Enter Gulmarg, Exit Switzerland! Heli-skiing staged a come back this year, third time in a row in Gulmarg with all colours.
Heli-skiing is a niche adventure sport in which the skiers drop from the helicopter on the mountain peaks and skid through the slopes to the last point on the ground at Gulmarg. The sport is mostly patronised mostly by the foreigners, particularly those from Australia and New Zealand, who are extreme lovers of skiing and have the required expertise to manoeuvre through the snow covered slopes.
Cheaper rates, lower costs and good facilities give Gulmarg an edge over other European destinations as a ski resort. Plus the world’s highest and Asia’s longest ropeway makes Gulmarg cream-of-the-crop adventure destinations.
“This year the heli-skiing started late (in February) because the permission came late. But next year heli-skiing is definitely going to be a bigger attraction for the foreign tourists”, GA Mir, J&K minister for tourism told DNA.
Heli-skiing operated late by one month this year which impacted the tourist arrivals. Coupled with the cancellation of the bookings post-Afzal Guru hanging, heli-skiing could not attract much of the tourists.
Official figures reveal that last year around 13.11 lakh tourists visited Kashmir Valley. They included 37,000 foreigners which is a record in the last 23 years of turmoil. In 2011, around 1.3 million tourists had visited Kashmir.
What has added another jewel in Gulmarg’s crown is the introduction of hot-air balloon rides.
“We operated hot air ballooning for three months this winter to make Gulmarg a world class adventure destination. There was a lot of rush and lot of enthusiasm among the people,” said Col Dhillon.
IISM is starting second edition of hot air balloon rides from June for the tourists making Gulmarg one of the topnotch destinations in the country and world. “Hot air ballooning stimulates the destination.
Most of the tourists want to take a ride. Even if they do not want to take a ride but they would like to watch it because it makes the destination very attractive,” said Col Dhillon.
What is heli skiing?
Heli-skiing is a niche adventure sport in which the skiers drop from the helicopter on the mountain peaks and skid through the slopes to the last point on the ground at Gulmarg
The sport is mostly patronised by the foreigners, particularly those from Australia and New Zealand, who are lovers of skiing and have the required expertise to maneuver through the snow covered slopes
Learn more about heliskiing- http://www.skiingforever.com/heli-skiing/
Check out best Heli skiing safety & procedure- http://www.luxuryskitrips.com/best_heli_skiing.htm
Look for more heliskiing destination- http://www.canadianmountainholidays.com/heli-skiing/lodges