Over the years, both Gulmarg and Auli have grown in popularity as skiing destinations in India. Adventure enthusiasts wanting to try this sport have been making their way to these towns to get a taste of the slopes. But the question always pops up, Gulmarg or Auli? Where should you head for your skiing adventure, what do each of these places offer and what distinguishes them as skiing destinations? Needless to say both destinations have their pros and cons.
In this article, we compare what both Gulmarg and Auli have to offer to beginner and professional skiers.
Gulmarg offers six bunny slopes with varying gradients and runs for beginners along with higher slopes that are better suited for professionals.The highest point being 3980 m at the top of Mt.Apharwat.
The slopes in Auli are limited; they start at a height of 3000 m and have a 3 km stretch with a 500 m drop in elevation. These slopes also have runs that are both beginner and professional friendly.
Infrastructure in Gulmarg is the best in the country with five international-level poma ski lifts on its lower slopes and the Gulmarg Gondola which ferries skiers to a height of 3980M.
Auli has only one poma ski-lift and one chairlift to take skiers up the slopes.
Gulmarg has the highest level of safety mechanisms in place in the country. The ski patrol team here consists of fourteen highly trained scientists and rescue specialists who are trained for any kind of contingency. The team is managed by an American avalanche specialist. Moreover, the resort here has a high-end avalanche warning system in place to flag any kind of trouble.
Rescue facilities in Auli are limited. Rescue operations here depend highly on paramilitary forces present in the area.
Just a short drive away from Srinagar, Gulmarg has excellent access by road and air. Regular flights connect Srinagar to the rest of the country, making travel to Gulmarg easy.
Located near Joshimath, Auli is eight hours away from the nearest city, Dehradun. The eight hour travel through mountainous roads make it less accessible when compared to Gulmarg.
The ski season in Gulmarg lasts from January to March although the best time to ski is between mid-January to late February when the conditions are perfect.
(Read, Best Time For Skiing in Gulmarg)
Auli has south-facing slopes unlike Gulmarg, which means the direct sun leaves behind an icy surface and powdery conditions are present only for a limited period of time. This limits the ski season to one month between mid-January to mid-February, when the snow cover is deep and optimal for skiing.
Gulmarg offers a range of accommodation options for both luxury and budget travelers, making it easy to find a place to stay for the duration of your winter adventure.
Accommodation options in Auli are limited. One can instead stay in Joshimath which has more options to choose from.
Kashmir Alpine Ski is the premium equipment rental store in Gulmarg. They have all the skiing equipment stocked and maintained in great condition. They have been around since 1988. Another way to rent equipment is to have it arranged through your hotel or travel company.
Auli has limited equipment rental options and is restricted to small local operators.
Needless to say, Gulmarg does fare better than Auli on almost all fronts, making it the best skiing destination in India. However, do not underestimate Auli for it offers some of the best views of the Garhwal Himalayas that surround it.