Gulmarg, the meadow of flowers is the perfect snow skiing destination in India. Gulmarg has good infrastructure in terms of ski lifts, a gondola which takes you up to 14,000 feet for your skiing runs, a good number of hotels and other facilities which you would need for your skiing trip.
Before you head to Gulmarg for Skiing, here are 10 things which will help you prepare and make your trip memorable.
1. Getting there – The flight from Delhi to Srinagar takes about 1:15 hours. From the Srinagar airport, you can hire a cab to drive you to Gulmarg. However, be aware that a number of cab drivers will take you only up to Tanmarg from where you will have to take a different vehicle to Gulmarg. Check & confirm the pricing & drop off location with your driver.
2. Accommodation – There are hotels & guest hourse of all budgets in Gulmarg. The best ones for skiing are located near the Gondola while most budget accommodation is located near the market. From the market, the gondola and the beginner slopes are about 2-3 kms away and can be a bit of a walk in the snow. For skiers, the best bet is to stay near the Gondola base station.
3. Medical facilities – Gulmarg has basic facilities which can handle common first aid and common problems. However, for anything serious you might have to be transported to Srinagar which is 55 Kms, 2.5 hours away. Tanmarg also has basic medical facilities.
4. Money – Gulmarg has just one ATM which is in the market. If you’re staying in one of the resorts near the gondola, you’ll have to walk 2-3 kms to get to the ATM which may not be in working condition. So carry cash for all your transactions.
5. What is better in Gulmarg? Skiing or snowboarding
It depends. If you’re a beginner in both the sports, you need to consider the following
- The beginner slopes in Gulmarg have drag lifts, so every time you snowboard downhill, you’ll have to walk back up. Drag lifts, by virtue of their design, can only be used by skiers
- There are fewer snowboarding instructors in Gulmarg as compared to skiing instructors
If you’re an intermediate to advance skier or snowboarder, then you have pretty much a massive mountain full of snow to have fun on. There is the phase 1 of the Gondola which can be used by boarders as well as skiers and it gives you a nice 4 Kms long run.
There is a chair lift which runs from phase 1 (Gondola) to about half the height of phase 2. The track is off piste and you can board down till phase 1, or continue all the way down to base.
The phase 2 of the Gondola will give you a huge bowl for skiing or snowboarding. And if you still want more, there is the entire mountain full of back country runs which boarders or skiers can use.
6. What is the best time for skiing in Gulmarg/ Kashmir/ India?
First week of January till about mid of March is best for skiing in Gulmarg. There may be seasonal variations of a few days every year.
7. Skiing lessons – For beginners, there are a number of guides available at the beginner slopes and you can negotiate your rates at the slopes. However, some instructors/ guides may not be up to the mark and you may not be able to learn well. So keep your options open. We have several top notch skiing instructors in Gulmarg on our team, you’re welcome to join our fixed departures or get yourself a customized skiing trip to Gulmarg.
8. Trips with children – Children above the age of 4 will have a fantastic time learning skiing. Our team has equipment for children, and our instructors have little children of their own who they teach regularly. Your little ones will be in very good hands in Gulmarg. If you’re planning on coming with your family, get in touch with us at email@example.com for the best stay and skiing options
9. Winter clothing – if you don’t have warm jackets, ski pants, goggles and other required things, don’t fret. You will be able to rent them out at the government ski shop or one of the private ski shops in Gulmarg.
10. Gondola tickets & Passes – Are available on the internet. However, we recommend that you do not buy them on the internet during the winter skiing season. This is because the Gondola is shut down on a number of days due to bad weather conditions and you’ll get hassled trying to figure out what to do with the passes. Best bet is to buy the pass/ ticket on the day of your ride. It may take a bit of standing in the line, but it will be worth it.
11. Internet connectivity and mobile networks in Gulmarg – Pre paid mobile phones will not work here. 3G internet will be available near the market and around the beginner slopes in Gulmarg. The networks we have tried are Airtel, Vodafone, Aircel and BSNL. Most resorts have free wi-fi for people staying there. However, speeds may be slow on these wi-fi connections.
12. Food – Ah, now the thought of food makes us quite happy. Gulmarg has a number of resorts which serve delicious cuisines from all over the world. Head to Khyber for a 5 star dining experience, or to Heevan for a friendly and delicious Kashmiri dinner, or to Bakshi restaurant for a Dhaba (small restaurant) experience. Bakshi restaurant is one of our favorite places in Gulmarg by the way.
13. Partying – Several hotels in Gulmarg like Alpine Ridge, Pine Palace and others have parties every night during the skiing season. On a GoMissing trip, you will get to party and get a taste of local Kashmiri food on our get together evenings.