Snow for as far as the eye can see, rising and falling hills and slopes and a landscape as beautiful as a postcard. This perfect setting calls for one thing only-skiing! This winter sport is ideal for you to try your hand at if you’re looking for some adventure. Skiing in India is a relatively lesser known activity given that it’s only restricted to the Northern part of the country.
Nonetheless, it is a unique experience, bound to add the perfect amount of excitement and adrenaline to your vacation! Despite India’s largely tropical climate, there are quite a few places in the country where you can go skiing and see lots of snow. Here’s a list of the 10 best places for skiing in India.
Tucked away in the Baramulla district of Kashmir, Gulmarg is one of the most popular skiing destinations in India and is often touted as the heartland of winter sports in the country. The picturesque location has slopes available for beginners as well as more advanced skiers. There are six bunny slopes for novice skiers and higher-altitude slopes for professionals. Gulmarg is also home to the Gulmarg Gondola, which is one of the highest cable cars in the world with a vertical rise of 1,280m and travels a distance of 2.7km. The snow in Gulmarg is also desirable when it comes to skiing because it is soft and fluffy as compared to wet snow which could restrict motion while skiing. The slopes in Gulmarg aren’t just for skiing, they are also great for snowboarding. For more on skiing in Gulmarg, check this out.
A quaint hill station in the Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir, Pahalgam is a favourite among skiers because of the fresh snow on the hills. The gorgeous snow-clad mountains are a sight to behold in Pahalgam and make the experience of skiing all the more enriching. This is definitely one of the best places for skiing in India.
Solang Valley is located about 12kms away from Manali and at an altitude of 8,400ft. It has exquisite ski slopes that make it a favourite among skiers from all across the country. A 1.5km Alpine run in the valley is a treat both for skiers and snowboarders. It holds many workshops and training sessions for amateur skiers to ensure they get the right kind of guidance, however, despite being one of the most popular skiing destinations in the country, Solang Valley’s infrastructure isn’t up to the mark, especially compared to destinations like Gulmarg. Luxury resorts and budget stays, this area has the best of both worlds when it comes to accommodation, depending on the type of vacation you’re planning.
Situated on the Hindustan-Tibet road in Himachal Pradesh, Narkanda is at an altitude of 2708 metres and has a wide variety of slopes for all types of skiers. The beginner’s slope at Narkanda stands at 500m with many virgin slopes. Peaceful and serene, the town overlooks spellbinding mountain ranges. Parts of the slopes at Narkanda are still unexplored and could be an exciting adventure for advanced skiers to take on. For learners, Narkanda also has schools that offer skiing lessons starting in January every year.
Rohtang Pass is a high mountain pass about 51kms away from Manali; on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas. The area is covered with snow for several months during the year, which make it ideal for skiing. Promising a magnificent view of snow-capped hills, Rohtang is a beautiful place to ski both in autumn and in winter. The destination offers other adventure sports as well including snow-boarding and para-gliding.
A small hill station that doubles up as a ski resort, Auli has spick and span surroundings with scenic snow-covered slopes all around. It is about 250 kms away from Rishikesh. Surrounded by coniferous and oak forests, Auli overlooks several mountains including Mt Nanda Devi Kamet, Mana Parwat and Dunagiri among others. The ski slopes vary in height and start at 3,000m stretching for 3km, with a drop in elevation of 500m. Mid-January and mid-February is the perfect time to ski in this little town.
Often referred to as the mini Kashmir of Uttarakhand, Munsiyari literally translates to place of snow. It is located at an altitude of 2200 metres above sea level and overlooks the Panchali peak, the place is a perfect destination for skiing and other adventure sports including trekking. Khalia Top and Betulidhar located only a few kilometres away from Munsiyari are great locations to try skiing.
Situated in the district of Dehradun, Mundali is a great place to go skiing for both beginners and experts. It is extremely picturesque with perfect powdery snow. The ski school at Mundali offers equipment and training sessions for people interested in honing their skills. The toughest ski trail in Mundali is a three-kilometre long slope ranging from a height of 2,519 meters to 3,049 meters. The best time to visit Mundali is from December to February.
Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Yumthang Valley is situated about 140km away from Gangtok. It is at an elevation of 3564 km above sea level. A blanket of snow in the valley ensures an enjoyable skiing experience for novices and experts alike. Apart from skiing, other adventure sports in the valley include trekking, mountain biking, hiking. The best time to visit the place is from September to December.
Located about 18kms away from Lachung in Sikkim, Phuni Valley is a new addition to the list of places in India that are ideal for skiing. The snow here is at a height of 1100 feet; and the smooth slants on the mountains make it an enjoyable skiing experience. The stunning landscape all around adds to Phuni Valley’s appeal and is a great winter sports destination. The best time to visit Phuni Valley is between January and March.
Are there any places to go skiing in India that we’ve missed? If so, do share them in the comments below.