Overall Rating

Gulmarg

Gulmarg3.5/513
Gulmarg3.5 out of 5 based on 13 reviews
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    100%
  • Would Revisit
    92%

Gulmarg - Reviews

Gulmarg - Reviews

Brilliant

19/04/2020

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  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    5

Brilliant

19/04/2020
A Glorious Powder Day at Gulmarg
Amazing Vistas
Dean, our guide from Bill's Trips
Skied down to the little village to meet the locals
Impressive terrain
Our trip to Gulmarg was absolutely brilliant and up there as one of the best all-round trips we’ve done. It was the combination of snow, amazing terrain, great guides (we went with Bill’s Trips), the Kashmiri men, the culture, the food, and then the sensory overload in Srinagar afterwards, that made the trip phenomenal.

It was a bit touch and go as to whether our Gulmarg trip would eventuate considering that Kashmir had been in turmoil and had all its communications shut down only a handful of months prior. Thankfully the unrest had settled and all was well when we visited (except that social media was still locked down). The military presence was very obvious, but no different to usual apparently, and we felt very safe whilst we were in Gulmarg. One bonus of the recent turbulence was that there were barely any international visitors in Gulmarg, and we got more of a fresh powder fill than perhaps would occur during any other season.

Gulmarg was a very beautiful part of the world, and perhaps there was a little less rubbish strewn about compared to the rest of Kashmir and India! It was hard not to just stare at the splendour of the mountains. The ski terrain was really impressive, especially considering how much big mountain terrain can be accessed off the gondolas, with a relatively small amount of skinning.

At the start of the trip we did a lot of skinning because the weather was fine and the temperatures were uncharacteristically warm, so the guides had to take us further afield to find some decent snow. Later in our trip a storm came through and then we got to revel in Gulpow without a huge amount of skinning.

Skiing down to the little village of Drang for tea was one highlight of the trip, and hanging for a while in Tangmarg was also really enjoyable to meet the locals. Of course the only locals we met were men (except for a nano-second in Drang), and naturally the only staff working in our hotel and around the Gulmarg village were men. It was hard to get our heads around the puzzling culture of women in Kashmir, but I guess this is just part of the intrigue of Kashmir.

And Kashmir like the rest of India has plenty of elements that don’t work as they’re supposed to. The power went off reasonably frequently, the gondola would stop working sometimes, and the internet was completely shoddy. And work ethic where a tip wasn’t involved was also sometimes amusing.

We didn’t experience long gondola queues as occurs in some seasons, but it still often took a long time to get on the gondola due to general inefficiency. The gondola cabins hold 6 yet often it only had 2, 3 or 4 people in the cabins. Elsewhere in the world, gondola staff help skiers load equipment into the racks whilst riders focus on getting into the gondola, but at Gulmarg the gondola staff just stand around doing not much. It took a little while to not view Gulmarg as a ski resort, but rather an adventure skiing destination that just happens to have some lift infrastructure. And it didn’t take long to absolutely love the place! We stayed at the Hotel Highlands Park which was also part of the love affair.

To add to the adventure we went from Gulmarg onto Srinagar, Delhi and the Golden Triangle, and then to Manali to go heli skiing. A trip of a lifetime!

See the Gulmarg overview for our thoughts on the pros and cons, and the ski resort ratings to see how it compares internationally.

Kashing in

28/01/2020

Rory

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Kashing in

28/01/2020
This is a fantastic place- huge mountains with massive snowfall and endless options for skiing. It isn't a place to venture to on your own- the combination of terrain, weather and snowfall mean that it experiences some enormous avalanches, but there are great options for riding with some excellent guides.

I have been twice, both times with Bills Trips, an outfit run by Bill Barker, the head of the Mount Hotham ski patrol in Australia. Bill is a bit of a legend and has been running trips to Gulmarg for more than 10 years. He somehow attracts some of the greatest alpinist/ski guides I have ever met, women and men who are extremely well trained and knowledgeable in these mountains and their conditions.

The terrain is served by a two-phase gondola and a chairlift. In weather, the upper phase is often closed due to wind or avalanche risk, in which case the trip to top of the first phase takes you to the treeline.

The skiing is phenomenal, with world-class high alpine terrain well above 4000m and a massive number of routes back down to the gondola. The tree skiing is the best I have ever experienced, with rolling pitches through huge old-growth pines. This is the stuff of your dreams. Higher up, the 'paper trees' and other areas offer spectacular options, always on great terrain.

On both trips, we stayed in the Highland Park hotel. it;s a taste of old times with a bar that is the old golf course clubhouse and charming, friendly service. The beer gets a bit old after a few days, but the rooms are perfect with masses of hot water, comfortable beds and wood-burning stoves that are tended by a chai wallah who creeps in early every morning to crank up the heat.

