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IN PICS: Go skiing in Gulmarg this winter

Last updated on: November 20, 2012 16:17 IST
Taking the black run down all the way from 13,000+ feet

After going dune-bashing in Rajasthan, Dilshad Master-Kumar, Co-Founder Farinto.com went the other extreme and tried out skiing in Gulmarg.

I never did understand why they call it the bunny slopes... until I see the kids scamper up and down with ease!

While I stand tentatively on top, looking down at this "ski slope for beginners", my heart skipping more than just a beat, a little three feet nothing runt whizzes past me yelling "Chicken! Chicken! Chicken!"

He is spot on. There is no way I was swooshing down that slope in one piece, but I had to give it my best shot -- part of the story gathering process for the grandkids! So swoosh I did.

Like a puttering old motorbike not quite catching the starter, I stumble my way down, until the slope decides to do its job and takes me sliding down at a pace I didn't appreciate.

I land in an ungainly heap at the bottom, the pride more hurt than any part of the body, look up to realise no one cared. People were having way too much fun and the serious skiers never disdain to look at the bunny slope in any case! And that, in a nut shell, is Gulmarg in the winters -- some serious fun and some serious skiing.

IN PICS: Go skiing in Gulmarg this winter

Last updated on: November 20, 2012 16:17 IST
Gulmarg buried in white powder snow

The whole world and its uncle seem to visit Gulmarg in the summers.

Very few know of Gulmag's winter avatar -- the beautiful powder snow perfect for skiing and snowboarding (I'm told) and the cable car that is the highest in the world -- taking you up all the way to 13,780 feet.

CNN International declared Gulmarg as the 7th best skiing destination in Asia and it's become the hub for snowboarders and skiers from around the world. We usually take the Republic Day (January 26) holiday and head to the "meadow of flowers" which is a sheet of white and no flowers in sight at this time of the year. And yet, the beauty of the place is breathtaking.

The chilly wind hits your face the moment you land in Srinagar. The two hour drive to Tanmarg must be done with the car windows down -- the cold blast of fresh air is just divine!

IN PICS: Go skiing in Gulmarg this winter

Last updated on: November 20, 2012 16:17 IST
The kids get their first lesson in skiing

We head to Tanmarg not only because it's at the base of Gulmarg from where you start to climb, but also because there's Downhill Restaurant at the market corner. You get the most awesome Kashmiri Wazvan here -- gushtaba, rishta, sheek kabab, tabak maaz -- this is a meat-eater's paradise!

For the veggies I recommend hakh and white rice -- super combo, along with some nadur palak (lotus stems and spinach leaves). Gulmarg is just a 30 minute drive from there. It's a harrowing drive, the road is engulfed with ice on both sides, and the brakes are obviously anathema to our driver! I just shut my eyes and stop worrying. Calm myself down by saying 'they do this 10 times a day!'

IN PICS: Go skiing in Gulmarg this winter

Last updated on: November 20, 2012 16:17 IST
One on one, the trainers are efficient and patient

If you're not into skiing, do what I do... simply sit on top of the bunny slopes like a diva and sip warm cups of kawa while you watch your kids go down the slopes.

The young ones latch on to the ski instructions much faster than adults and within two days you will find your kids swooshing down and having the time of their lives! Or you could take a book, catch the cable car to the mid way point, sit in the restaurant there, sip some kawa (again!) and just chill.

IN PICS: Go skiing in Gulmarg this winter

Last updated on: November 20, 2012 16:17 IST
The long trudge back home after a day at the slopes

Top five recommendations for first-timers in Gulmarg: