing Accessories: Socks for skiing
When skiing, your hands and feet get cold the fastest, so invest in decent socks and gloves.
A lot of ski socks are made from a combination of materials ensuring that you are provided with the best characteristics of each material. A bit of lycra will ensure that your socks fit well; polyester provides excellent wicking properties, and wool is always good for extra warmth.
Some options at Decathlon – Socks for men / unisex
Ski Clothing Accessories: Gloves for skiing
You do not want to have your ski day ruined by freezing hands and numb fingers so, choose your gloves carefully. Always make sure your gloves are waterproof and well-insulated.
Also, don’t forget to dry your gloves after you’ve been out all day in mixed weather conditions; make sure you dry them overnight near a radiator (but never on the radiator).
Some options at Decathlon – Ski Gloves
Ski Clothing Accessories: Snow boots, Wool cap
These are a must to any snow destination. At Decathlon, look out for snow hiking boots.
I am confirmable skiing on a sunny day just wearing the ski helmet. And yet, a wool/fleece cap is an essential item to be packed and used post-skiing or when you step out in the evening for a snow fight. This is essential for kids though.
Some options at Decathlon – Beanies & Woolen Caps
Ski Accessories: Sun cream and lip balm
The air in the mountains can be very dry so make sure you always keep a lip balm in your pocket. Your lip balm should have an SPF of at least 15 to protect you adequately.
Always make sure you use sun cream to protect your face. Always use a product with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 or above. Apply liberally and top up regularly.
Warm clothes for post-skiing
Once you are back at the hotel, you will need –
- track pants or comfortable lowers
- thermals and T-shirt
- sweater/fleece jacket
- warm cotton socks and floaters.
Also, read – Jaisalmer: The charming desert citadel in Rajasthan
Pin it for later!
Do you enjoy snowboarding or skiing? Share in the comments below.
Subscribe to Zest In A Tote Digest, my monthly newsletter, for travel tips and inspiration.
Join me on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook as I share my travel experiences.