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Adventure Sports India

Skiing

Skiing Skiing
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Winter is a time to bundle up in front of a roaring free with a pot of hot coffee brewing on the stove. But only after you have been out enjoying the cold. About 13kms from Manali, Solang Valley has good skiing slopes equipped with an excellent lift, offering views of glaciers and snow-capped mountain peaks. Kufri, 16kms from shimla offers skiing facility during the season. To appreciate the spectacular Himalayan ranges, Narkanda is an ideal retreat for those looking for some solitude in the mountains. It gives a unique view of the endless snow line, especially during winter when the slopes come alive with skiers.

With the first fall of snow, the highlands are transformed into a glittering winter wonderland. In winter, Gulmarg acquires a new persona - that of the country's premier skiing resort. Gulmarg has slopes varying between 8,700 and 10,500 feet with the highest ski runs in India. Meant only for beginners, Gulmarg ski-lifts and chair-lifs provide basic utilitarian facilities with a simple link-up. In Gulmarg, you'll be able to hire snowboots, mufflers, woolen socks, windproof jackets and caps. The longest ski run in gulmarg is provided by the Gondola Cable car which allows a ski run 2,213 metres. Sledging on the frozen glaciers is also offered by locals.

Pahalgam also provides facilities for skiing, and work on an Institute of Mountaineering and winter sports is already underway. Skiing courses are conducted at Patnitop in the months of January and February. During the winter months, there are introductory courses for visitors/beginners a the gentle gradient slopes of Patnitop. At Madhotop (5kms from patnitop on sanasar Road), excellent possibilities for all kinds of skiing exist.

With their vast open spaces, above the snowline, the Garhwal and Kumaon hills of Uttaranchal offer a plethora of ski locales. For the avoid skier, cross - country runs of 10-20kms are now available with the added adventage of fresh powder snow. Due to their awesome height and spread, Garhwal and Kumaon, like other areas in the Himalayas, offer the thrills of exploratory long distance skiing. Winter skiing in Garhwal is now professionally conducted at the Auli slopes. The season is late December to early March, depending on snow conditions.

The eastern - most hill district of Uttaranchal, bordering Nepal in the east and Tibet in the north, Pithoragarh, is often called 'Miniature Kashmir'. Nestled amongs the spectacular Kumaon Himalayas, at a height of 5412 ft., in a small valley barely 5kms long and 2kms wide, Pithoragarh was an important centre of the Chand kings of Kumaon. Apart from the excellent skiing slopes, Pithoragarh and its environs are known for their natural beauty and fine temples.

Other ski locales in Garhwal include Dayara Bugyal and Kush Kalyan in district Uttarkashi, Panwali and Matya in district Tehri Garhwal, Mundali in district Dehradun and Bedni Budyal in Chamoli. In Kumaon, Khalia Top in Munsiyari and Chiplakor Valley in Pithoragarh are popular skiing locales.

Heli-skiing has come to stay in India. It is practiced in the area bound by the Hanuman Tibba, Rohtang Pass, Deo Tibba and Chanderkhani pass near manali. A major feature is the compactness of the heli-skiing area. A sortie of ten minutes can carry the skiers to the top of a 14,000 foot high slope. Heli- skiing in Manali, Auli and Gulmarg provides an enormous variety of ski runs, and routes as complicated or as straightforward as the individual can trackle. A helicopter takes a group to the numerous peaks that surround the resort from where they make their descent.

Best Time : December to January

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