For some in India, the cold winter season and snow are a reason to keep themselves indoors, there are others who know how to unleash their adventurous self by partaking in winter sports in India especially in the Northern Himalayan region of Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir, and Uttarakhand at this time.
If you are one of those who love exploring unknown horizons, winters in India have to offer unending opportunities. The mighty rugged snow-clad Himalayan ranges in India are ideal venues for a number of winter snow activities that can be done during the winter times. Do not forget to pack heavy woolens along with your activity gears.
List of popular winter sports in India:
- Ice Skating
- Snow Sledding
- Ice Climbing
- Ice hockey
Skiing: Winter Sports in India
Probably, skiing is the most popular winter sports in India, visited by skiing enthusiasts from all around the world in huge numbers, every year. Gulmarg, Dayara Bugyal, Auli, Manali, Pahalgam, Sikkim, Shimla, Uttarkhand, Mundali, Munsiyari, and Narkanda are the most famous skiing destinations in India in winter.
Gulmarg and Auli are two of the very popular skiing spots among skiers from all around. If you are a professional, you know the art but if you are an amateur, there are trainers and instructors, who would help you in learning skiing on slopes, ranging from steep to mild. Also, equipment is available for rent on an hourly basis. Skis are connected to the top and heels using bindings. Freestyle skiing, Alpine skiing, and Military skiing are some of the types of skiing that can be done here.
A relatively new winter sport in India, snowboarding is slowly gaining a lot of admiration from adventure seekers. In this activity, a fiberglass board is attached to the rider’s feet, using a special mounted shoe and then you zip down the mountain. The most popular style of snowboarding is the free ride where one slides down from any kind of snow-clad landscape.
Further, freestyle snowboarding is another type of snowboarding where one performs a number of tricks on man-made terrain. Alpine and Boardercross are two other kinds. The activity looks pretty simple but it needs a lot of practice and skill. Balancing the body and correct timings are the most important here. Snowboarding in Auli, Manali (Solang Valley), and Gulmarg is a thrilling affair.
One of the most popular winter sports in India, Ice skating is taken care of by the Ice Skating Association of India. Shimla is a great destination for trying your hand at ice skating. Even an Ice Skating Carnival is organized here every year in January by the ice-skating Club of Shimla. Figure skating and ice hockey are a part of this carnival. Kufri, Auli, Narkanda, Manali, and Gulmarg are the other popular ice skating destinations in India.
Trekking is one of the best winter season activities in India that boasts of several winter trek trails. If you wish to scale and climb up to those snowy paths and peaks, you need to have high fitness levels, tolerance for biting cold and strong willpower. The winter treks in India though are shorter in distance and have low altitudes but in no way means that the treks are easy. Most of the treks are pretty demanding because of the extremely cold weather.
Nevertheless, breathtaking panoramic views of the snow-capped peaks and tranquil wilderness make all this worthy. Kanchenjunga trek, Nanda Devi trek, Winter Kuari Pass Trek, Kedarkantha Winter Trek (Uttarakhand); Chadar Frozen River trek, Chopta Chandrasilla trek, Dodital – Darwa Pass Winter Trek, Parashar Lake, Hampta Pass trek are some of the most sought-after winter treks in India.
Also known as dog-sledding, this is one of the famous winter games in India that involves sitting on a wooden sled and sliding down a snow trail, where the person comes across twists, turns, and bumps. Some people also lie down on their stomachs to make the process easier and then slide down.
Rohtang, Nathatop, Auli, and Gulmarg are some of the popular snow sledding destinations in India. This activity is particularly popular with the newlyweds who head to snow-bound hills during winters for a honeymoon in India.
Probably the most difficult and adventurous winter sport, Ice climbing in India is an activity that involves a lot of courage while climbing up ice walls in subzero temperature but for adventure enthusiasts, this experience is worthwhile. Though it looks the same as rock climbing the skill required is pretty high and the challenge of climbing up on slippery ice walls cannot be explained easily in words.
Proper training is given to the climbers and they need to have enough experience before an actual expedition. Boots, crampons, waterproof garments, ice screws, mittens, goggles, ice ax, hammer attachments and wrist loos are some of the necessary equipment. One arm is used to get higher and you need to maneuver yourself with three limbs. Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh regions offer ice climbing opportunities.
For past some time, ice hockey is gaining a lot of popularity amongst winter sports enthusiasts. A number of ice hockey turfs are coming- up at higher altitudes in India. Though only professional ice hockey players can access most of these turfs tourists can always visit these places and try their hands at this activity. This activity is quite similar to field hockey and is played over a flattened ice area. Shimla, Ladakh, and Kashmir are the best destinations in India for ice hockey enthusiasts. There are a number of indoor ice hockey rinks all across the country.
Alongside this, ice fishing, snow cycling, snow football, and snowballing are some of the other winter sports activities in India. So, as soon as the winter season spreads its white sheet of snow, make sure that you are all set to experience the thrill and excitement of these snow sports in India.
If you are an adventure enthusiast, make sure to plan a winter vacation to one of the famous winter places to try winter sports in India with fellow adventure buffs.