Stomping around in the white pristine snow and being challenged by the unforgiving rugged terrains; if that’s your mantra for adventure, you’ve got to be spending your time on the snow-capped hilly regions of India. A one-of-a-kind sport, skiing is a truly unique experience.People believe that Manali and Gulmarg are the ONLY skiing destinations in India, a myth which we would now like to break. India has many more skiing destinations, popular and crowded almost all year round.Here are the best places for skiing in India you can plan an adventurous trip to; read on and be enticed!
1. Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh
Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh is 65kms from the beautiful town Shimla and a great place for skiers who especially love tackling the rigorous terrains out there. The slopes here are of various levels to try- beginners to the experts, which mean everyone gets to have a hand for the thrilling sporty fanfare. The very experienced skier would definitely drool over the steeper descents offered by nature here, however, the novice under the guidance of HPTDC instructors are kept happy as well. January is the month when skiing courses are held, making it the number one tourist destination and winter sport to enjoy.
2. Gulmarg – Jammu and Kashmir
If heaven is a place on earth, the skier’s name that destination, Gulmarg. Nestled in the cosy town of Barmala- J&K, and also fondly called the “Heartland of winter sports in India”, Gulmarg in all its immaculate beauty has been crowned the 7th best ski destination in Asia. Famous for the Gulmarg Gondola – the highest cable car adventure route in the world, it is from December to late March when the adventurous at heart throng the valley for a game or two.
3. Yumthang Valley, Sikkim
Don’t commit the sin of not skiing while visiting the grand Himalayas. Yumthang Valley, Sikkim is where you should be for a dose of thrills and chills- skiing especially. Early November to late March, the area is covered in snow, making it a perfect haunt for skiers to come and hone their skills. 25 km away from Lachung, the slopes are meant for all levels of skiing- novice to experts alike. The best part is, Yumthang is far from the noise and crowds, allowing you to talk to the winds as you breeze away!
4. Solang Nala – Himachal Pradesh
Solang Nala in Himachal Pradesh is famous for winter sports and games, especially skiing. This region is home to workshops, tournaments, training schools and everything related to skiing. Adventure seekers book rooms months in advance, and the year sees a heavy flow of tourists each time- the skiing experience here attracts people from all over the globe. From early November to late March, Solang Nala is choc-a-bloc with skiers!
5. Munsiyari – Uttarakhand
Fondly called ‘The Place of Snow’ and rightfully so, Munsiyari on the Goriganga Riverbanks is a fast-growing destination for skiers and adventure seekers- the high altitudes along with its breathtaking flora and fauna attracts a host of adrenaline junkies; making the region a hub or Mecca of adventure lovers. Did you know that this region at one point in time was also known to be the ‘ancient salt route’, extending from Johar Valley to Tibet!
6. Manali – Himachal Pradesh
Who wouldn’t want to wax eloquent on what Manali in HP has to offer the adventure lover? With its spotless snow-capped mountains that seduce the hearts of many and the beautiful yet dangerous curves that test your reflexes to the fullest, Manali indeed is heaven’s gift to the world of skiing. The winter months are when you should be here, and with the help of professional skiers and guides, novices can take their first baby steps too. Best time would be November end to early February!
7. Kufri – Himachal Pradesh
Quaint and cosy, the humble region of Kufri, HP is a place that has a lot of mystical touches and notes to its name. Skiers from all across the nation and from other parts of the globe hunt for accommodation here, simply to enjoy the bounty of snowy adventure sports. November to February is when everyone is here, and the white long expanse of snowy sheets across the rugged terrains welcome the novice skier and simultaneously challenge the expert skier. Let the winds breeze through your hair whilst you ski in curves and drops across the glacier and undulating slopes of Kufri- they say the tall deodar trees keep a watch on its playful snow-loving kids making accidents extremely rare here.
8. Auli – Uttarakhand
Fancy glittering slopes and a clean environment to try your skills and revel in the excitement? Auli in Uttarakhand is the place to experience it all. A 250km drive from Rishikesh brings you to Auli, where you’d be situated right on top of the famous Garhwal Hills. Challenge yourself to an altitude of 2500-3000m- far from the maddening city crowds and amidst snow-capped terrains. Did you know, it was exactly this point where the 1st Games in India back in 2011 was held? Comes as no surprise to us; skiing is one of the most sought-after sports at Auli. December to early March would be the best times to go skiing here.
9. Pahalgam – Jammu and Kashmir
Head on to the sleepy town of Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir, and you’d be in the arms of Pahalgam- a skiing destination quite popular amongst college students. The breathtaking flora and fauna around is a treat for honeymooners and photographers, but let’s not forget skiing.The best time for an indulgence would be early December to late March, if you like your snow nice and thick!
10. Dayara Bugyal, Uttarakhand
Once again we bring you back to Uttarakhand, famous for being one of the best skiing destinations in India. Skiers from across the nation and other parts of the globe throng Dayara for its wintery challenges, its steep and unforgiving slopes, and also for its pristine blanketed snowy landscape. Trainers and guides are around to help at all levels; from easy to very difficult, almost everyone can have a go here. There is a ski institute to hone your skills too. While being here, check out Bdeni Bugyal, Chiplakot, Kedar Kantha, Kush Kalyani and Natya for more skiing options- you’d love them all for sure!
Note: Some pictures used for representational purposes only