Overall Rating

Gulmarg

Gulmarg3.5/513
Gulmarg3.5 out of 5 based on 13 reviews
  • Recommend
    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.