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Deluxe - Western Guided Ski Package - Gulmarg

This program is very in-depth and represents excellent value for money. It is not suited to the budget traveler as it is on the higher end of the price-scale but it will appeal to people who are very safety conscious and want the hassle taken out of planning the logistics themselves.

2015/16 Ski Package Dates: (Arrival in Srinagar)

  • Session 1: Sunday 31st January – Sunday 14th February 2016
  • Session 2: Sunday 14th February – Sunday 28th February 2016
  • Session 3: Sunday 28th February – Sunday 13th March 2016

The Advantages of this Package; safety and attention to detail! We take care of all the details and make getting to Gulmarg very easy. We help with all the trip preparation prior to departure and will be there in person to meet you in Srinagar. Then, our hosting service is 24 hours a day, whether it’s guiding you around the mountain or introducing you to the locals in Gulmarg, we are there with you every step of the way.

Focus on safety. This starts before you even get to Gulmarg. As soon as the snow starts to fall, the head guide and his team are monitoring the formation of the snowpack and this information is shared with the guest. Before you arrive in Gulmarg, you will have a really good idea on how the snowpack is shaping up, stability-wise. The team is out there a week before the first guests arrive, on snow, training our local guides and getting familiar with the conditions themselves.

When you arrive, we start a comprehensive avalanche safety training program (see link bellow for full details). Ultimately, before you go into the backcountry for the first time, you become proficient in single and multiple burials, probing, strategic shoveling and stability tests. There is a lot of information to digest, but you have a lot of time to practice and build a solid foundation of skills.

Groups are small, with a maximum of 6 guests per group. Each group is led by 2 guides. A lead Western guide and a local Kashmiri tail guide. The local guides are trained by the team to a high standard and they all have to work very hard to earn their jackets in order to have become an official local guide for our deluxe tour operator!

If you want to work on technique, several of the Western guides are also fully-certified ski or snowboard instructors, so they can help you improve your freeride technique as well. They give constant feedback when out on the hill and they also offer evening tech-talks to discuss technique and can even offer video analysis sessions if it’s safe to film the clients out riding on the mountain.

Packages Include:

  • 13 night’s accommodation in Gulmarg
  • All breakfasts and dinners in Gulmarg
  • Greeting at Srinagar Airport by representative.
  • Transfers to and from Srinagar Airport to Gulmarg
  • 12 full days of instruction and guiding by The Team
  • Comprehensive avalanche safety training and pre-departure Gulmarg weather/snowpack updates
  • 2 guides per group; 1 Western guide and 1 local Kashmiri guide. Max 6 guests per group.
  • Final night’s accommodation on the houseboats on Dal Lake, including dinner and breakfast
  • Access to deep discounts on equipment from our partners

14 days - 13 nights for as low as 3875 $US

The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa All Inclusive Ski Packages

Located about 350 meters from the Gulmarg Gondola on its private road, The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa is in a class of its own. Opened in December 2012, this hotel brought a new level of luxury to Gulmarg. Views of the Himalayas can be enjoyed from all rooms. Rooms are super spacious, bathrooms have bath and glassed showers. Most rooms have a private balcony.

The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa offers rooms where you can control the temperature with hot water 24 hours a day in your private bathroom. Rooms are beautifully decorated. There is a choice of many restaurants. You can use the gym, schedule a massage at the spa or go for a swim. There is also a Chaikash Tea Lounge and Calabash Moroccan cigar lounge.

Prices - 14 Days, 13 Nights - All Inclusive Western Guided Ski Gulmarg Package

Prices - Khyber Resort & Spa - 14 Days, 13 Nights (12 nights in Gulmarg, 1 on Houseboat)

# of Guided Days Breakfast & Dinner Included
Single Occ. Double Occ. Triple Occ.
12 Guided Days  5235$ 4225$ 3965$
* Prices are in USD per person.

Hotel Highlands Park All Inclusive Ski Packages

Located about 1 kilometer from the Gulmarg Gondola, the Hotel Highlands Park offers a very comfortable stay. This establishment is an icon in Gulmarg. It is one of Kashmir's premier tourist destinations. The property spreads over 8 acres of flower-carpeted and pine-forested hillsides. It is possible to ski from the hotel almost to the Gondola.

