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Snowboarding

Overview

The snowboard was invented in the 60s when skiers wanted to have wider skis to enjoy even more powder snow and off-track riding. India’s north is fringed by the greatest mountain range on Earth, but snowboarding is still unfamiliar sport to most Indians. This is a sport that will provide you with strong euphoric feelings and a great experience.

Snowboarding shares similar traits to skateboarding and surfing but is much more extreme even though its just sliding down the hill on a piece of wood. Your way of boarding creates your own expressions and experiences. Powing on snow, shredding, riding with friends, you and the mountain is what brings you the feels.

Season

Seasons for Snowboarding in India

Unfortunately, we cannot board the whole year so far, the best period to come for winter sport in India will be from December to March. This is a large season but even within these 4 months, the snow is different. The coldest part of the season is between December end and February when the snow is really fresh, and you really have the feeling of shredding on fresh snow. November and March are two months when you don’t have any certainty of fresh snow. Without snowfall, the snow becomes wet and hard leading to a not so pleasant POWWING experience. The only advantage is that at that time of the season, mostly everything is cheaper.

In Auli, the season from January to March is the best while in Gulmarg, it is best to visit during mid-December to March. In Gulmarg and Solang, skiing season lasts until 15 Mar on the lower slopes and 15 Apr on the upper slopes.

Location

Locations in India for Snowboarding

All the ski spots in India lie in the mighty Himalayas. They cover the extreme North West till the Extreme North East. In the peaks, there is snow usually all year long. In winter, however, you get fresh snow at all the accessible places for Skiing and Snowboarding

Top destinations for skiing in India are:

1. Pahalgam

Aru located near Pahalgam is an upcoming skiing spot in Kashmir. Located at 2,400m (7700 feet) no doubt this place becomes a royal blanket covering the mountains. First-timers and powder snow enthusiasts should surely visit this place.

2. Gulmarg

Gulmarg comes as one of the best destinations for skiing in all of Asia. Gulmarg has slopes for all kinds of skiers. There are two major Gondolas to reach Kongdori 8700ft and Apparwat 12500 ft and a ropeway for Merry shoulder. Kongdori is for those who have just started to learn skiing- Amateurs. The slope from this point is 450m steep. The second point Apparwat has a descent of 800m recommended for expert skiers only.

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 1,280m, and takes skiers to a point at 3,980m, almost to the top of Mt Apharwat. The ‘powder’ is also comparable to the finest in the world—soft and fluffy snow (as opposed to wet snow, which restricts motion, or icy snow, which is dangerous to ski on and not fun at all).

Safety standards are also the best in Gulmarg. There is a Gulmarg ski patrol, managed by Brian Newman, an avalanche specialist and consisting of 14 highly trained Kashmiri snow scientists and rescue specialists, trained for all contingencies.

3. Kufri

If you are visiting Shimla, this place is a must to visit. The slope here is gentle which pushes beginners to keep skiing and increase their level of skiing. An annual winter sports meeting happens during the winter season. A lot of tourists visit Kufri during this sports meeting to participate in various winter sports events.

4. Manali

Manali 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. The Solang valley is 12 km away from Manali.

5. Auli

Skiing in Auli is a must when you are visiting Uttarakhand. Auli is recommended for skiing in Uttarakhand. The slope here ranges from 2000m to 3000m. There is also a 500m long ski-lift and 800m long chair-lift for the skiers to get the most p of the mountains.

6. Phuni Valley

Enthusiasts exploring northeast India should try out skiing in Sikkim. The beautiful mountain range in Sikkim attracts a lot of ski enthusiasts during the winters. There are a lot of different kinds of slopes which enthusiasts can explore.

7. Yumthang Valley

People who want to enjoy the beauty of snow-clad mountains solely can try out skiing in this unpopular valley. Yumthang valley is situated, at a distance of 25 km from Lachung. As this place is unpopular so enthusiasts can enjoy skiing without any noise or interruptions.

