Skiing is a versatile winter sport, with it being a recreational activity, a competitive sport and even a mode of transport. It has emerged as a popular adventure sport through the years. Today, as skiing infrastructure is developing and Ski courses along with proper equipment are openly available, skiing in India is becoming a loved Extreme Sports.
The Himalayas are a promising zone for skiing enthusiasts because of the perpetual snow-capped mountains and unique and varied snow terrains which attract tourists from all across the globe. With the coming of winter, skiing destinations in India get covered with beautiful white sheets of powder snow. On a verbal comparison, many foreign travelers and skiers prefer the Himalayan snow terrain as compared to the Alps and the Teton ranges due to this variety in slopes, quality of snow and great heights which leads to longer descends.
In India, skiing as a winter sport is administered by the Indian Mountaineering Foundation. However, as a recreational sport, Skiing Infrastructure and adventure sport activity operators are managed by the respective State government.
“A pair of skis are the ultimate transportation to freedom”.
Course & Experience
Miserably, we cannot ski the whole year unless one wishes to go to off-beat locations. Without adequate snowfall, the snow becomes wet and hard leading to a not so pleasant shredding experience.
The best place to find good and powdered snow in india is in the north. It is possible to practice Skiing in a lot of states like himachal pradesh, uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal pradesh and Jammu and kashmir.The best time to experience Skiing is in winter season mainly from December to March.
All the Skiing spots in India lie in the mighty Himalayas. They camouflage the extreme North West till the Extreme North East. On the peaks there would be snow usually all year long- they are immortal. Winter is when you get fresh snow at all the accessible places for Skiing. The top skiing destinations in India are:
Aru located near Pahalgam is an upcoming skiing spot in jammu and kashmir. Located at 2,400 m (7700 feet) no doubt this place becomes a royal blanket of snow covering the mountains. In winters, when Aru receives heavy snowfall skiing and Heli-skiing is done here.
It comes as one of the best skiing destination in all of Asia. There are two major Gondolas here to reach Kongdori (8700 ft) whcih is phase 1 and Apparwat (12500 ft) which is phase 2 along with a rope way for Merry shoulder. Gulmarg has five Poma ski-lifts on the lower slopes, and one of the highest cable cars in the world, the Gulmarg Gondola, which travels a distance of 2.7km, with a vertical rise of 1,280 m, and takes skiers to a point at 3,980 m, almost to the top of Mt Apharwat.
The extent of Gulmarg’s ski territory is for all intents and purposes boundless and has alpine bowls, chutes, cornices, glade skiing amongst ancient pines, and glacier skiing. There are also the epic ski trips down to some of the local shrines and villages which add a totally different dimension to the terrain.
Gulmarg’s skiing and snowboarding arena is fit to cutting edge and master riders who appreciate off-piste backwoods landscape. Slopes of Gulmarg in india are likewise best appreciated by those with an inclination for climbing and skiing, and laid-back riders who can cope up for an adventure.
Manali, Himachal Pradesh
For adventure lovers skiing in manali is another thrill while touring Manali. It is a high-altitude Himalayan town in India’s northern Himachal Pradesh state. Manali is a gateway for skiing in the Solang valley and trekking in Parvati valley. Solang valley for skiing is 12 kms away from Manali. Heliskiing and yak skiing can also be practiced for a lifelong ski experience. The National Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding Championship this year was held here.
Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh
Narkanda is a hill station situated 65 km away from Shimla. Narkanda is an unpopular Snowboarding destination in India. Located at an elevation of 2,708 on the Hindustan Tibet Road, tourists. Skiing here is done in the alpine forests from the top of the hill station. You would have to trek all the way to the top for Skiing.
Skiing in Auli is a must when you are visiting Uttarakhand. Auli is definitely recommended for beginners and those wanting to learn skiing on a recreational or professional level. The slope here ranges from 2000 m to 3000 m. There is also a 500 m long ski-lift and 800 m long chair-lift for the skiers to get to most of the mountains.