The Hotel Highlands Park offers centrally heated rooms with 24 hours hot water in your private bathroom. You also have a fireplace in your room. Rooms are traditionally decorated and have been renovated in 2103. The Restaurant/Dinning Room has a special charm and food is excellent. There is a very big lounge to relax after you day and look at the mountain to find your secret line for the next day.

Prices - 14 Days, 13 Nights - All Inclusive Western Guided Ski Gulmarg Package

Prices - Highlands Park - 14 Days, 13 Nights (12 nights in Gulmarg, 1 on Houseboat)

# of Guided Days Breakfast & Dinner Included
Single Occ. Double Occ. Triple Occ.
12 Guided Days  5035$ 4165$ 3965$
* Prices are in USD per person.

Hotel Heevan Retreat - All Inclusive Ski Packages (Guided by Western Ski Guide)

Located about 400 meters from the Gulmarg Gondola, the Hotel Heevan Retreat offers a very comfortable stay. It is possible to ski from the hotel to the Gondola. The hotel treats all their guests to a delicious afternoon tea. The lounge is enormous and has a pool table.

The Hotel Heevan Retreat offers centrally heated rooms with hot water 24 hours a day in your private bathroom. Rooms are warm with a private balcony. The hotel also provides storage for your gear. The Restaurant/Dining Room is beautifully decorated, food is excellent, WiFi is available all around the hotel and there is a nice little local souvenir shop.

Prices - 14 Days, 13 Nights - All Inclusive Western Guided Ski Gulmarg Package

Prices - Heevan Retreat - 14 Days, 13 Nights (12 nights in Gulmarg, 1 on Houseboat)

# of Guided Days Breakfast & Dinner Included
Single Occ. Double Occ. Triple Occ.
13 Guided Days  4950$ 3985$ 3875$
* Prices are in USD per person.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

* we can only sell you a double or triple room IF there are guests available to share with you. Double and triple room rates are therefore NOT guaranteed.

* $1,000 USD per person, non-refundable deposit is required to secure accommodation. Participation in the program cannot be guaranteed until total payment has been made.

Most Read!!!
Avalanche Training Outline

Here is a quick rundown on what to expect during your time in Gulmarg, participating in this special program, as it pertains to the day to day skiing and riding we do. The focus is on safety, fun and learning. Every day we will be guiding you to the most suitable terrain on the mountain with the best snow. You will ski and ride a lot; hopefully we can show you some of the best runs of your life!

We operate in small groups, with a maximum of 6 guests per group. We have 2 guides per group; 1 of our Western guides leading the group and then an experienced local guide bringing up the rear. All of our local guides receive comprehensive training from the lead guides, so we trust them to work safely with all our groups.

You’ll also learn a lot too; we have a very detailed avalanche safety training program that we put all our guests through at the start of the trip and we are always looking at ways to try and lower the risk when riding in avalanche terrain.

The other part of our program that many guests enjoy is the ability of our guides to give feedback on a guest’s skiing and riding ability so that they can work on their technique in powder and variable snow. If we have a day off together, we can show you round some of the other sites of Gulmarg, plus there are plenty of opportunities to relax and unwind, maybe enjoy a well-earned apres ski drink together!

Avalanche Safety Training

Our avalanche safety training program is very in-depth and most clients come away having learned a lot and improved their avalanche safety skills. Here’s a description of what to expect:

  1. Basic Training
    • Access to The Project snowpack updates and the Gulmarg avalanche reports prior to arrival in Gulmarg, with frequent discussion of relevant updates. We will help all our guests to have a thorough understanding of the snowpack and the subsequent stability therefore, before they arrive in Gulmarg.
    • Indoor Safety Presentation on arrival – detailed Powerpoint presentation of practical avalanche theory to be covered out on the mountain.
    • Initial indoor beacon training – establishing basic principles for efficient beacon searching.
    • Equipment familiarization – understand how to assemble all shovels and probes of the equipment in your group. Know where each person stores their gear in their pack in case you have to assemble your buddy’s gear for him/her.
  2. Advanced Training – On-Mountain

    Ideally this will take place in the controlled/patrolled area of the gondola, but this can take place on the lower part of the mountain if the gondola or chairlift is closed. Any of these steps can be repeated as necessary.

