Kashmir is rather a mysterious place to a lot of people in the world. Neither the World wide web nor any decent travel guide will tell you the truth about this really very special place. Kashmir is the most northern state of the Indian country. It's nestled in western Himalayas between Pakistan to the west and China to its east. By Indians it's also known as the "paradise on earth" and this is absolutely true. The untouched beauty of nature is overwhelming. For example: some of the highest peaks on this globe like K2 and Nanga Parbat are located in the Pakistan administered area of Kashmir. Indian Part of Kashmir have also high mountains up to 7000 metres tall.
When you think about travelling to Kashmir you might also think about the safety in terms of the political situation. Firstly, there's to say that the conflict between India and Pakistan has become very stable since 2003. When you will fly into Srinagar you will soon realize that this is a different airport of what you've seen so far in your life. Srinagar is actually an airport by the Indian army - so don’t be surprised when you see a lot of soldiers. However, we are aware that some international departments for foreign affairs still publish travel advisory for Kashmir without any proof of reason. The last tumults happened in 1990. Gulmarg is a ski resort place and located 50 kilometers away from Srinagar. Nothing ever has happened here in Gulmarg. It's basically a ski village and an absolutely safe place to travel and to ski.
The culture here in Kashmir is certainly very special. We have many religions like Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians and Hindus peacefully living beside each other. People here speak Kashmiri, Hindi, and of course English (the official language all over India). The main language spoken here is Kashmiri. The Kashmiri cuisine is very much tending to the Indian kitchen. For sure there's a huge difference: here you'll get a lot of meat and also beef which you'll hardly find in the rest of India.
Location of Gulmarg
Gulmarg is a ski resort place. It's located west of Srinagar at a distance of around 50 kilometers and is located on an altitude of 2.600 meters. The drive from Srinagar to Gulmarg will take approximately one hour depending on the traffic and snow conditions. During the winter it is only accessible by a four wheel drive. It's totally different from other skiplaces in Europe, USA, Canada or New Zealand. It's filled with Kashmiri tradition.
The hotels are built in a typical design only found in Kashmir. Most of them are covered in pine wood and have colorful roofs. All facilities provide central heating ensuring you to have a convinient stay when you get up for your breakfast or return in the evening after carving fresh powder lines during the day. All hotels are outfitted with a so called "Bhukari" which is a typical wood fired oven in the living room. It gives the room a very cozy and warm feeling. After a tasteful and traditional dinner with herbs, spices and meal combinations you'll find nowhere else in this world you can either enjoy for e.g. the markets in Gulmarg "downtown", go ice skating or bump into one of the party nights.
Yes, there is a kind of 'Apres-ski' here in Gulmarg. For e. g. there's a party happening every Friday and Saturday here in Global, Alpine Ridge and at the Pine Palace Hotel.
The Himalayas are known for remarkable deep and dry "curry"-powder snow. The snow quality in Gulmarg is absolutely unique due to the high altitude plus the very southern exposure of the continent on around 35° degrees latitude. The high quality "curry"-powder snow with perfectly spaced pine trees, open alpine bowls and virgin and undiscovered peaks makes the experience the best in world. You will find tree line skiing as a complete adrenalin rush as well as moderate skiing through some villages.
Our exclusive Heli terrain
Kashmir Heliski offers you an exclusive terrain of 20.000 km² in the mighty Himalayas. We are the only heliski company in Kashmir which is owned and run by the local Kashmiri Billa Bakshi. The Jammu & Kashmir Government has given us an exclusive permission for the entire Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas. The number of our runs is going towards infinity so you can be sure that you won't do the same run again on your next heli lift.
Hotel Highlands Park Gulmarg is literally the centre of attraction and one of Kashmir's premier tourist destination. The Highlands Park is an authentic hotel. If you want to explore Kashmiri culture and food, it's the best place to be. They have a nice bar where they serve wine and beer.
HEAVY SNOWFALL – NOT TOO COLD
The climate in this state is quite extrem due to the largely varying altitude. Four extreme seasons destine whether you can enjoy one of the best powder snow conditions in the world (during the winter) or go hiking throughout the highest mountains in the world (during the summer).
No worries on bad weather days! We can offer you a great programme when we are not able to fly because of the weather conditions. Don't forget it's for your own safety and no body can affect the weather. From Gulmarg (elevation of 2.600 meters) you can ski down to villages like Baba Reshi, Tangmarg, Drungg which are settled on 2000 meters while using a four wheel drive, it's similar like a Cat Skiing. Therefore, skiing is possible every day no matter what the weather conditions are like plus you'll get a very unique village experience in the Kashmir Himalayas.
EARLY JANAURY to MID OF MARCH
From early January till around mid of March you'll get the amazing dry powder snow. During that time, the weather conditions offer us very cold nights with temperatures down below - 25° C and weekly intense snowstorms. This combination plus the degree of latitude on 35° in the northern hemisphere leads to clear blue sky and the unique powder snow. The clouds responsible for the snow storms come in from the Arabian Sea and hit the Pir Panjal Range of our Himalayas from the southern direction, where Gulmarg ski resort is located.
