Gulmarg is situated in the Himalayas of Kashmir in the Pir Pinjal range, an hour drive from the airport in the capital city of Srinagar. Apparently the highest ski access gondola in the world, the two stage Poma gondola gets up to 4000m.
In-bounds terrain: Patrolled
It comprises a large pitched basin underneath the gondola. Aspects are N thru SE averaging 35 degrees. The second stage of the gondola gives over 1000m vertical elevation of straight fall line.
This basin (shown in green) receives avalanche control using explosives and is patrolled.
The ridge which the gondola tops out on stretches 10km in each direction, increasing the accessible terrain for backcountry by 20 fold.
Backcountry terrain does NOT receive avalanche control and is NOT patrolled.
A daily avalanche advisory for backcountry terrain in the gulmarg region is posted at the gondola base, at the gondola top station and on the home page of gulmargavalanche.org.
At the gondola, look for this sign for the backcountry advisory:
An American avalanche specialist manages the Gulmarg ski patrol. The long term goal is instruction and leadership in ultimately facilitating a self-sufficient program. The 10 men of Kashmir who make up the patrol are systematically being brought to this point through structured training. Despite setbacks in equipment, we have seen the patrol achieve proficiency in medical skills and evacuation. The final goal is to train snow safety skills and search and rescue (SAR) to western standards supported by safety and risk management plans.
Much of the infrastructure at gulmarg is primitive by comparison to western ski areas. Resources are available during your visit which will aid in your decision making.
Free Avalanche Awareness Talk : each Tuesday evening 7pm at Pine Palace.
Each tuesday evening at 7pm, a forecaster from the center will give a free avalanche awareness talk at the pine palace heritage. One of the foreign snow safety experts will speak on:
- the weekly weather forecast (and how it may affect ski area operations)
- basic avalanche awareness at gulmarg (a 3 part weekly series power point presentation)
The forecaster will also be available to answer your questions.
Beacon search Practice
Because the backcountry is so popular at Gulmarg, the ski patrol operates a rescue training center. You may use this to practice your beacon skills.
- The rescue training center is located on mary’s shoulder in the second stage of the gondola. This site is used by the ski patrol and is also available to the public when the second stage is operating.