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November 5, 2015

Snowfall in Gulmarg – The best Period to Visit

by Chris Werren

Since 2006, the website FSH – The Gulmarg Snow Experts with information about our backcountry skiing packages is online, a little later also our corresponding FSH – Free Ski Himalaya facebook page was published, too. Despite the clear definition of the beginning and end dates of typical ski season on our website, I still receive a lot of inquiries about the snow conditions in Gulmarg, mostly from India but also from other countries.

Himalaya Backcountry Skiing

Out in the Untracked Ski Terrain in Gulmarg

With this blog information on the different periods with snow in Gulmarg is provided so that interested visitors can plan their trips accordingly. Two questions need, therefore, to be answered:

  • In which period is the terrain in Gulmarg really snow covered, and
  • Which is the best period for skiers to visit Gulmarg

When is Gulmarg covered in Snow?

We can say that normally the terrain above the gondola middle station (3’050 m) remains snow covered from mid-November till around the end of May.

At the village level, it may take till mid-January for the snow to stick to the ground.

At the top station of the cable car (4’000 m) the ground usually remains covered with snow till the end of July, however, people may find isolated snow spots there even later in the summer.

Indian tourists are mainly interested in seeing and touching snow, active participation in winter sports related activities like tobogganing, standing on skis or turning rounds on snow scooters has a lesser priority for them.

Tourists Sleds in Gulmarg, Kashmir

Tourists Sleds in Gulmarg, Kashmir

Visitors who are only interested in seeing and touching snow should plan their Gulmarg trip in the period from November to July.

Tourists interested in “playing in the snow” (sledding, Indian style skiing, enjoying snow scooter runs) should visit Gulmarg between the end of December and the end of May.

Which Period is best for Skiers to visit Gulmarg?

This question is mainly asked by foreign visitors. Most skiers know that Gulmarg offers one of the highest ski terrains on earth and expect, therefore, to find identical skiing periods there as in the Alps at that altitude. Unfortunately, this is not the case!

I have been running our Himalaya backcountry skiing programs in Gulmarg for more than 10 years and I know, therefore, from experience during which period we have sufficient snow for skiing and for taking full advantage of the backcountry terrain.

Chris Werren in the Baba Reshi Woods

Chris Werren in the Baba Reshi Woods

During my 10 winters in Gulmarg, we had most of the time only enough snow to comfortably ski the entire backcountry from mid-January onwards, in the spring there would be enough snow to ski till around the end of April, however, due to the strong sun impact the snow turns already very wet from 11 am onwards in the second half of March. In addition, the cable car switches to the summer time schedule then, which means reaching the top station before 10 am becomes very unlikely.

With respect to the snow conditions and the times of operation of the cable car, we have decided to propose our Gulmarg ski programs only between mid-January and mid-March. During this period, it is guaranteed that we can ski the upper part of the mountain most of the time and also tree skiing in Tangmarg and Baba Reshi during poor weather is always possible then.

More on “Snow and Weather Conditions in Gulmarg” you find here: Ski Terrain and Snow Conditions in Gulmarg, Information about the ski area in Gulmarg and our backcountry skiing programs in Gulmarg is available on this website: FSH – The Gulmarg Snow Experts

Gulmarg Gondola Mid-Station at 3'050 m

Gulmarg Gondola Mid-Station at 3’050 m

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