OUR BEST FRIEND
This is a pretty realiable Snow Forecast for ultimate powder skiing in the Himalayas we would like to recommend! We're always up to date and try to inform you as soon as possible. In generell the evening before we'll check the forecast and decide for the next day.
You want to be safe? So do we! And we are!
The local benefit
Billa and his whole crew know those mountains like the back of one's hand. He and his Kashmiri guides have all grown up here and have been skiing in the Himalayas since a young age. When they begun skiing there was no gondola and they started as young children on very basic gear. Our Kashmiri guides have worked with us since the beginning of Gulmarg Powder Guides back in 1998. Billa is the first officially registered ski-guide in India authorized by the J&K Tourism Departement.
Our international plus
All of our international guides have undergone a professional education in avalanche science as well as in heli skiing of course. This education includes a first aid course apart from the expertise in becoming a heli guide. Just check out our overall experience under GUIDES. The whole international crew is working with us since the beginning in 2010 and therefore they also know our heli area as well as our kashmiri guides.
We care about you
The Pir Panjal Range in the Himalayas provides steep and serious terrain. These are the Himalayas, nothing else. If you want to ski here you should be aware of that fact! Before your journey to Gulmarg Kashmir Himalayas, we recommend you to gather as much knowledge as possible concerning avalanches, back country skiing and safety. On your first runs we will take you into our avalanche-controlled bowls near the gondola. We will check your knowledge and skills in handling the gear like abs-bags, transceivers etc.
Off course, you will receive a briefing and training by us on how to handle the gear. Lots of our runs are north facing. As a serious skier or snowboarder, you should know: avalanches can always happen! For your information: in 2010 unfortunately 16 Indian army soldiers and a few foreign ski tourists lost their lives in an avalanche. Same happened again in 2014 where one foreign skier lost his life, in 2015 one another skier lost his life in D4 avalanche triggered from some one above, in 2018 season two more foreigners lost their life in an avalanche, sadly it is to state that those accidents happened, avalanches were triggered by foreign tour operators not knowing our mountains precisely enough. As you can see it is essential to have a guide in Gulmarg Kashmir beside you who you can rely on.
We have Helicopters from Eurocopter of the type AS B350 B3e. Running a heli-business is only safe as long as you operate with reliable helicopters. Our engineers, the pilots and the team of technicians give everything for safe flights. Of course all our backcountry clients are safe while our Gulmarg Powder Guides are always in touch with our pilots at the heli base. We also provide a snowmobile for bad weather conditions and tree access with a rescue sled.
Should you have an accident while skiing, there's a first aid hospital here in Gulmarg. We could also fly you into Srinagar hospital where there is a helipad to land for us. Billa knows a lot of doctors from his childhood on as he went to school with them. We do advise you to have your own personal travel and / or ski insurance!
ABILITY & GEAR
The terrain for all abilities
From intermediate to extreme – Gulmarg has it all. Skiing in the Himalayas of Kashmir with a variety of an exceptional terrain for all kind of abilities. The ski terrain of Gulmarg, India is simply amazing; few kilometers long open alpine bowls for intermediate and advance skiers and snowboarders; up to 5000 meters altitude untracked and undiscovered peaks for intermediate and extreme skiers.
Commonly one thinks you'd need to be a ski bum to be able to do heliskiing /heliboarding. WHICH IS WRONG! Especially with our terrain we are very flexible concerning your skiing abilities. We can offer you runs for skiers and snowboarders with intermediate abilities to very serious runs. Basically, you should be able to go on a blue piste at your home place. You also should be physically fit.
To enjoy the world's best powder you definitely need proper powder-skies. The whole team of Kashmir Heliski uses powder equipment. Powder gear gives you the opportunity to ski through a wide range of snow conditions, faster, easier and with more stability. But no worries, we have a very well equipped SKI SHOP with professional powder skis. If you book a package with us all the gear is included in the price already. You'll get all safety relevant gear from us. This does NOT include an ABS-Backpack, you can rent it from us for 1,200 INR (approx 18 USD) a day. We will check your knowledge and skills in handling the gear. Of course you will receive a briefing by us on how
Snowboards have a wide base which allows them to perform very well in off piste conditions and deep powder snow. We recommend you to use the snowboard that you normally use at your ski area at home. We do have an assortment of snowboards but not unlimited and recommend you to bring your own. If you don't wanna bring your own, let us know which board and size you're looking for and we'll check in our SKI-SHOP if we can meet your request.
TRAVEL INFORMATION & FAQ
We support local kids with free equipment and ski lessons. Ski Tourism is economically very important for Kashmir. If the kids will learn to ski and snowboard it will give huge employment to the local young generation. We request our guests if they are planning to visit Kashmir for skiing, if you have any used kids ski gear, jackets, gloves etc. , please bring it along with you, you will find lots of small local kids on slope where you can give them , they will have a big smile on there face, unfortunately its not easy for locals to get their hands on ski gear in Gulmarg, Kashmir, India.