Skiing in Himalayas
When you have finally had enough of the severe winters of India, you can go skiing in Himalayas to overcome your boredom. Places, mostly above 7000 feet altitude, receive good amounts of snow in the winter season and become excellent spots to enjoy the sport. These places have become so popular in the recent past that many hotels and resorts have come up there, with many organising this wonderful activity. The government has also taken part in boosting winter tourism in such destinations, and numerous training schools and cable-cars have been constructed. Many skiing festivals and competitions are also organised, with participation from skiers from around the globe.
Skiing means travelling down snow-covered slopes on metal boards, and controlling your direction with fibre-glass poles.
• Skis and Velocity: How fast you will descend depends on how big your skis are, because larger skis account for greater velocity.
• Buckles: The boards have buckles to fasten your shoes, and they can be opened to release your feet. Should you fall, the buckles will open, you will be released, and the impact of the fall will be lessened.
• Helmet: Another important part of your gear is a helmet, which you should never take off during the activity.
• Goggles: Wearing tinted goggles is also absolutely necessary, as at such altitudes, the pollution is less; hence the sun is a lot brighter and powerful as compared to plains.
While skiing in Himalayas, you should know and sincerely follow the essentials and ethics associated with the sport. First and the most important thing is speed, and you should always come down at velocities, wherein you are easily in control. Always call before coming down from the point, where you cannot be seen to other skiers. Look at signboards indicating the path, and always abide by them. Avoid trails that are closed or beyond your skiing expertise and ability.
• Knowing the Season: You should always go for the activity when a good amount of snow has fallen.
• Time: The time when the sun is at its strongest is ideal for taking up the sport. The reason for this is that the heat of directly-overhead sun keeps the snow moist and soft. This helps in lessening the chances of you getting hurt if you fall and hit the ground.
• Health: Before skiing in Himalayas, make sure that you are perfectly fit and do not suffer from any ailment. Altitude sickness, breathing problems, anaemia and low stamina are some conditions that you should not be suffering from. Fear of heights is another thing that will prohibit you from enjoying the engagement as many resorts are reached via cable-cars.
• Exercise: To get used to the elevation of the ski resort and gear up for the rigorous activity, you should exercise for a while and get warmed up.
• Gear: Always be careful when buying the ski and poles, and always consult an expert before and while shopping for the equipment.
In India, Gulmarg, Solang and Auli are the three most popular and admired ski destinations.
• Gulmarg: The hill station and ski resort of Gulmarg is located at an altitude of around 8830 feet in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Its first highlight is the Gulmarg Gondola, which will take you to a mind-boggling height of 13780 feet above sea level at the summit of Mount Apharwat. From here, there is an uninterrupted drop of over 800 feet, enough to make your jaws drop. If you are not such an expert, then you can ski on gentler slopes, with 400 feet of descent.
• Solang: Solang, the winter sports capital of Himachal Pradesh, has a rough elevation of 8400 feet above sea level. The cable car here will transport you at a height of over 1500 feet from its base station. From the highest point of the Solang Valley, you encounter a nerve-wrecking descent of almost 500 metres. Know more about Skiing in Solang Valley.
• Auli: At an altitude of approximately 10000 feet, Auli is one of the best and the highest skiing destinations in India. Take the cable car from the town of Joshimath, and travel to this enchanting alpine grassland. As you travel down the slopes, coniferous trees like spruces and firs will start appearing. Know more about Skiing in Auli.