Monday, January 31, 2011

Exploring the North End of Gulmarg

After spending one day walking around and visiting pretty much all the hotels and accommodation available in Gulmarg, we finally our best guest was The Pine Palace. With somewhat reliable internet, hot water and central heating, even my Dad found it comfy!

With the accommodation settle, we moved to what we were here to do: SKI!

With a really bad snow year and no snow in the past 2 weeks, we weren't expecting much. To get use to the altitude (Gulmarg is at about 3000m), we decided to skin to mid-mountain. The tiny climb of 400m took us about 1h30 thanks to the altitude!

The visibility was rather low and we didn't venture too far. We skied Apharwat North Bowl and found some pretty surprisingly good snow…. and a lot of rocks! The problem is the snowpack is quite shallow and weak and doesn't cover quite much the sharp rocks nicely hidden under.

The rather foggy weather cut our motivation for our second day. The (about) 2cm of snow on the ground didn't excited us much either.

We skinned all the way up to mid-station where the visibility was still quite bad.

We jumped in the gondola and the clouds seemed to get thinner and thinner and at the top we were welcomed by a great inversion!!!

Stoked to get some great weather, we hiked and hit the backside of Apharwat to what is called the Shark's fin. As we were skinning up, we realized the overnight snowfall was probably about 15-20cm! The snow was nice and my dad was starting to get his skiing confidence back when he hit a rock that leaves him airborne.

Here he is showing his natural flying talent!

Fortunately, he didn't get hurt, but we figured we had to stay alert at all time!

We hiked back to the front and ski down Khilanmarg Bowl 2. We had some surprisingly good visibility almost all the way down this about 1200m vertical run. Always alerted, we made it down without any other big misadventure!

Today was really a great day, blue sky, mild temperature but no new snow. We toured a bit further far the backside of Apharwat.

As our morning hike put us behind most of the skiers, our planned run as been already skied. We didn't changed our plans and made it down this rather chopped-up snow.

Again, the view was really stunning!

The mountains surrounding Gulmarg are certainly some of the most impressive I have personally seen. It is really a shame the snowpack is so thin, because the terrain the gondola gives access is one of the best I have experienced!

The lack of snow is forcing the skiers to share the snow leaving us to not ski fresh pow at every turn… I guess it could be worst!

Again, there isn't much snow on the forecast for this week, but fortunately, it seems like it will change over the weekend!
In the meanwhile, we keep on experiencing India with is….. surprising food!

1 comment:

anjali gupta said...

Thanks for sharing this useful post. Its a complete guide about Gulmarg. Enveloped by snow-capped mountains, Gulmarg invites you to avail the opportunity to witness the sheer bliss of nature. Check out best Gulmarg Hotels for accommodation.