8. Narkanda

Narkanda is the second most popular place for skiing in Himachal Pradesh. This place is situated 65km away from Shimla. In season you will spot all kinds of skiers at this place.

Sport

How to Snowboard?

The approach of the Snowboard is different first of all because of the posture you have on the board, you are not facing the track so your turns are not similar but asymmetric. Once you have understood how the movement are going on, the practice of the Snowboard become a great pleasure. You have a great feeling of the snow.

Competition & Festival

HPSA (Himachal Pradesh Snowboarding association) organizes snowboarding competition every year in the state. This year it was in Chanshel valley where snowboarders were competing in Slalom race. They are organizing one in March 2019 too. Dates will be disclosed soon.

General Tips

Skiing and snowboarding? 

Let’s talk about the material:

A clear advantage for the Snowboard, you just need to carry one plank and contrary to the skiers you don’t walk like a robot to reach the lift. Skiers need also to carry two heavy skis such as two ski-sticks!!

When you start talking with a snowboarder, he will tell you instantly that the infrastructure is not designed for Snowboarder. When you take the lift or the T-bar you always have to remove your back-foot fixation which makes it harder to get out from the lift. 

Learning Process:

It is recommended to first learn skiing before snowboarding. Skiing is more instinctive and natural because feet are in the same way as our walking movement such as when you ride Snowboard you have to understand asymmetric movements which are even more difficult for children.

Even if Snowboarding is harder to learn at first, then it is easier to perfect it, such as for skiing the perfection takes more time.

Snowboard advantage

When it comes to off-tracks riding, Snowboard becomes the King!! Riding Snowboard has softer, slower & more fluent movement, which will give you the feeling of surfing waves!!

Ski advantage

You have always tried to race with your brother or your friend when it comes to speed feelings ski will always be faster than riding Snowboard and it has been proved scientifically!!!

So if you like speed, then skiing is definitely made for you!!

Finally which one will you choose?

Everything depends on what you are looking for, Snowboard has been designed for off tracks riding such as ski is more versatile. If you are more attracted by the speed, let’s chose the skis such as if you prefer freestyle snowboard is more adapted.

Skiing safe means respecting rules

Ski & Snowboarding are extreme sports which are performed in a public place. So, if everyone wants to enjoy as much as they want, we need to be aware of security rules.

So here are the basic rules to respect when you are skiing (International ski federation rules):

  1. Control of speed

A skier or snowboarder must move in control. He must adapt his speed and manner of skiing or snowboarding to his personal ability and to the prevailing conditions of terrain, snow, and weather as well as to the density of traffic.

  1. Choice of route

A skier or snowboarder coming from behind must choose his route in such a way that he does not endanger skiers or snowboarders ahead. 

  1. Overtaking

A skier or snowboarder may overtake another skier or snowboarder above or below and to the right or to the left provided that he leaves enough space for the overtaken skier or snowboarder to make any voluntary or involuntary movement.

  1. Entering, starting and moving upwards

A skier or snowboarder entering a marked run, starting again after stopping or moving upwards on the slopes must look up and down the slopes that he can do so without endangering himself or others.

  1. Stopping on the piste

Unless absolutely necessary, a skier or snowboarder must avoid stopping on the piste in narrow places or where visibility is restricted. After a fall in such a place, a skier or snowboarder must move clear of the piste as soon as possible. 

  1. Climbing and descending on foot

A skier or snowboarder either climbing or descending on foot must keep to the side of the piste.

  1. Respect for signs and markings

A skier or snowboarder must respect all signs and markings.

  1. Assistance

At accidents, every skier or snowboarder is duty bound to assist.

Equipments

Skiing and Snowboarding are both sliding sports, but the feelings and the equipment are different.

Snowboard requires a little bit of less equipment than for ski, you will need a Snowboard plank and adequate fixations which are different from those used for skiing. You will also need specific shoes for snowboarding.