    1. Single Burial Scenario Training
      • Demonstration – the guides will lead the students through a mock single burial rescue scenario to ensure guests understand the basic principles of primary, secondary phases of the search and pin-pointing with a probe.
      • Practice Run – the guests will lead the rescue but with constant feedback of their technique, from the guides.
      • Mock Rescue – the students will lead the rescue without any assistance from the guides. The guides will be there to observe their performance and give constructive feedback. If the guests have performed well in the single burial training, then we will move on to the multiple burial scenarios.
    2. Multiple Burial Scenario Training
      • Demonstration – the guides will lead the students through a multiple rescue scenario, highlighting how to flag a found beacon so that the next victim/s can be found.
      • Practice Run – the students will lead the multiple victim rescue scenario, with the guides on hand to assist.
      • Mock Rescue – the students must work together to find several buried beacons without the assistance of the guides. The guides will observe and give constructive feedback.
    3. Refining Strategic Shoveling Technique

      The guests will have the opportunity to practice and refine their strategic shoveling technique with the assistance of the guides. The uncovering of the victim is potentially the most time consuming part of the rescue, so extra attention will be given to shoveling and uncovering the victim in the most efficient way.

    4. Snowpack Analysis and Testing

      If time allows on day one, we will spend time analyzing the snowpack on several different aspects. We can conduct several different stability tests to further analyze the bonding between the layers in the snowpack and we can compare this information with the information presented in the avalanche advisory reports that were shared before arriving in Gulmarg. We want to see how much correlation there is in our findings and with those of the avalanche advisory. These tests can be repeated during the course of the session, as much as required.

    5. Protocol Training

      As we are riding predominantly in avalanche terrain, the guests need to understand the principles of following avalanche protocols to decrease the odds of the entire group being caught in an avalanche. We constantly stress these techniques when riding in exposed areas. Often we will ride a slope one at a time. We always ride from island of relative safety to island of relative safety (such as staying on a ridgeling or riding down to a large rock and assembling tight around it, etc). We always watch each other when we ride (eyes on!) and try and maintain visual or voice contact at all times. We might need to cross a suspect face and need to set a fast traverse line, which we take at speed, one at a time. There are many techniques that we use to lessen the odds of the entire group getting caught in an avalanche.

    6. Avalanche Safety Series presented by the Gulmarg Snow Safety Officer

      On Tuesday and Saturday nights, we like to take all our groups down to the Pine Palace Heritage Hotel to listen to the avalanche safety presentation put on by the Snow Safety Officer and head of the Gulmarg Ski Patrol. This is a very interesting and insightful talk that brings together the local freeride community to discuss snow safety out on the mountain. Our guests can learn a lot about the avalanche safety and local conditions from these interesting presentations.

Skier and Snowboarder Improvement

A really fun part of the 2 week session is the chance to work on some technique. We have several fully-certified ski and snowboard instructors on our staff and we can focus on improving technique in powder and variable snow, once everyone is feeling more comfortable operating in avalanche terrain. Please understand that our number 1 priority is always safety, so we will not be able to focus on instruction, if the danger is too high.

When we do get the chance though, your guide can give you on snow feedback which you can focus on. Again, when conditions are right, we should be able to get the video cameras out and film the guest’s riding, so we can watch the footage back at the hotel and analyze the person’s runs. If possible, we try and have several video analysis feedback sessions during the 2 weeks. We also have tech talks and talk about the principles of efficient technique, plus discussing different tactics for riding powder and variable snow, especially using more modern equipment.

All in all, a 2 week session with on this program will be an amazing, unforgettable experience. You will ride one of the most unique and special mountains in the world (it is the Himalayas after all, not many people can say they’ve ridden there!) and had some of the best runs of your life (that’s what we are aiming for!). You’ll have met some amazing new people and immersed yourself in the culture of the very hospitable, Kashmiri and Indian people. I personally can’t wait to share all this with you, it’s going to be an epic trip. One you will never forget!

