History of skiing in Gulmarg

Two British Army Officers, Major Headow and Major Metcarp established the Ski Club of India at Gulmarg in 1927 with late Peston Ji as its Secretary. Skiing rapidly grew in Gulmarg and became a popular sport among the British Army Officers. Two main events were held. One at Christmas time and the other on the occasion of Easter. The slopes above Khilanmarg were used for competitions and the pony trail from Gulmarg to khilanmarg was kept open during winter. There was also a Ski Hut at Khilanmarg. The attendance on Easter Event in 1938 was more than 500. After the departure of the British in 1947, the resort virtually collapsed. Government of India revived the resort in mid sixties by formulating a comprehensive project for developing Gulmarg as an International Ski Resort. A Ski School with an Austrian Director, Dr.Jens Krauser was set up to train National Ski Instructors. A chairlift was installed. Ski Equipment was imported. The Resort had been earmarked for receiving UNDP assistance. Skiing once again revived and Gulmarg was on way to becoming the only Ski Resort in the Himalayas. However, after the initial euphoria, the development of the resort got bogged down in bureaucratic details and ego clashes.
The Central Government interest, as usual started waning and the progress became very slow. The Project was kept alive for namesake only. On the local level, the State Government took many steps to keep the sport going among the local youth. A large number of locals were trained in Skiing, some of whom took part in the Asian Winter Games as well as Winter Olympics. New equipment was imported and three ski lifts were installed for beginners. After Rajiv-Farooq accord in 1987, the Project received a fresh impetus. It had been pointed out by Experts that the real good slopes of Gulmarg were above the tree line on the Apharwat Mountain. However, these were inaccessible due to absence of a mechanical lift to the top. A project to set up a Gondola/Cable Car to the top was conceived and initiated for installation through the French Company Pomagalski. However, Gulmarg faced another collapse after the eruption of turmoil in 1990. The whole project got stalled. After a gap of about ten years, work on the Gondola was once again taken up.

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