This interesting forum entry by “action goat” is a good narration of one person’s skiing experience in Gulmarg this year. All credits on Gulmarg TR to the forum post entry on ski.com.au
Just returned from Gulmarg after spending 17 days there. To sum up, it was probably the wildest, most frustrating, most liberating skiing I’ve ever had. Timed the snow perfectly – I often heard that the first week we were there was the best of the season so far. After a very poor start to the season, 3 metres fell in the week before arrival; the result was an avalanche that thundered down one of the bowls, killing 17 soldiers stationed nearby. The gondola, of course, was closed throughout the storm, but jeep-assisted runs to the nearby villages of Baba Reshi and Drung, as well as skinning up Monkey Hill, offered plenty of good turns until the gondola opened. When it did, the pow stayed good for more than a week before crapping out.
But while the snow was great and first tracks easy to score, Gulmarg definitely was at times exasperating. The lift ticket system was utterly ridiculous and time-consuming, the ATM rarely worked (and when it did it ate my card), and the upper gondola was frequently closed (meanwhile the lower gondola offered no reasonable skiing). Worst of all, the terrain was not particularly steep (something especially apparent now I’m back and have checked out a few piccies of recently posted Euro TRs). Here’s the thing though: most of these annoyances were kind of like gatekeepers; a slew of frustrations to keep uncommitted skiers away from the pow that awaited. Doubtless there’ll be plenty of skiers coming away from Gulmarg this season saying the place is crap—these frustrations become pretty hard to deal with if there hasn’t been any fresh snow for more than a week—but for those willing to roll with it, the place offers an experience like no other. And the Kashmiris are incredibly friendly, except perhaps when they’re throwing rocks at cops in Srinagar – the city got shut down several times while we were there (Gulmarg though felt utterly safe and removed from any disturbances)
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