News and Events
  2004 saw the return of the Indian Winter Olympics to Gulmarg after a gap of 6 years. In late January both Ice Hockey and Ice Skating were contested in somewhat tricky conditions on an iced over car park. Nordic skiing was also staged with the Indian Army Ski Team completing a clean sweep to the delight of their Norwegian Coach. The resort was alive with optimism for these three days, attracting a lot of media attention. Just two months before, India and Pakistan had announced they would restart talks on problematic issues such as Kashmir.

February was a beautiful month for Gulmarg. The festival of Eid saw the resort deserted, but the hustle and bustle soon returned amid almost daily warm sunshine, heavy snow showers and a visit from CNN. The resort went a bit crazy one weekend, on two occasions Yasin was forced to dish out a beating to keep people in line – just a couple of wayward youngsters in need of some discipline!!
Foreign tourist levels saw an increase. Andre and Bobby from Orville, Michel and Miriam from Manali, not to mention Tom and Mark, Ian, Courtney, Dave, Locky, Liam and Nutcase Colin all joined in the fun over the month.

From left to right:

The Ice Hockey in January

Crew from the Commonwealth

Being a bit greedy after hours


Into March and the Alpine stage of the Indian Winter Olympics got underway. The team from Himachal Pradesh took most of the honours in the skiing and snowboarding. Up and coming local lad Arif Khan was pipped into fourth in the senior snowboarding competition, with Verdos, another Gulmarg snowboarder, taking sixth. Dane Peter, and Canadian Roddy arrived wit the HP team; with adventure journalists Ptor and Greg also arriving to shoot some extreme skiing photos - Gulmarg style! It was also great to see visitors from Sweden and Spain. More nutters!

  Snowboard UK journalists Matt Carroll and Dan Milner appeared late March, unfortunately after the majority of us had left Gulmarg. Reports from reliable sources suggest that between them these guys nailed almost all of Apherwat's 21 ridges …. Inside 14 days! The kulis (porters) had their best two weeks of business in years…!
  The world's largest democracy held its General Election in April/May. The ruling Hindu-nationalist BJP led coalition had been heavily tipped to win again, but it surprisingly gave way to a new multi-party coalition called the UPA, led by the Congress and Sonia Gandhi. What would this mean for the peace process between India and Pakistan? People were worried that the change of leadership might derail that process. However Manmohan Singh, India's new Prime minister, and leader of a more secular coalition, has continued the good work throughout the year.




2005 is coming…

It is still uncertain if the second phase of the Gulmarg Gondola will be finished in time for the start of the 2004/5 season. Recent reports are that the gondola will be finished and opened on January 1 2005.

  Watch out for a new route to Nirvana! A special trip is being organized for some Tibetan monks from Dharamsala to learn to snowboard in Gulmarg this coming March. Mr Damdul agreed.. “it sounds like a lot of fun laughlaughlaugh!”

From left to right:

Mr. Joe and Kalsang Damdul in Dharamsala

The gondola in construction

  The Islamic festival of Eid is in early February. Lots of delicious meat!

Skiing Expeditions to Sonamarg and Pahalgam in Kashmir will be leaving from Gulmarg during the season, watch this space!

  There's no doubt that Gulmarg is going to be the place to be this winter, the world over. It is going to go down as one of the craziest seasons in skiing/snowboarding history. No doubt about it… you have to check it out! “You have to experience Gulmarg!”




Some handy Hindi / Urdu for your trip with a semi-phonetic version to help

  “ Sabkuch milega ” ( sa-b-koo-ch mee-lay-ga) - “ everything is possible “ useful if you are trying to persuade someone to do something, rarely works but it will make him laugh

“ Apki marjee ” (aa-p-kee maa-r-jee) - “ as you like , your choice ” useful if you are haggling but don't want to argue.The theory is to make the seller feel a bit guilty, but it doesn't work either, but will raise an eyebrow as it is an Indian saying.


“ Celo celo ” (like the instrument cello) - “ go go !!” Useful for getting the bus/ rickshaw/ taxi moving

  “ Is sangit acha nahi hai ” ( eece sun-git aa-cha nay-he-hen) - “ This music is not good ” Useful for taxi journeys
  “ oooooo ji, bahut mahenge!” (oooooo jee, baa-hot ma-hen-gay) - “oh sir! Very expensive!”
  "Aur sasta dijiye!" (Orrr sa-star dee-jee-yay) - "give it to me cheaper!"
  "Mai acha nahin hain" (May ar-char nay-hee-hen) - "I am not good, feel bad "

“aap kyaa angriez bolta hai” (aa-p hey-yaa an-gree-ez bol-ta hen) - “ do you speak English?”


Photos © Joe Wyand and © Dove E Dove

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