Yumthang Valley, Sikkim
It is situated 25 km away from Lachung. The people who want to enjoy the elegance of snow-clad mountains solely can try out skiing in this shunned valley. As this place is unpopular so skiers and snowboarders can enjoy skiing without any noise or interruptions. Getting hold of a guide is recommended even for expert skiers.
Skiing has been around for over 5,000 years. Scandinavians were the first to use skiing for both transportation and military purposes. It started used as a form of recreation in the late 1800’s when people decided that sliding down a snow-covered hill on skis would be pretty fun. Skiing developed both as a recreation and as a sport due to a natural development from its utilitarian applications. Skiing in India started majorly when the ropeways and Gondolas of Auli and Gulmarg around the 90s were built.
Jagdish Singh, an olympian represented India at the 2018 winter in Pyeongchang, South Korea. He competed in men’s 15km freestyle cross- country skiing. He qualified in the Olympics for the first time helping India debut in Olympic Skiing.
There are two major types of skiing – Alpine skiing and nordic with other styles being an amalgamation of these two. Freestyle is one other type of skiing which has recently become quite popular.
Alpine Skiing is a winter sport that involves skiing down snow-covered hills, mountains and slopes. It is the combination of going downhill at a high-speed and shredding on the fresh powdery snow. Himalayan ranges a plethora of such downhill slopes, for Novice as well as experienced skiers. Alpine Skiing Championships are organized every year by the Indian Olympic committee and Indian Mountaineering Foundation.
Nordic Ski is unlighted in India as it was invented in the northern European countries. In Nordic skiing, the heels of the ski boots aren’t fixed to the binding unlike the ones used for Alpine skiing, where the boot is attached to the ski from toe to heel. This helps in traversing horizontally and even climbing slopes. This is the best way to avoid packed ski tops and grants access to the vast backcountry terrain. Cross country skiing, Telemark Skiing and Alpine touring are the major types of Nordic skiing. Even in the summers, Gulmarg and Auli have mountain plateaus atop in the backcountry where you can traverse and explore new slopes and destinations.
Freestyle skiing combines speed, showmanship and the ability to perform manoeuvres while skiing. It is debuted as a demonstration sport at the 1988 calgary games. Skiing world cups and championships host freestyle as one of the Skiing events.
Competitions and Festivals
Skiing in india has not been a permanent feature on the winter Olympic games until last year(2018) when Jagdish Singh represented India in the winter Olympics in Seoul.
The different disciplines of skiing are Alpine skiing, cross country, Ski jumping, Nordic ski, freestyle and snowboarding all of which are a part of the winter Olympics. Another competition organized by the international ski federation is the Alpine world ski championship.
National ski Competitions happen every year in Manali, Auli & Gulmarg bringing together more than 200 competitors coming from all over India. They are organized by the Indian Olympic Association (Previously by Winter Games Federation of India) under the International Ski Federation. In India, the Auli carnival is one such event that attracts skiers from all over India as it also holds a championship every year along with the carnival. Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports hosted a Ski Festival and Championship in 2018n at Solang in Manal.i
On a global level, the Whistler world Ski and Snowboard Festivals is one not to miss Skiing and Snowboarding festival which is held in whistler canada. The festival has everything from live music to comedy and is reputed as one of the best place for ski.
Learning to ski is continuum, and you never stop developing your technique. The skiing tips here will help you to get started on the ski slopes if you’re a novice or it will help you to build confidence and develop technique if you’re an intermediate skier.\
The following are the general tips for preparations and safety purpose;
When skiing at extremely high altitudes, skiers should get acclimatized to the weather before hitting the slopes.you can do so by ascending to higher grounds slowly hydrating yourself and giving yourself time to rest and recover.
Use proper equipment
Equipment can include appropriate clothing- water, wind-resistant and layers of light are best for helping you to adjust to your body’s fluctuating body temperature throughout the day. Ensure to have a professional help you buy or rent properly sized, set and adjusted boots and bindings.
