Gulmarg resort guide & reviews Ski area, apres-ski, things to see &do in Gulmarg
Ski holidays in Gulmarg - In the 19th century Gulmarg was a hill station for British colonials to escape the summer heat (almost everyone is fluent in English). These days, its a world-class ski resort blanketed with fresh, light powder from the Himalayas, attracting ski bums tired of Alpine lift queues and fondues.
Gulmarg is one of India's premier ski resorts and offers visitiors something different to what they've experienced before - no queues, loads of powder and breathtaking views of the surrounding Himalayan range. Gulmarg itself is surrounded by a dense forest of conifers that allows for some great tree skiing.
While Gulmarg is an all-weather resort with refreshing summer meadows and pastoral scenes to keep the camera busy, the main reason to come here, at least in winter, is the off-piste, deep-powder, long-runs and snowboarding. The Himalayan resort of Gulmarg is one of the newest and increasingly popular ski destinations for people wanting to try something a little different.
After a day on the mountain the Hotel Highlands Park is a popular hang-out with a cosy lounge and bar.
For late night apres-ski in Gulmmarg, the Pine Palace Resort, Hotel Alpine Ridge and Global Hotel & Restaurant are the places to go. Themed party nights are organised throughout the week.
|Key information (whole area)|
|Season||Dec - April|
|Apres ski||Relaxed & fun|
Gulmarg Ski Area Guide
The skiing season usually commences before Christmas (around middle of December) and continues until the middle of April. It is perfect for intermediate and expert skiers and boarders. In addition to the massive gondola, Gulmarg has one T-bar and a couple of chair-lifts that gives access to an incredible amount of terrain.
The beginners' slopes have gentle gradients and are perfect for those first few days. Trained instructors are available and equipment can be hired from the local ski shop.
Internediate skiers and boarders have enough pisted terrain to keep them occupied which gets larger and larger the further you go off the groomed pistes. Be warned though that unlike the larger European resorts that generate lots of off-piste traffic, Gulmarg can feel like you are the only one around for miles so make sure you take a guide if you are planning to venture off. In 2012, a new chairlift was installed that takes skiers from Knogdori to Marys shoulder opening up even more terrain.
Taking the gondola up to nearly 4000m opens up an abundance of different pisted and off-pisted routes back down to the village.
If you are prepared to skin or shoe-up to the top of Mt Apharwat (takes about 30-40 mins) from the top station, you’ll think you are on top of the world! Amazing views of Nanga Parbat (8126m) which is the 9th highest mountain on the planet. Its basically like heli-skiing at the fraction of the cost!!!
Things to see & do in Gulmarg
If you fancy a break from skiing, there are plenty of other activities to try...
- Winter hiking trails
- Try the wellness and spa resort - the Kyber - for some relaxing treatments it it's state of the art facilities
Heli-skiing was introduced at Gulmarg a few years ago which has opened up a whole new dimension to the amount of terrain available to board and ski on. Helicopters lift the heli-skiers to the peak of their choice from where they weave their way down through what has been described as the best powder snow in the world. With 66 peaks over 3000m and 22 peaks over 4000m the options are virtually endless.
Featured holiday rentals
There is a relatively wide choice of accommodation to rent in Gulmarg with around 40 ski-in/ski-out hotels and huts to suit all budgets. These tend to get completely booked up in the winter season so try and plan your trip well in advance. Another option is to base yourself in Sringar - just 1 hour from Gulmarg.See all rentals
Our view on Gulmarg
We think skiing in Gulmarg has to be tried at least once but go with an open mind. This is not Chamonix or Vail! The apres-ski is calm and relaxing and there are no night clubs. What you do get is the chance to be in the highest mountain range in the world. In our view, a ski holiday in Gulmarg would be combined with one or more of the other activities such as rafting, hiking and possibly as part of a longer holiday - taking in the sites of Kashmir. A few suggestions...
- Try the heli-skiing if you are an advanced skiier or boarder - this is the experience of a lifetime
- Don't miss the chance to do the walk to the Alpather Lake at the foot of the twin 4511m Apharwat peaks
- Before you leave, and time permitting, stay on a house boat on Dal Lake, Srinagar. There are underwater gardens set within crystal clear water with the views of the Himalayan peaks behind you
- Lastly, its advisable to bring a torch to Gulmarg as there does tend to be the occasional power cut!!
If you like Gulmarg, you may also want to look at Oukaimeden in Morocco. It has amazing heli-skiing high in the Atlas Mountains and within an hours drive of Marrakech.