Indian Ski Pilgrimage- Kashmir and Manali

It’s been over a month since my last post. My annual ski trip to India has come and gone. The snow on the ground in these Alps has gone from 3-D to 2-D in lots of places. Spring skiing was de rigueur ¬†for much of ¬†February. But that has changed with fresh snow on the south side of the main alpine ridge and the light snow falling outside my window now. The forecast calls for light snow through the week. Some bright spells in the Vallais, then clear weather for the weekend.

I flew to Delhi January 28 and was skiing at 4000 meters the next day. Reports from Gulmarg stated lack of snow and lots of rocks. Well, coming from the Alps, that was all relative! I found powder on all aspects. Though the main ridge was heavily tracked, I found untouched terrain skinning North and South from the top of the lift. I teamed up with Wild Bill, helping to guide his team of Australian ski patrollers across this beautiful alpine ridge above the Kashmir valley of Srinigar.

A week later, my team of gung-ho skiers arrived and the adventure began. After a few days in Gulmarg, we skied down to Tangmarg in a blizzard, drove to Dal Lake and spent the night on a house boat. Local merchants passed through our door until the wee morning hours. The next morning before our flight to Manali, we slipped over Dal Lake, enjoying the serenity of the sights, and fought off more merchants! We landed in Kulu and drove an hour to Manali for a week of heliskiing. The blizzard of Tangmarg arrived in the form of 1.5 meters of fresh snow over 48 hours, allowing us plenty of time to enjoy Manali and all it is known for! 4 days of non-stop heliskiing left us weary legged and overwhelmed from curry other local dishes. I slept all the way back to my sleepy village of Verbier which awoke with a start three days later. Vivre la vie d’aujourd’ui! Planes trains and powder snow… Sign-up now! January 30 – February 15, 2012

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About Hans Solmssen

I am a professional mountain guide living in Verbier, Switzerland. I grew up on the Big Island of Hawaii after my father moved to Hawaii to teach at Hawaii Preparatory Academy. He created a horse program at this high school, located in the middle of the largest, privately owned cattle ranch in the US. Horses were a major part of my life, even playing polo for a few years. I moved to northern Vermont to go to school, and discovered skiing. Little did I know, this would become my life's passion: guiding friends and clients over the mountains around the world on skis and foot. I moved to Verbier, Switzerland in 1982, and entered the Swiss guide's program in '88. I received my UIAGM "pin" 3 years later in 1991. I have two kids, Anya and Kevin.

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