Ski + Snowboard

Ski Vacations for Beach Lovers

by Sarah Tuff

Kashmir, India

Chill out: India isn't all visiting ashrams and practicing asanas, people. It's also floating through the bone-dry powder of Kashmir on a snowboard or a pair of skis. It's alighting from the world's highest gondola, at 13,400 feet, and gaping at views of K2 in the distance. And it's all possible at Gulmarg, a resort in the Pir Panjals founded by British Army officers in 1927. Though much of the terrain is intermediate to expert, beginners will find some gentle stuff off the lower lifts. Be prepared for rustic lodging, avalanches, and the possibility of political skirmishes (a good reason to go with a tour company, like Gulmarg Powder Guides). The payoff? Having a ski area like Whistler all to yourself.

Heat things up: Après-ski takes on a whole new meaning when you're floating among flowering lilies, sipping on kahwah green tea. In the capital of Srinagar, 35 miles from Gulmarg, a mini village of opulent houseboats bobs on Dal Lake, interspersed with bridges. Introduced by the British in the early 1900s, the houseboats are hand-carved from cedar and outfitted with chandeliers, tiled baths, and three or four bedrooms apiece. Because the Dal is shrinking, the boats are threatened, so you'll want to go soon…. March, by the way, is the ideal time to hit the powder of Gulmarg and the warmth of the lake.

Gulmarg Powder Guides
Tel: 91 94 19 91 83 10
Rates from $150

Houseboats of Kashmir
Boulevard Road, opposite Nehru Park
Srinagar, India
Tel: 91 194 2453585
Rates from $70

Next: Snow and sand in biblical proportions >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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