«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
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
From the inquiries on our website we can see that the interest in ski vacations in Gulmarg is still existing and a considerable number of people are considering a trip to Kashmir next winter. However, during the trip preparation the question on safety in Kashmir is often raised and interested visitors will find that their government advises against traveling to this part of the world, warnings that have been issued for nearly 70 years! Before sharing my point of view on the potential dangers I would like to insert a short video with impressions of a perfect skiing day on Mt. Apharwat, pictures which show that a ski trip to Gulmarg is a life time experience which should not be missed.
I have been writing about “skiers’ safety in Kashmir” on various occasions and have tried to address the issue to the best of my knowledge. With more than 30 months in Kashmir during the past ten years and all in all more than 60 months in India and Nepal I am in a position to assess the risks of a ski trip to Gulmarg from personal experience Read more
Ski Season 2014 in Gulmarg – Snow Storms and Avalanche Danger
The winter of 2014 in Gulmarg has mainly been marked by 3 key factors which turned it into a season that won’t be easily forgotten. Extended periods of high and considerable avalanche danger prevented the free access to the backcountry terrain, 3 major snow storms resulted in a near close down of the resort for several days and a considerable decrease in the number of foreign skiers who visited Kashmir for the ski season 2013/2014 presented a challenge to hotels and operators who had invested in staff and material based on the numbers of previous years.
Avalanche Danger – The permanent Companion of Backcountry Skiers in Gulmarg
Since the opening of the second phase of the cable car to the 4’200m high Mt. Apharwat in 2006 avalanche danger has always been a concern for backcountry skiing program operators, the gondola management and individual travelers. The snowpack and the complex terrain have presented regular challenges to us and our guides over the past years but the winter of 2013/2014 was by far the most difficult to manage. Read more