Kashmir is a real bucket list destination. Do it.

Weird/Great Place

Tim
14/04/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    51-70
  • Month Visited:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    4

Weird/Great Place

Tim
14/04/2019
What a trip (in both senses of the word)!

The snow was really good. Not like the champagne powder of Fernie or Asahidake but still great. What really makes it, is that there's no one there. We went in late feb 2019 and there were probably about 120 people on the entire mountain. That meant that even four days after the last dump we still got fresh tracks.

Some things to remember:
* Kashmir is not the Alps
- no mobile signal
- no pistes
- very limited apres
- 1 ski shop (sort of)
- no medical facilities
- 1 cash machine
* Kashmir is not the Alps
- no body there - wide open slopes
- no pistes (piste skis sucks anyway)
- really friendly people
* Bring your own kit......everything, don't think you can rent it there
* You must have Avo gear - all of it
* Bring a head light/torch. Unless you're stay at the the Highland Park Hotel you'll need to navigate the narrow snow track through the forest to the only bar in the resort.

We ate on the mountain and had no digestive problems at all.

It was one of the best/weirdest places. Oh and it's safe. We were there when India bombed Pakistan (two fighter jets shot down) and a major international incident but there wasn't the slightest bit of trouble at the resort.

If you want something that's off the beaten track so have got to go.

Gulmarg February 2019

Mark Glover
06/03/2019
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  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    51-70
  • Month Visited:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    3

Gulmarg February 2019

Mark Glover
06/03/2019
Absolutely awesome terrain, snow, untracked powder, friendly locals, thrilling taxi rides, great comraderie from all the skiers borders. Easy access from Srinagar, was there during a recent spat between India and Pakistan, had Miss flying overhead but felt absolutely safe. We got guides from Snow Kings who fixed everything from airport transfers to ski waxing phone SIM cards and most importantly avalanche safety and great guiding skills. Guides are essential as avalanche risk is real due to the steepness of the terrain.

Awesome place to visit

Tafheem Ahmad Wani
07/12/2018
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  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Beginner
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    February

Awesome place to visit

Tafheem Ahmad Wani
07/12/2018
World famous ski resort with loads of natural beauty!!

economical and excellent trip

samuel
08/02/2015
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    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Admin Rating
    4

economical and excellent trip

samuel
08/02/2015
Writing the small blog near to fire stove in srinagar and Driking a tasteful Khawa

I came to India with my friends for ski at gulmarg, and it was my first time india also, Unfortunately i cant ski at gulmarg not more than 2 days because there was no snow from last 2 month ,

I organized this trip by myself and little help of my friend. For gulmarg ski resort there is limited information available online, Most of westerner Russian and Austrilian traveller booking the ski package, which is most costlier then self made:
I just booked 3 Accommodation online and send a request to hotelier for airport transfers and all the hotelier send the vehicle as per our details which we had mentioned in special request
My first day start from Dehli airport, I booked Mustache hostel at Delhi for my first night , this hostel is recommend on LP Guide book , As we was travel on Budget we booked Dorm room for my self and 4 Friends
The people and staff was very polite and helpful,

and after checked inn a hostel we went delhi tour by own but its completely a dirty cities in india and around 4 touts / agents followed us , but we refuses there services and Great food in local resturant at near to hostel
and on next morning the hotelier arranged a airport transfer for us and we had taken the flight toward to Srinagar
On arrival at srinagar we was shocked a lot of security presence in airport, and A person shouted on us and he ask to fill the foreing registration forum , which is necessary to fill
After fill a form and came out to the airport, The Lonely guesthouse owners brother was waiting for us to take there guest house

its actual a Home stay cum Guesthouse, in kashmir , Mr nazir a owner of the house was very helpful for us, he arranged sightseen tour for srinagar also and also pick up and drop facility to gulmarg
the food is home made 100% recommend you must eat if you are travelling in srinagar city
and another day we left towards toward gulmarg and stay for 5 night , we booked hotel khaleel, the hotels is good but the heating arrangement was not adequate and limited hot water available
and Thankful to Idres a ski guide a knowledgeable person and having lot of know about the slopes in valley
and at gulmarg there aroud 4 ski shopes available
but our experience at gulmarg was great because we got lot of snow at the ending of trip

Our Group spend 250 Euro only, without Airfare from Holland - Delhi - srinagar and back

Gulmarg - An Adventure for the Experienced Powderhound

David Vincent
06/03/2014
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    Expert
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Admin Rating
    4

Gulmarg - An Adventure for the Experienced Powderhound

David Vincent
06/03/2014
Skiing the Indian Himalayas in Gulmarg is, in a word, phenomenal. The highest lifted gondola in the world takes you to nearly 4,000m where you have an incredible vista of the Pir Panjal mountain range and an endless choice of untouched powder lines.

