Tag Archives: Kashmir

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

India- Kashmiri Curry Powder in Gulmarg

I’m back from incredible India. Though traveling to Gulmarg to ski deep powder amongst the ancient pines is the reason to go to India, one realizes immediately that just going to India is the real reason. Living with these people for even a few days makes one marvel at our obsession with material things and our apparent misery with our added wealth and income. To be with these lovely people, and see how happy they are with just so little, always makes me so content. Just siting on the plane in Geneva, leaving for India, I feel relaxed. The plane is delayed, meaning I may miss my connecting flight. But because I am already in India’s touch, I sit relaxed, knowing only that whatever happens, will happen. I am completely open for the next event, whether it is making the next flight or not, perhaps meeting another amazing person, or getting to know the weeping woman sitting next to me. (She is obviously a bit more tense about making our connection…)

Rumors circulate there is no snow in Gulmarg this year. People have returned very disappointed. I meet John and Paolo at the hotel and see the smile in their eyes. Can’t wait to ski tomorrow. We climb the half hour on skins from the lift to the summit, ski down over variable terrain, then finally dip into the untracked Kashmiri forest as I start to launch myself off of every snow covered stump and bump I see. Howls of glee erupt from deep in me, I see my clients smiling ear to ear, hugs all around as we make the trek back to the hotel, wood stoves, beer, chai, khava, curry, more beer then bed.

India, Incredible India. Come with me January 26 – February 2, 2013