In our 8th winter, Kashmir Powdercats mountain hosting programme will run on a weekly/fortnightly basis from Christmas 2013 through to March 2014.
“To the best of our knowledge and belief Ski Himalaya’s Kashmir Powdercats are among the best guides, and easily the most comprehensively trained Kashmiri indigenous guiding team in Gulmarg. Half of our guides have been with us since the first winter the gondola opened (2005/2006) and the rest of the current team have been with us for 5 or more winters.
Whilst team training has been a feature of Ski Himalaya since inception, a more disciplined approach to guide safety training was adopted after February 2007, when founder Peter and guest snowboarder Alan were most blessed to survive an avalanche, that had carried them a linear mile, down a nullah on Mt Apharwhat’s north-west shoulder.
For the following 3 winters (2008, 2009 and 2010) all members of our 2012/2013 team benefited from training, mentoring and leadership of David Watson, an American pro-patroller. Dave’s off-snow mountaineering experience extends to two successful summits of Mt Everest. Dave was flown from North America and employed by Ski Himalaya for the purpose of inculcating a strong appreciation of snow safety and rescue skills in our team.
Jim Gelder, who currently oversees our annual refresher training programme (in which all of our guides, however experienced, participate) is an ski industry professional who originally visited Gulmarg with Ski Himalaya as a guest in 2008. Jim returned briefly in the 2011 winter to assist our team, before undertaking a full time role over the past 2013 winter.
While some guests may prefer to limit their hours with us on a day by day basis according to weather conditions, signing up with us provides you "insurance" of access to great riding in almost any weather conditions.
Riding with Kashmir Powdercats ensures you have access, in good and bad weather, to our return road transport from the off-piste routes which descend below Gulmarg to the floor of the Tangmarg valley. This includes Gulmarg's classic off-piste full descents from Mt Apharwat towards Sunset Peak and the village of Drang, and the forested descents from Gulmarg to the Baba Reshi road and other points in the Tangmarg valley.
While Stage One of the gondola offers protected riding in bad weather, the forested descents from Gulmarg to the valley floor significantly broaden your range of options in bad weather. Riding the forest terrain below Gulmarg with Kashmir Powdercats is a much better "storm" alternative than catching up on your reading while waiting for the weather to pass and the reopening of Stage Two of the gondola!
Our vehicles, all equipped with snow-chains for mountain driving, are co-ordinated by two way radio to expedite transport pick-ups and maximise your time on the snow.
Throughout your stay in Gulmarg you also have the benefit of our Kashmiri
local knowledge of terrain and snow conditions.
This coming winter we will be resourced to handle a maximum of seven groups at any one time. Groups will be arranged on a flexible basis, but with a primary goal of ensuring that everyone rides in a common level skill group.
The Kashmir Powdercats, all English speaking, have been selected by our Director of Guest Services, Mr Bashir Ahmad, for their team work, common sense, and integrity. Daily riding options and transport connections are planned according to prevailing weather and snow conditions.
Please contact us for Kashmir Powdercats’ 2013/2014 winter rates.
©Copyright, Peter Robinson, Ski Himalaya