Gulmarg isn’t really for the faint-hearted or aspiring intermediate who wants to venture into the backcountry for the first time. Let’s face it - it’s a gondola that drops you smack bang into the Himalayan backcountry. It’s a serious mountain and isn’t really a “ski resort” in the typical sense of the term and probably never will be. There’s just no intermediate terrain in-between the advanced/expert steeps of phase 2 of the Gondola and the baby green poma slopes way down in the village. But for the experienced powderhound with the right gear, experience and attitude - it’s gotta be on the bucket list!

There’s avy control in the main bowl under the phase 2 Gondola but no grooming at all above the mid-station and the rest of the 5km ridgeline has endless steep bowls and chutes and is serious backcountry terrain. It’s massive - probably the size of at least 4 large ski resorts.

Having a trusted, knowledgeable and experienced guide in Gulmarg is absolutely essential. Even from the mid-station of the Gondola, you really can’t tell how massive and complex the terrain is until your up there in one of the bowls dropping into well over 1km of vert. There’s many reasons you’ll need a guide in Gulmarg - from terrain selection for avy risk, to route-finding so you don’t get lost or have unnecessary hiking, to avoiding avalanche poodles that drop in on you, to finding the secret spots where untouched fresh snow can be found over a week after the last storm.

I spent my two weeks in Gulmarg in Feb 2014 guided by Matt from the Adventure Project - http://www.theadventureproject.net/ - and would recommend them unhesitatingly. They’ve been there for over 5 years, have an unparalleled approach to safety in avalanche terrain, and know the mountain like the back of their hand. During my 12 days there, it actually didn’t really snow at all which is evidently very unusual, although 215cm of snow fell over 5 days the week before I arrived! Nevertheless, with a bit of skinning and an ‘earn your turns’ ethic, we skied untouched steep powder runs every day! The variety in terrain is unreal - steep chutes, open bowls, ridgelines, open spaced paperbark trees, steeps through ancient pines.

During my time in Gulmarg, the avalanche danger was mostly rated as Considerable (where statistically most fatalities occur) and one day there were 4 reported human triggered avalanches so our group really appreciated the wise terrain selection decisions and travel protocols Matt equipped us with to reduce our risk. We started our trip with avalanche and rescue theory, a full day of single and multiple rescue beacon training (in steep avy debris) as well as establishing group travel protocols. On the second day we practiced strategic shovelling (if you’re venturing in the backcountry and don’t know what this is then you need to) and dug a snowpit to conduct stability tests. We still got some nice skiing in during these couple of days (although it only got better) but you SHOULD feel scared for your life if your group doesn’t have these skills in Gulmarg. I had some of these basics beforehand but this trip was invaluable to develop a proper base of backcountry skills I will take with me and continue developing all over the world.

I can’t write a review of this place without mentioning my double ejection to front-flip and accidental airbag deployment at the run out of Shark’s Fin. Not sure if anyone’s seen this kind of thing before or heard of it but it was clearly a highlight. We skinned an hour from the top of the Gondola to the peak of Mt Apharwat at 4150m and then around to Shark’s Fin ridge where a nice 40 degree face awaited and I was pretty excited until I came across a compression in flat light that I just didn't see - https://vimeo.com/86899150

We stayed at the Khyber Resort Hotel and it was really nice. It’s the only 5 star hotel in Gulmarg, has great food in the buffet, and an amazing swimming pool with floor to ceiling glass walls giving a panoramic view of the Gulmarg mountain. Rooms are great (good shower pressure cannot be underestimated in Gulmarg from what I’ve heard!, the staff are friendly and helpful and the price overall is pretty competitive compared with other accomm options from what I’ve seen. Except for laundry - if you get laundry done at the Khyber it may well cost you US50. And it comes back to you in carved wooden boxes, with Khyber branded cardboard in each t-shirt.

Finally, Gulmarg has all the quirks and fascinations of being an Indian town in the Himalayas. Many military bases (some with angry dogs that want to chase you around the hill); super friendly locals in traditional Kashmiri attire (many selling chocolate and water); dudes walking around rocking AK-47s; INSANE driving (the horn is THE means of communication over any road rules that may or may not exist - if you ain’t honking you’re invisible); interesting lack of snow clearing on the roads makes for fun (slightly fear for your life) taxi rides back up the hill with slot-car like ruts your local driver will navigate amongst the plebs without chains or a clue; beer with alcohol content labelled as being between 5.25% but not exceeding 8.25%; and make sure to stay on the houseboats on the Dal Lake, Srinagar at the end of your stay - super chilled way to relax and check out the floating vegetable markets where the locals trade “a large rock’s worth” of parsnips.

As a powderhound, it’s safe to say, I’ll be returning to Gulmarg.

