Himalayan Odyski – Yes! You can ski in India
New Delhi – Srinagar – New Delhi
Mid December – April
First came the British, then the French, then Warren Miller and then Teton Gravity Research. Now it’s your turns. Carve a resort the size of Vail with your own signature and not have to worry about fighting for first tracks. Then chill on a houseboat where the Rolling Stones and royalty down the years have wondered at the serene beauty that surrounds Dal Lake. You will come to know why this has been thought to be the fabled Shangri-La. Book early as we are having unprecedented interest in this tour.
India’s capital and a major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is a bustling metropolis studded with incredible remnants of bygone times. The first impressions for any visitor traveling through Delhi are of a spacious city with tree-lined avenues and forested parks. After breakfast at the hotel you will visit the impressive India Gate War Memorial Arch, along with the President’s Palace, Parliament and other government buildings built by the two famous English architects, Sir Herbert Baker and Edwin Lutyens, in the first quarter of 20th century when the capital of British Empire was shifted from Calcutta to Delhi.
Lunch will be provided in local restaurant before an exploration of Old Delhi, the ancient Muslim capital that is a dramatic contrast to New Delhi. You’ll visit Idgah Mosque; and the Old Jain Temple. The main focus of the day will be Old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk – the city’s colorful and vast shopping bazaar – where you will visit areas on foot and by rickshaw typically not visited by the casual tourist. Plenty of time to visit Delhi’s tailors and order yourself a new suit or have your favorite dress copied.
Arriving for a late lunch in Gulmarg will be one of the more remarkable experiences of your life. No other ski village is like this. No other ski mountain prepares you for this. No other ski lift promises so much. Whether you bring your own gear or rent from the wide range of freeride and backcountry gear offered locally, you could be on piste before your first cup of kahwa tea. Kahwa means eleven in the local dialect, the number of ingredients in this magical concoction, including saffron, almonds, raisins and even tea! We recommend not heading straight to the summit of Apharwat for a breathtaking run fit for a Teton Gravity Research movie. But then we’re not very good at following our own advice. The temptation to go skiing fourteen thousand feet higher than where you woke a few hours ago is just too epic not to, right? For the wise, there are some baby slopes to get things started right and to allow your body to acclimate. “Baby slopes” takes some re-definition when the mountains surrounding you count among the world’s highest. How does Nanga Parbat grab you at 26,600’, ninth highest and still never climbed in winter?
Accommodation in the brand new luxury Hotel Khyber Himalayan Resort
It doesn’t take much getting used to: the room boy coming to stoke the log fire in your room and bring you more kahwa tea in a silver brazier. Options abound: a lazy ski down into the valley below, skin up to the ridge above following the tracks of snow leopards, or wait for the lift to open and still get untracked snow. All day long. Have fun.
How many runs today?
With a gondola that took twenty years to build because of the strife between India and Pakistan, it is now possible to ascend from Gulmarg village around 8,825’ to Kongdoori summit 13,054’ in just minutes. The lift in two stages stretches a staggering 5kms. Imagine the length of the runs. A last spurt on foot can take you to the summit of Apharwat itself at 13,530’ (4,124m)
More to explore. The Apharwat Ridge has several gulleys, each of which is the size of good ski basin back home.
For many, a highlight of this trip is skiing where there are monkeys in the trees. “I swear one threw a snowball at me!” On the 34th parallel, this is like the equivalent of skiing in Georgia or the Southwest US. In other words, kinda nice
A night on a Dal Lake houseboat should not be missed. “Houseboat” demonstrates a mastery of understatement not common in India. These carved and ornamented wooden structures are really palaces on water. No visit should be made without a stay on one. Trips by boat to floating markets are de rigeur and besides, your thighs need a break. If the legs are holding up, it is easy and cost effective to arrange extensions to your stay on the mountain.
Humayan’s Tomb is an important precursor to the splendor of the Taj Mahal; the vast stone tower Qutab Minar is unlike anything else you will see anywhere except perhaps in the Lord of the Rings. The surreal beauty of the Bahai “Lotus” Temple; or the imposing and wonderfully decaying fort at Tughlaqabad. And don’t forget to pick up those smart new threads for when you get back to the 9-5.