Skiing in Auli

Auli is India’s ski destination. It’s at an altitude of 3300 meters at the base, and touches 3800m at the peaks, it has the right ski infrastructure - ski lifts and chair cars, and even a ropeway certified by a Swiss cable car agency, it has the perfect ski slopes - slopes where India can host International winter games, half of them man-made, the other half natural slopes, and oak forests all around preventing greatly the possibility of avalanches.
It really is a perfect ski destination.

EXCEPT, THERE IS NO SNOW!

We humans have messed this world up. It isn’t snowing during the months it should, and when it does the snow contains too much water for the snow to last till Summer begins, causing muddy slush everywhere you walk. During the 1970’s, Auli used to receive an average of 10 feet snow every year. Till 2010, it reduced to about 2-3 feet of snow on the ski slopes. During this period, the Uttarakhand government set up all the ski infrastructure and made international level slopes hoping that we’d soon host winter games in our nation. Finally when the time came to host them in 2018, the games had to be rescheduled thrice between Dec and Feb, and were finally cancelled because there was exactly 0 (read, zero) feet snow on those slopes. All the artificial snow creating machines wouldn’t be enough to host the games.

We were lucky that higher up in Gulshan Valley (pronounced Gorson in the local language, Gadhwali - very anglicized I say!) there was still about a feet or two of snow left. For the entire week that we were there, we had to hike about 2km from the highest point of the ski lift (called T10 as it’s the 10th and terminus tower of the ropeway) with our skis and boots on our backs on the slippery, slushy region through a dense forest. As a daily routine this was very exhausting - we’d drain most of our energy by the time we reached the Gorson base, but what was worse comes next. Because there’s no ski infrastructure in Gorson, for every round of skiing down a slope, we’d spend about 10-30 minutes climbing back up to some peak to ski down again - carrying our skis on our backs and wearing those extremely heavy boots every time!

I learnt to ski quite well in the 6 days that we were there - but I credit this to my experience in Switzerland as a child and my love for roller skating. I skied down Gorson peak, to Tower 10 - a total of 2.5km without stopping! This was a one km stretch to the base of Gorson that’d take about 45 seconds, and another 1.5km maneuvering very carefully down the forest through the sides where there still was snow, and this usually took 10-15 minutes.

Skiing Aftermovie - Auli 2018

If you’re going skiing in Auli, pray to the Gods it snows!

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