A Guide to a Freerider's Paradise
  The skiing and snowboarding in Gulmarg.

To the west Apherwat mountain and its huge bowls and gullies, its cornices and ridges, and 1400m+ of vertical...

To the north Baba Reshi, with its steep challenging treelines to the sound of prayers and hymns from Baba Reshi Mosque..

To the east Sharak Node and Tangmarg, with its tight ‘nullahs' and thick forest and viewpoint drops, finishing off with a hot chai and cake.

To the south the slopes lead to Drung from Apherwat or Monkey Hill… and the most unchartered territory of all.

And at the centre, the main gondola runs: a skiing and snowboarding playground.


Gulmarg has an enormous amount of varied backcountry to offer. Combine this variety of terrain with the quality of the Himalayan powder, so light, so fluffy, and you have something …. quite difficult to put into words. Some runs of 2000+ metres are possible from the top of Apherwat to Drung. Wouldn't skiing of this quality normally cost $1000s with the use of a helicopter? When the new gondola gets going, you will be able to fit in several of these a day!! As a rough guide we have broken the possibilities down into the following ‘days out', just to give you a taste of what is possible in the separate areas around Gulmarg. Paul, Joe and your other Kashmir Alpine Guides will be delighted to show you around.


A Day:
At the gondola for 9 a.m. banging on the doors to get the guys inside to start it up. Hit the main gondola run for the morning, searching out new variations, new hits, fallen trees and acclimatizing to the surroundings. Enjoy the gentle wide meadows and the picturesque shepherd huts. Throughout the day starting to hike further and further north from Kongdori Gondola station. On other days hiking up Kilinmarg, hike the paper trees; skiing/boarding down to the western foot of Monkey Hill. Or not bother doing any hiking.. the main gondola run has plenty to offer!
B Day:

7am start. Hike/ Taxi depending on road conditions to the north facing slope of Baba Reshi., one of Gulmarg's best slopes. Ski/board down from Gulmarg, through thick forest, over large knolls and down ravines to the Baba Reshi Mosque to meet our transport and have a chai. Taxi back to the top to check out new lines, working our way southwards towards Tangmarg.


C Day:
7am start. Taxi over to the viewpoint for a big drop in, ski/ board down from Gulmarg to Tangmarg for a chai and to meet with transport back up. A few short runs down Sharak Node, checking out the tight tree-runs and gullies, or ‘nullahs'. Hike up the south face of Monkey Hill and ski / board down the wide open slopes to Drung – fantastic early season slopes, allbeit with a fair hike at the end.
D Day:

Get up 5am, maybe an onion omelet and some toast for breakfast, before getting suited and booted and out for sunrise at 6am. Down to the Gondola where we have arranged for an early lift up. 6.20 am start the hike to the summit with our team of porters to help with kit and provisions. ETA 10.30 a.m. we get to the top rest and soak up the view of the Himalaya and the other crazy mountains around Gulmarg. Make a mental note to hike them next year! Perhaps a trek to the very top peak which is not visible from Gulmarg. Check out snow conditions in the back bowl and have a go maybe. Choose a southerly ridge and head for Drung, or a more northerly one and head for Gulmarg via Kilinmarg and the paper trees. Apherwat's ridges probably cover about 15 sq kms of terrain before even hitting the tree line.



1-2 people 1000 Rs/22$ per day ; 3 people 1500 Rs/33$ ; 4 people 2000 Rs/44$ ; 5 people 2500 Rs/55$ ; 6 people 3000 Rs/66$.

For larger groups we are inclined to provide another guide at the same rates.

Taxi for the day: 2500 Rs/55$ and can fit 8(-10!) people plus a guide and driver.


If you are serious about hiking the summit early season a transceiver is a must. Of course, avalanches can occur at any time anywhere with no warning and so transceivers should be carried at all times if possible.

Snow conditions on slopes to Drung and Tangmarg can become too poor to ski in the late season. However more terrain above Gulmarg will become more easily accessible as this happens.

Gulmarg's high altitude can cause slight altitude sickness: dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea. If you are coming for a short time try to come as fit as possible and give up smoking!

Rates do not include porters, but these can be arranged easily on request.

Sonamarg and Pahalgam are two other more low key resorts located in the north and east of Kashmir respectively, and offer more fantastic skiing and boarding. There are no lifts at all but accommodation is available. If you would like to check these places out please get in touch! We will be organizing some tours to these places. Watch this space.

Winter Sports, be it skiing, snowboarding, sledging, luge, bobsled, ski jump or ice hockey, they all carry risks. We cannot be held responsible for any accidents that occur. We will of course however endeavour to forewarn you of potential risks.

Photos © Joe Wyand and © Dove E Dove

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