Srinagar is truly a wonderful place to be in when you want to cool down in India. The Meadow of Flowers itself, Gulmarg, is a mere 50 or so kilometres away from the city, which makes it an ideal place for those looking to get some skiing in Srinagar (or its environs, strictly speaking). Because the resort town in itself does not have any permanent residences, many of the people coming to it stay in either Tanmarg or Srinagar. Cabs regularly make the route from Srinagar to Tanmarg, with transport services to the resort town being plentiful in the latter town.
Skiing in Srinagar is actually a fairly new aspect of the tourism industry here. While Gulmarg has long been used by the royalty and other occupants of the Kashmir for vacationing, skiing only recently became a major attraction in the area, what with the local government’s strong efforts to promote it. One of the results of the governmental push to put Gulmarg on skiers’ maps worldwide has been the construction and opening of one of the highest-situated cable car lifts in the world, the Gulmarg Gondola. Given that the place actually has a peak a mere 50 metres shy of 4,000 metres up, this is to be expected.
Skiing here is, quite frankly, excellent. Gulmarg’s ski slopes lie along the Pir Panjal Range that distinguishes the Inner Himalayan valley from the flat land beside it, and the length of the slopes is nearly uncontested in Asia. This results to some rather spectacular skiing, and may well explain why CNN has already named it as belonging to the continent’s Top 10 skiing spots. Many internationally-ranked skiing stars have actually visited this place already and pronounced the skiing superb, and this is constantly being reaffirmed by fresh visitors to the area.
There are a few things you need to take note of if you intend to go to this ski town. First of all, you have to time your visit for the winter, which means December to March. There have been years when the powder stayed on the slopes until April, but given how unpredictable weather in the Kashmir can be, it is best not to chance it and simply aim for the ideal months.
Second, you need to be aware of the fact that while the lifts are already operating as early as 8:30 in the morning, the shops may not be. What this means is that those looking to ski with rented equipment may well have to wait two or so hours before the rentals start to open their doors. If you are not bringing your equipment with you, you should thus arrive a little later, around 10 in the morning. If you happen to be someone who prefers better gear, bring your own too: it is more or less the case that rented gear is not going to be very good, after all.
Finally, rest assured that skiing in Srinagar can be done by either those in search of a challenge or those who want some light skiing to relax and just have fun. The range is so large that there are both novice-level and professional-level slopes around, which means there shall be something for everyone.