Great experience and lot of good information on powderhounds

ken samalyal
19/02/2014
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  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Admin Rating
    3

Great experience and lot of good information on powderhounds

ken samalyal
19/02/2014
I and my friends are very thankful to powderhounds for providing a wonderful information about the gulmarg ski resort, we searched a lot about gulmarg but there is not sufficient information for those traveler who travel in economical way.

we booked my the accommodation 2 night stays in srinagar in the shelter group of houseboats.They arranged our airport tranfers and from houseboats to tangmarg area and back to srinagar on last day and 7 nights at green heights near to cable car (Lift). The rooms are very small in size, we take the food in local restaurant every day and we take a local ski guide for 3 day he charged Rs 10000 to introduces new ski route.

its was amazing trip for limited budget traveler. 

for arranging the cab from srinagar airport and srinagar tour you can contact houseboat shelter [email protected]ouseboatsinsrinagar.co.in
and for local guide at gulmarg : [email protected]

Not your average ski destination

01/04/2013

Andrew Henderson

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  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Admin Rating
    5

Not your average ski destination

01/04/2013
Andrew Henderson review of Gulmarg
I had just under two weeks of skiing in the Gulmarg in February 2013. This place is a great travel and ski experience, but not a destination for young families or those wanting the conventional ski resort holiday. Some previous experience of India and its idiosyncrasies would be good preparation. This season was marred by civil unrest in February and a lot of people left the field at the end of that month. This was much more than an inconvenience for the Kashmiris than the tourists of course, but a reminder that this is still an unsettled area and things may go wrong. Having said that, I never felt personally at risk from the curfews, strikes and police presence (just the taxis) and Kashmiris are very relaxed, friendly and helpful.

The mountain is perfect. Excellent alpine, great trees, good pitch, long, long (long) runs. Abundant snow, but lots of bluebird days to enjoy it as well. To make the most of what is on offer, however, you need to be aware that the skiing should really be regarded as assisted backcountry. You need at least basic avalanche gear and to know how to use it and you need a mate who does too. There is "on piste" skiing off the gondola, but that is not where the action is! A bit of hiking, traversing and skinning opens up a huge amount of terrain.
Andrew Henderson review of Gulmarg
I had a guide and thought it was well worth it. Arrived on my own and was glad to have someone to ski with apart from anything else. Experienced back country skiers will be happy to find their own routes and many do. I was happy though to be led by the nose to the best runs. I also got to meet a few locals and see a few places I would not have found on my own in the village and the valley. And I skied untracked snow pretty much every day I was there. Booking a guide through a company back home or getting a recommendation from friends is the best way to get a good quality guide.

The ski field seems to have two personalities. In the valley itself there are quite a few ridiculous lifts. Some of these look to have a vertical of no more than 100 or 200 metres. These are quite well used during the day, but not by anyone visiting from outside India. Then there is personality two. The "gondola" is actually 2 separate lifts with a midstation connecting them. The lowermost offers some pretty reasonable skiing and is the only option on days when the top is shut, but the runout is fairly flat. The second stage goes ... nicely high. The lift is in reasonable condition. It isn't really "new" but came second hand from some European field. It is not designed for modern skis or boards, or people wearing avalanche bags. So the queues can be pretty long and slow as 4 people maximum squeeze into the relatively widely spaced lifts. I thought it was safe if somewhat rustic, but it is a little disconcerting having to share with fully armed soldiers and large containers of fuel oil at times. Climbing to about a third of the height of the second gondola is a quadruple chair. Brand spanking new. Also a good option for low visibility, windy, or "no apparent reason" days of closure of the upper gondola.
Andrew Henderson review of Gulmarg
I stayed at Nedou's Hotel. Not listed in the accomodation section of powder hounds at the time of writing but similar and close to Highland Park. One of the original hotels and not cheap, but a lot of fun. Only a 10 minute walk and ski to the gondola in the morning.

The lift tickets are cheap as chips and can be paid for one at a time (great fun in the crush and confusion to get on). A reasonable day, with a bit of hiking and exploring, might be just 4 or 5 runs. But that is enough! There are days when everything is closed, in which case skiing the trees down the access road slopes and catching a taxi back is an acceptable alternative for a few runs.

So! Not for everyone and really pretty much the exact opposite of say, Whistler, when it comes to facilities. But one of the best places I have skied so far.
Andrew Henderson review of Gulmarg

AMAZING!

Gramps Bob
13/07/2012
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  • Rider Age
    70+
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    1

AMAZING!

Gramps Bob
13/07/2012
It was amazing, as a 84 year old, I enjoyed this alot! My wife and I were amazed, we read the reviews and saw it was poor, so I decided to go, I took the risk, but it was fantastic. I would strongly recommed and revist.
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