Top Winter Sports Destinations in India
It’s that time of the year again when Himalayas are blanketed with snow and lakes are more like blocks of frozen ice. The one and only time of the year when you can bring out the winter child in you and indulge in some snow games and powder activity! So, we decided to curate a list of some of the best places in India for you to don your snow goggles and indulge in the winter sport of your choice – be it skiing, snowboarding, or even ice skating!
Gulmarg, Jammu & Kashmir
This one just had to be at the very top of our list! A quaint little tourist town that thrives on winter tourism, Gulmarg seems to have been tailor made for adventure and winter sport enthusiasts in India. Whether you’re looking to ski, snowboard, or just play around in the snow, this is the place to go. From amatuers to professional sportsmen, Gulmarg has a practice slope and training courses for all levels of skiing and snowboarding aficionados, as well as some of the topmost ski resorts in the country. Moreover, the Gulmarg Gondola is one of the highest cable car lines in the world, and takes you all the way up to Mt. Apharwat, if you want to be so bold as to try that! Other fun activities that you can take up in Gulmarg are ice-skating, sledding, and riding snowmobiles.
Shimla, Himachal Pradesh
This destination is for all the ice-skating lovers out there. Shimla is home to the largest and the only naturally formed skating rink in the country. The open-air rink attracts amateurs and professionals from all over the country every year. Open skies and clear weather is the unique selling point of this skating rink. All kinds of ice skating equipment and gear is also available for hire at the rink. The uninitiated can avail temporary membership and learn at their own pace. Sessions are held through the day and training is based on your skill level. Moreover, who wouldn’t be motivated to pick up this sport when you see highly skilled and trained experts gliding past you as if they were merely floating on ice!
Solang Valley, Himachal Pradesh
It may not have the infrastructure of Gulmarg, but Solang Valley is not a place to be underestimated when it comes to winter sports. Possibly the second most popular destination for skiing and snowboarding in India, Solang is alive and thriving with sport activity all through the winter months. A skiing festival is organised in Solang every year, bringing together fanatics from all over the country in celebration of this sport. Skiing courses for all levels are available. Moreover, Rohtang, not too far from Solang, boasts of being one of the best heli-skiing destinations in India. Those looking for ‘off-piste’, i.e. non-crowded, uncharted skiing territory with fresh powder, should opt for this heli-skiing destination first and foremost.
Phuni & Yumthang Valley, Sikkim
Okay, here’s one for people who just can’t bear to deal with crowds and overworked slopes. The lesser known of skiing destinations in India, Phuni Valley and Yumthang Valley are located approximately 18 km and 25 km, respectively, outside of Lachung in Sikkim. Since not many people know about these two valleys, you’ll find relatively empty slopes and can ski or snowboard away to your heart’s content. Without the disturbance of loud, cacophonous groups of tourists and blithering idiots crashing into you, anyone who wishes to glide down in serenity can do so, irrespective of their skill level. Moreover, it’s the ideal destination for beginners, since you’ll want empty space to experiment with your equipment and your newfound love for skiing/snowboarding.