If you are new to learning skiing, you are in for an exciting journey. It is normal for learners to feel overwhelmed by how much there is to know when it comes to skiing – from gear to terminology to techniques. But let’s leave all there is to worry about for some other article. For this one, we only want to focus on everything that is inviting about skiing and the art of learning this sport.
This article, as the title suggests, is to celebrate the magic of learning to ski in Gulmarg. Here is a list of some of the highlights of this sport as experienced by us in the last few seasons.
Highlight 1: Skiing: A Slip and Glide Through Winter Kinda Sport
If we are talking about highlights, I think we must start with the obvious! The first obvious highlight of skiing in Gulmarg is, well, of course, skiing! What better way to spend the winter than being in the Himalayan landscape crisscrossing through huge alpine trees as you slide down massive powder slopes at full speed – a perfect balance of scary and thrilling, wouldn’t you think? It is also one of the few outdoor activities which makes the winter landscape not only accessible but also absolutely essential. It is a perfect celebration of all things winters.
Skiing in Gulmarg is not just about conquering the slopes; it's about the thrill of adventure. The sense of freedom as you navigate the mountains, the rush of adrenaline as you pick up speed, and the joy of sharing this adventure with fellow skiers create memories that will last a lifetime. The challenges and rewards of skiing make it an unparalleled adventure for all who seek it.
Highlight 2: Gulmarg: A Home for Winter
And what better place to experience all of this than in Gulmarg – our second most obvious highlight? This little town in the heart of Kashmir valley is pure magic! Nestled in the awe-inspiring Himalayan mountains, it's like stepping into a winter wonderland. Majestic peaks, glistening snow, and an atmosphere brimming with adventure greets you at every turn. And guess what? Gulmarg boasts some of the most incredible ski lifts in the world and slopes that will have your heart pounding with excitement.
Here are some quick facts that make Gulmarg the place to be in winters:
a) Abundant snowfall: Gulmarg receives an average of 150 inches of snow each winter, ensuring that the slopes are always covered in pristine powder.
b) Varied terrain: Gulmarg has something to offer skiers of all levels, from beginner to expert. The resort offers a variety of slopes, from gentle beginner slopes to challenging off-piste terrain.
c) Glacial skiing without the glacier: Gulmarg's slopes offer a unique skiing experience that is similar to glacier skiing, but without the need to travel to a high altitude glacier.
d) Dramatic scenery: Gulmarg is nestled in the heart of the Himalayas, offering stunning views of snow-capped peaks and emerald valleys.
e) Authentic Kashmiri culture: Gulmarg is also a great place to experience authentic Kashmiri culture. You get to enjoy traditional Kashmiri cuisine, handicrafts, and music.
f) Friendly locals: The people of Gulmarg are known for their warmth and hospitality. You can expect to be treated like family during their stay.
If you are looking for a winter skiing experience that is truly unforgettable, then Gulmarg is the place for you.
Highlight 3: The Gondola Ride
One of the most iconic experiences in Gulmarg is the Gondola ride, which is also one of the highest cable cars in the world. The Gulmarg Gondola takes you to breathtaking heights, providing stunning panoramic views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains, forests, and meadows. The journey on the Gondola is a highlight in itself, as it takes skiers and snowboarders to the top of Mount Apharwat, offering a bird’s eye view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It's an unforgettable ride savored by skiers and non-skiers alike.
Highlight 4: Conquering the Learning Curve & Skiing Competition
Skiing is not something you can master in a day, which adds to the allure of the sport. As a beginner, you'll face a learning curve that challenges your balance, coordination, and perseverance. The sense of accomplishment and personal growth that comes with each small improvement is incredibly rewarding. Learning to control your movements and navigate various terrains is a significant highlight in itself.
Skiing offers a sense of continual progression. Whether you're learning how to make your first turns, tackling steeper slopes, or venturing into off-piste terrain, the journey is marked by a sense of achievement with each milestone. Progressing in skiing provides a constant source of motivation and the thrill of pushing your boundaries.
Just to add a sense of healthy rivalry but with a focus on learning, we arrange a small skiing competition amongst all our participants towards the end of the courses. It is a day of laughter, madness, sheer joy and well of course a lot of practice!
Highlight 5: Parallel Turns and Carving
We bet you’ve watched videos of people make perfect S-shaped curves as they rocket down a powder slope – that level of control, balance and efficiency on slippery slopes is a result of mastering these advanced techniques of parallel turns and carving – skills you learn and practice in our skiing courses.
Parallel turns and carving are fundamental techniques in alpine skiing that enhance a skier's control, precision, and overall experience on the slopes. Parallel turns involve the skis moving side by side, maintaining a consistent distance throughout the turn. This technique allows for better weight distribution, stability, and smoother transitions between turns. It is a crucial skill for skiers of all levels as it provides better control on varied terrains and helps in navigating slopes with greater ease.
Carving is an even more advanced technique where skiers engage the edges of their skis to create clean, arcing turns on the snow. Carving involves the skis cutting through the snow, leaving behind distinct, curved tracks. The benefits of carving include increased speed, improved energy efficiency, and a thrilling sensation for the skier. Both parallel turns and carving contribute to a skier's overall skill set, enabling them to navigate slopes confidently and enjoy a more dynamic and engaging skiing experience.
This is when you master the skills, though!
Learning parallel turns and carving for the first time is like a giraffe trying to learn ballet – it’s awkward, amusing, and occasionally involves unexpected tumbles. Picture yourself on the slopes, attempting parallel turns with the finesse of a baby giraffe taking its first steps. Your skis decide to rebel, each going in its own direction like they have a mind of their own. Carving, the advanced dance move of the skiing world, becomes a hilarious interpretative dance with the snow, leaving abstract art in your wake. You wobble, you giggle, and at times, you execute maneuvers that even modern dance would struggle to categorize. It's a symphony of "whoops" and "I meant to do that" moments. As you navigate the slopes, you become a mobile comedy show, with the mountain as your stage and the snow as your unpredictable dance partner. The grace might be MIA, but the laughter is in abundance. Welcome to the sidesplitting saga of mastering parallel turns and carving – where every fall is a standing ovation for resilience, and the snow becomes your whimsical dance floor.
Highlight 6: Ski Lifts
We saved the best for the last. Ah, this one’s a little hard to describe but let’s try anyway!
Boarding a ski lift is like entering a secret society where the initiation involves contorting your body into a bizarre arrangement of winter gear. The chair, seemingly possessed by a mischievous winter spirit, swings unpredictably as you approach, daring you to predict the perfect moment to plop down. Attempting to synchronize your movements with the elusive chair feels like participating in a high-stakes game of musical chairs, minus the cheery tunes. Once aboard, the relentless cold breeze transforms you into a makeshift human wind turbine, making you question if you accidentally signed up for a winter carnival ride. As you ascend, you become a spectator of downhill chaos, watching fellow skiers engage in a comedy of errors below. The grand finale awaits at the top: a dismount that requires the elegance of a figure skater and the poise of a cat landing on its feet. Despite the quirks and challenges, mastering the ski lift becomes a badge of honor, a humorous tale to recount in the cozy warmth of the apres-ski lodge.
Whether this is a highlight or a challenge, we leave it for you to decide!
This was it from us! If you happen to try it, we’d love to know what some of the highlights of skiing were for you!
Happy Winters to you !