«Kashmir has always been more than a mere place. It has the quality of an experience, or a state of mind, or perhaps an ideal” Jan Morris
The start of the 2017 ski season in Gulmarg is only a few weeks away, and many outdoor sports enthusiasts from all over the world are planning to visit this outstanding mountain sports resort in the Himalayas this winter.
It is rare that I take the time to write a blog about Gulmarg only a few weeks before the season starts but unfortunately a few things have happened during the summer and in recent weeks that need to be put into perspective and explained to future visitors.
However, before getting into details, I want to let all of you know that we will definitely run our programs in Gulmarg in 2017 and that a good number of guests have already booked with us.
Disturbing and dramatizing headlines about the internal unrests and the ceasefire violations by Pakistan during the past few weeks and the recent launch of the demonetization drive by the Indian government created doubts in the minds of potential visitors. Some are, therefore, reluctant to book their ski trip to Gulmarg and wait to see if the situation has changed. Read more
“Avalanches don’t discriminate. They are equal opportunity killers, and they affect everyone on the mountain! All people engaging in snow sports activities in the backcountry must, thus, be aware of them.”
Freeriding and ski touring have by now become trend sports activities. An increasing number of people decide to enjoy their snow sports activities in the backcountry. They want to stay away from the hectic and the chaos on the groomed slopes.
Skiing and snowboarding in deep snow are indeed fantastic leisure time activities. They help to forget the day to day routines and provide opportunities for self-fulfillment. Besides, freeriding, ski touring and snowshoe hiking give us a chance to test our limits and to learn to overcome our fears. And they allow us to share unique experiences and unforgettable moments with family and friends. Read more
As we run our ski programs in Gulmarg in Kashmir, I have already written a number of blogs on skiers’ safety in this part of the world. Due to the increased acts of terror also in our part of the world, the fear of traveling has once again risen, and people are reluctant to book trips, especially to areas with a majority Muslim population.
In my opinion, life is too short not to do the things you love, and therefore I would like to begin my blog with a quote by the deaf-blind American writer Helen Keller:
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
For travelers, this means we either surrender to the perceived threats and stay at home living an uneventful life within our four walls, or we accept the challenge and refuse to become prisoners of the fear of potential terror acts executed by indoctrinated extremists and mad “mentally disturbed” psychopaths where ever they can. Read more
“The winter season 2016 in the Himalayas had again a lot to offer for enthusiastic backcountry skiers and confirmed that Gulmarg has remained the insider tip for skiers in search of an exceptional winter holiday destination.”
I arrived in Gulmarg by mid-January 2016 and was pleased to find the ski area already covered with sufficient snow to ski all the runs on Mt. Apharwat. Contrary to previous seasons also the snowpack was stable early in the season and as a result thereof we were able to take full advantage of the terrain right from the beginning of the winter.
However, the earthquakes in Nepal and the wider Hindukush made people reluctant to visit this part of the world last winter. And as if this was not enough the various acts of terror and violence by Islamic fundamentalists and undisciplined juvenile men, in some parts of Europe and worldwide, increased the fear of visiting areas with a mainly Muslim population, especially when these areas were blacklisted in travel advisories. Read more