The High Line: Gulmarg Ski Season Report, 2010-2011
Gulmarg, Kashmir | 30 April, 2011 | Paul Lalley
A season of blanketed dreams & fluffy stuff. Did you miss a season of insane proportions?
Likely so, but too bad – you should have been here yesterday. Krystalline Himalayan Adventure Sports, or K-line, officially launched for the 2010-2011 Gulmarg ski season with a team of nationally trained and licensed senior guides killing it on the mountain, making sure that everyone was in safe hands.
This Gulmarg ski season
Let’s backtrack for a second to discuss the crazy season at hand – it was diverse to say the least. It began as a series of unfortunate events with a serious lack of snowfall, with enough mud and rain to keep a herd of hippos happy. Once the water finally subsided and the typical cold weather patterns came rolling in, the snowfall went from a passive slap to an aggressive punch that blanketed the region in snow. As always, mother nature came through with the goods, delivering a sizeable dump of pow for the masses. Except it wasn’t really for the masses as there weren’t really that many of us this season – which was bad for business, but good for fresh lines. As dedicated diehards, we were out in full force smashing lines until we were shattered. Welcome to our home – the Pir Panjal Range.
So there was a little initial performance anxiety in December and January just like last year, but the region witnessed heavy snowfall in February and early March, with temperatures ranging between -5 and -15 degrees. So the conditions during these later months were off the hook like last season, with continual snowfall interspersed with bluebird days which resulted in mind-blowing conditions with epic blower pow. This is pretty much the reverse of North America, where the region was slammed by severe snowstorms early in the season which tapered off later in the season, courtesy of Mr. El Nino, our beloved friend and colleague.
What’s been happening in GulmargThe lift lines in Gulmarg continue to grow…
A lot of exciting stuff has gone down this season. Let’s start with the launch of helicopter skiing operations for the first time in Gulmarg, through Gulmarg Heliski. It was successfully inaugurated by the Minister of Tourism for Jammu & Kashmir. K-line is currently developing a partnership with Gulmarg Heliski, so stay tuned for more information. Something else in the pipeline is the development of Cat Skiing, which is another venture we will be working closely with when it launches in the coming season. K-line will also be offering split-board guiding in the upcoming season as a new addition to our services. So all you die-hard snow riders out there that are looking for an unconventional means of exhilaration, get on-board now.
Gulmarg itself is continuing to grow, with new hotels popping up constantly. With accommodation increasing in both range and standard, fervent Gulmarg fans are becoming spoilt for choice. K-Line has strong relationships with the best hotels in town, with great service, food and facilities on hand. Stick with us and we will guarantee an experience to remember.
The serious stuff
As you are all probably aware, there were a spate of events plastered across the news regarding the political conflict in Kashmir, which began in early 2010 and persisted throughout the year. This was essentially a local issue that has resurfaced after decades of silence, and not a matter of international security, war or terrorism. Basically, locals have been unhappy for quite some time about the Indian rule of Kashmir. In response to extensive protests, the Indian Government sent in troops to control the situation, which resulted in violence and casualties. None of this was targeted at foreigners and only existed in protest areas outside Gulmarg. After suspending all trips temporarily as a matter of safety and security, we were back in full swing by November. Those of you who did come with us would have seen the safe environment and incredible conditions that shaped a fantastic season ending on a high.
On the wild sideTypical monkey musings in Gulmarg
On a lighter note, Gulmarg was full of the usual happenings that we love. Monkey business was out in full force, with the culprits vandalising rubbish, marking their territory so to speak and generally reaffirming that Gulmarg is their home and we are merely tolerated as visitors. Despite our hopes, we still didn’t get to meet the famed snow leopard – better luck next season.
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