Mandatory Equipment List
  1. Mandatory
    • Avalanche Safety Gear - you will need a backcountry specific backpack (25L plus), shovel, probe and avalanche transceiver. Please bring spare batteries for your transceivers and check that they are functioning before leaving on your trip. This gear is mandatory and we will not ski without it. Practice putting together your shovel and probe and know the functions of your beacon, prior to commencement of your trip. We have some sets of backcountry gear available to rent in Gulmarg, but they are older (Tracker DTS 1 transceiver) and the packs are small. You are recommended to bring your own gear from home.
    • Walkie-Talkie – for improved in-group communication, if we decide to ski a run beyond line of sight or for general improved communication.
    • Fat Skis with uphill capability – 110mm or wider skis with some kind of touring setup (Marker Duke or Salomon Guardian style work well, or Dynafit or tech binding set-up also very good options). Please be familiar with your skis and know how your bindings work, before getting to Gulmarg. Your first time on your equipment should not be on snow in Gulmarg!
    • Split-board or powder specific snowboard – splitboards are the best option in Gulmarg, failing that, a powder board or regular snowboard, with snowshoes or ascension skis for hiking in deep snow, carried in the pack. You should also carry some 3 piece touring poles as well. Practice assembling/dis-assembling your board before arriving in Gulmarg.
    • Skins – trimmed to fit your skis or board. We recommend trimmed-to-fit for maximum grip. We don’t recommend straight cut skins due to their lesser grip. Skins should be trimmed prior to arrival and should fit and work for your equipment. Finding out they don’t fit or work just before your first hike in Gulmarg, is not an option!
    • Avalanche Airbag – We strongly recommend the use of an avalanche airbag whilst riding in Gulmarg. Sometimes travelling with airbags can be restricted or not allowed (either with empty or full cylinders) for travel by your airline, especially on flights coming to/from the US. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CHECK WITH THE AIRLINES BEFORE YOU TRAVEL TO FIND OUT THEIR RULES FOR CARRYING AVALANCHE AIRBAGS ON-BOARD AND WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE PERMITTED. Skigulmarg.com accepts no responsibility for guests who choose to travel with Airbags and are denied permission to carry them on their flights! Please also note that although there are several options for of cylinder re-fill in Gulmarg, they are not always reliable. Skigulmarg.com accepts no responsibility if your cylinder refill is delayed or not available at time of arrival. Please email if you have any questions on this.
    • Avalung Harness or backpacks are mandatory if you do not use an avalanche airbag.
    • Whistle – attached to your pack for attracting attention.
    • Gulmarg rescue map – print it out, trim it down and laminate it. It must be carried in your pack at all times. See Gulmarg Trail Map Page to download and print!
    • Color copy of your passport information page, carried on you at all times, if you get stopped at a military check point.
    • Basic 1st Aid Kit and spare parts for your ski equipment are mandatory. You should always be self-sufficient in the backcountry.
  2. Highly Recommended
    • Normal ski wear: jacket, pants, mid-layers, base layers, socks, gloves, etc. Shell jackets and pants that are highly breathable are recommended.
    • Spare batteries – for all electronic devices.
    • Helmet – a good, well ventilated helmet is recommended for increased protection whilst skiing/riding.
    • Goggles – a good pair of goggles with lenses for bright light and overcast light. A goggle with an interchangeable lens system is highly recommended.
    • Sunglasses – good to hike in instead of goggles.
    • Gloves – One thicker pair for colder/snowier days and one pair of spring gloves for warmer days, especially useful when hiking.
    • Clothing for travel and after skiing - bring a decent pair of shoes or boots suitable for walking through snow.
    • Headlamp – good for walking at night, especially after visiting the Highland Park Hotel for apres- ski.
    • Toilet paper in a sealed plastic bag to go in your pack, just in case you get cut short!
    • Medical supplies: we recommend bringing Immodium or charcoal tablets; antibiotics (you can buy antibiotics at the airport in Delhi without prescription, but please note you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK. These can be followed up with a pro-biotic to restore good bacteria levels); any other normal medical supplies you might need.
    • Spending money - $700USD or equivalent should be fine for 2 weeks. You can change your money at the airport in Delhi, make sure you get plenty of smaller bills like 100 and 200 rupee notes as many places in India inconveniently won’t break large bills. There is an ATM in Gulmarg, it is very popular and runs out of money quickly. Credit cards are not widely accepted in Gulmarg, cash is king.
    • Energy Bars – good to have in the pack for extra energy when hiking.
    • Camera and/or POV camera – plenty of opportunities for photographs and sick ski/ride footage.
    • Old ski gear – if you have any room, then locals in Gulmarg always appreciate donations of any unwanted old ski gear, winter clothing etc that is in good condition.

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