Gulmarg Backcountry Skiing

Gulmarg Backcountry Skiing is a skier’s dream. Gliding down on unbeaten snow with nothing but the sheer landscape of mountains, jungles, and the sliding sound of your skis, backcountry skiing is an elite experience. The temptation to turn via fresh, untracked snow and go to distant ski slopes is a leap into the wilderness and the ultimate adventure. Soak yourself this winter in backcountry skiing at one of the best ski destinations in the world – Gulmarg.

Backcountry skiing, for a beginner to get an idea, is the skiing done outside the controlled or patrolled zone of a ski resort. Depending upon how much seasoned or adventurous skier you are, you can take a ski tour as far up and deep into the unbeaten slope as possible.

In Gulmarg there is a huge upper altitude area that falls beyond the patrolled ski slopes, and here is what backcountry skiers love and come every year to satiate their adventure bum in them.

Cliffhangers India organizes every year backcountry ski expeditions to the remotest unbeaten slope of Gulmarg. Enroll yourself and feel the beat of this ultimate ski adventure with the best of backcountry ski guides, comfortable stays, and high-quality equipment with the constant tap on safety and security.

Gulmarg Backcountry Skiing Regions

Here are the regions we take backcountry skiers in our ski expeditions.

Gondola Top

With a massive 1,500m vertical drop, Gulmarg Gondola is one of the world’s highest-operating cable cars. Descending down through vast alpine bowls and into perfectly spaced trees, it is becoming a mecca for adventurous ski and snowboard touring. When the top stage is open, we will usually use it to access the best skiing and widest touring options available.

We could ski from the top every day of the 12-day trip and never repeat a run. The ski resort does avalanche control work and patrols the ski area directly under the gondola, known as Gondola Bowl. The rest of the terrain is backcountry and decisions about routes and avalanche safety are vital. This is the responsibility of your guide, but they will involve you in the decision-making process.

Gondola Mid-station

The mid-station is about 400m above the town and operates in all but the worst weather. We will use it to gain some height and do some interesting runs like the half-day trip down the Drang Valley. It’s a 10–15km/6–9mi ski down the valley ending in the town of Tangmarg. We visit Drang village along the way, skiing through the roadless village, where the friendly kids run out to play on the back of our skis. The Kashmiri people are very friendly and curious about our skiing antics. They often stare and smile as we pass.

Baba Rishi Trees

On stormy days, when there’s over 30–50cm of snow in Gulmarg, we will consider renting a taxi for the day to ski the Baba Rishi Trees. The taxi drops us at the top and we ski the 400– 500m vertical tree run while the taxi drives around to pick us up at the bottom for another lap. Monkey Hill: This 250–300m high hill is right behind the town and there’s a well-used boot/skin track up to the summit. Then there’s 360 degrees of options open to us to ski down, either to the Gulmarg access road or back to town.

When it’s really storming and the roads are chaos, this is a great day touring and a perfect place for avalanche workshops.

Triple Peak

On the 12-day program, you get an added bonus; a helicopter lift to a more remote basin. We will fly up to the nearby Triple Peak area using the local Kashmir heli-ski machines and tour for the day, exploring the high alpine region before dropping into the Drang Valley, down to Tangmarg. The touring days are moderately strenuous and involve skinning for between 2–3 hours, with plenty of scenic places to stop along the way.

 

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