For more information, you can refer to the equipment mentioned in the equipment section.
Take skiing courses to learn how to ski
As skiing courses in India are available at various locations mentioned on the page, it is a must for individuals who have never done skiing before but want to try it as a recreational sport. For those who wish to pursue Skiing as a competitive sport, they would have to enroll in Ski schools. Check out our Courses and Experiences sections for more details.
Watch Youtube videos
Make the most use of youtube as there are countless youtube tutorials for novice skiers. Learning from a pro or instructor for free is a great resource for practicing your winter sports. You can get a glance at basic skiing skills and tips. Check this one out:
The important thing to practice
Winters in India with adequate snow at most of these places are or 3 months. Utilize these, plan your holidays carefully and practice adequately.
How to properly put on your gear
Equipment or apparatus should be carried and should be used properly to protect oneself while having a great ski experience. There are various equipment used, such as ski helmet, ski socks, ski boots and skies, all of which need to be put on accurately for safety purposes.
When you fall
When you fall, to keep your injuries minimum, you should spread out the impact area and also avoid landing on singular limbs. Knowing how to get up and how to get your skis back on is also extremely important. Make sure you fall back not on your head but on your back otherwise it may cause harm.
Controlling your speed
You need to learn how to parallel turn and how to use your edges so that you can control your speed.You have to learn the turns and how to use the same-side edges to stop.Once you know how to do you can control your speed.
Find your balance
While skiing finding a balance is very important. Most of the beginners make the mistake of leaning too far forward or too far backward. Body weight should be felt between your heel and the arc of your foot.
Respect for signs and markings
A skier should follow all the norms and conditions laid down by the instructor while practicing and actually skiing. Also, one should follow the procedure and respect the laws and markings of skiing.
At accidents, every skier is duty bound to assist. So give and take.
The Following are skiing equipments which are either necessary to be bought or can be rented:
Ski mask and sunglasses
The Ski mask and sunglasses are important when it is sunny, we need to protect our eyes and face from ultraviolet rays.
A glove is an apparel covering hands. It usually has separate sheaths and openings for each finger and thumb. Gloves are used to protect against heat,damage by friction, abrasion and cold. Make sure they are waterproof.
Ski jacket covers the arms and torso, sometimes just to the waist while other times just to the buttocks, it helps to keep you warm and dry on the mountain. It is generally used to protect you from cold.
Ski trousers or salopettes
Usually, Normal clothes and a jacket is worn over it in order to protect your bottom from cold. They too need to be waterproof.
Ski socks are supposed to cover the ankle or some part of the calf. A proper ski sock is one of the easiest ways to keep your feet comfortable and warm from inside your ski boots.
Similar to the top base layer your bottom layer keeps your legs warm. So mid-weight wool leggings will work to keep your legs warm as it is insulated unlike other pants.
Twin-tip skis enable the skier to use more different tactics and tricks, turn more effectively and have stable landings. Also, Waxing skis on regular basis not only makes you go faster, it makes turning and handling smoother and more predictable and protects the ski base from abrasion. So make sure the ski you are renting is waxed properly. Even skin is applied for reducing and minimizing sliding friction and to avoid problems while skiing.
The Ski boots are Footwear used to transmit control inputs from skier’s leg to snow. Ski boots are the key link between your body and your skis, so finding boots well-matched to the size and shape of your feet is a high priority. Do make sure you rent the right one which are of suitable weights.
The Ski sticks should be strong enough for planting turns , light enough so that your arms don’t tire and also flexible enough to withstand hard falls.
Helmets and Ski suits
Helmets are used as tool to protect your head from injuries, save you from the icy cold breeze.
Ski suits are worn over rest of the clothes to keep you warm while skiing.Some suits are specifically made and designed for skier’s. These are required for the advance skier’s not necessary.