|The group learns essential route-finding skills from |
the lofty heights of Gulmarg Gondola
We were expecting some snow in that last week of instruction. We wouldn't even have been surprised if we'd had a whole meter of snowfall. What we got though, was four solid days of heavy snow fall, fat flakes drifting from above until we began to believe they would never stop. Gulmarg townsite accumulated 210cm of snow in four days. The gondola remained unable to open as big avalanches thundered down the upper mountain.
|Enjoying the beauty of heavy snowfall in Gulmarg|
Luckily Gulmarg is well-equipped with close-to-town ski routes, so the boys became experts at navigating the steep, ungroomed slopes and dense trees on Monkey Hill, stopping off at our hut on each lap to warm up with chai and biscuits.
|Studying snow layers with Colin|
We also were lucky to have Colin Mitchell, Head of Snow Safety in Gulmarg, give us a private avalanche awareness class one afternoon.
The beauty and magic of heavy snow wove its spell over all of us, and the days of storm passed in a whirl of laughter.
All too soon, it was time for the Zanskar group to leave Gulmarg and begin their long trek home. After difficult conditions on the Chadur (ice river) on the outward journey, Urgain was keen to book the boys seats on the military helicopter that sometimes assists locals with their journey to and from the regional capital, Leh. With this assistance the entire party made it safely and without complications back home, where they are regaling others with tales of their adventure, and preparing to share their new knowledge with other students of the Zanskar Ski School.
|It was a great honour to be involved in this project, and I'd like to extend thanks to everyone involved for helping to make it happen.|