Gulmarg prides itself as one of the highest lift-served ski resorts in the world. This is laregely due to setting-up of a Gandola Cable Car Lift from Gulmarg to Apharwat top. The first section of the Gandola, from Gulmarg to Kongdori gives a downhill ski run of about 3 kms. In addition, three ski lifts and one chair lift also service the resort, which are suitable for beginners and intermediate-level skiing, respectively.
The skiing season in Gulmarg usually commences before Christmas (around middle of December) and continues till middle of April. In January-February, 1998 the first National Winter Games of India were held at Gulmarg, for which the facilities were enormously improved and upgraded. The resort acquired two Kasse Bohrer snow beating machines used for preparing skiing slopes, and five snowmobiles, which can be made available for going up the mountain (in reality, would they be??). Good quality equipment, including skis, boots, sticks, gloves and goggles are available on hire on the spot from the Government-run ski and other rental shops. There are also trained instructors available for guiding the tourists. Gulmarg is ideally suited for learning skiing, as it is probably the cheapest ski resort in the world.
The Tourism department is organizing National Winter games from February 17 to February 22, 2008 at Gulmarg. In which about 500 players are participating.
The upper gondola (phase 2) to Mt Apherwat is the prime attraction for skiers, hikers. The cable car ascends 1,330 vertical metres to a height of nearly 4,000m. The first phase, from Gulmarg to the Kongdori mid-station 300m above costs Rs100 each way, or Rs500 for the day. Phase 2, to nearly 4,000m at the ridgeline of Mt Apherwat, costs Rs250 each way. A day pass is Rs1,000.
The gondola operates both during winter and summer, with times when its taken off for planned or unplanned repairs, including for inclement weather. It is possible to hike or take a pony, depending on the season. For the ski season, J&K Tourism (www.jktourism.org) also operates two lifts on the snow-covered golf course in Gulmarg proper. Lifts are about Rs60 for a full day’s use and Rs40 for a half-day.
You can learn golf for Rs250 a day, which is as low it can get anywhere in the world. Taking lessons is very common for local Kashmiri population. For foreigners www.skihimalaya.com.au conducts some tours that are albeit expensive.
- You can get a government guide for Rs1,000.
- Skis and snowboards with bindings cost Rs500 per day; get them cheaper from J&K Tourism’s ski rental shop.
- Boots, skis and sticks (or board and boots) Rs250 a day.
- Goggles and gloves for an additional 50 bucks.
- Discounts at half off for under 12 of age and students
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