Saturday, June 12, 2010


(The following is a post at that might as well serve as wrap-up for the winter season Gulmarg '09/10).

In honor of your greatness.

This URL deserves some straight pimpin' - these photos are some of the finest I've seen from Gulmarg:
[Quote: Action Goat]...for those who are interested in pics, go to, go to the client login, and enter gulmarg as the username and skiforum as the password.
After a very poor start to the season, 3 metres fell in the week before arrival; the result was an avalanche that thundered down one of the bowls, killing 17 soldiers stationed nearby...
There's no question December & January both recorded the poorest snowfalls in recent Gulmarg skiing history. Late January photo by Francois Lefebvre:

Typical winter weather did not arrive until 3 February, but then it was Game On! The first of three successive fronts in a powtacular February storm cycle:

Sadly, all that snow came with a heavy price, the death of 17 Indian Army soldiers. The path of the fatal 8 February avalanche at Gulmarg is depicted below:

Tragedy might have been averted had the advisories of the Gulmarg Snow Safety team (GSS) been more seriously heeded by the Indian Army. No tourists were included among the dead, largely because few or none were in the danger zone, but perhaps also because the magnitude of the danger had been successfully impressed upon them by the GSS. Furthermore, most, if not all, of the skiing tourists at Gulmarg had witnessed first-hand a massive, deliberately triggered slide in the Main Bowl of the "resort" only one week earlier. You can see the in-bounds slide of 30 January on this video at YouTube: Gulmarg Avalanche.

Here is a photo of the 8 February search & rescue (SAR):

[Quote: Action Goat] Taxman, one thing has changed from two years ago apparently: crowds. i kept hearing the lines were longer this season than ever before. that said, that only seemed to be true in Feb. From the beginning of March, the place just died. everyone cleared out. Lines on the gondola became virtually non-existant.
You're not kidding. This is the gondola line-up on 7 March, and if there were twice this many people on the hill that day I'll eat mutton balls.

[Quote: Action Goat]...Timed the snow perfectly – I often heard that the first week we were there was the best of the season so far...
Goat, you left the meadow too soon.
The day you posted this magnificence your old pals were spraying loads all over the hill: multiple snowgasms. You know that old surf jibe: "You should've been here yesterday..." Well mate, you should have stayed until tomorrow, because that's when it got epic. You pulled the pin too early in a textbook case of premature evacuation.

Here goes, the 8th of March. Photos by Tim Silverwood (AU):

This madness went on for a week. It was still good on 12 May when we shot this short video. I'm clueless on the embed, so here is the link to the video at YouTube: TR GULMARG '09/10 - ONE SPRING DAY.

Independent filmmakers Anthony Bonello (AU) and Will Lascelles (US) spent three months in Kashmir, mainly at Gulmarg, making a film to present at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Here is the director & his TRAILER:

Mid-March the sun arrived and never left. Powder receded, remaining only in north-facing aspects up high, and the "crowd" evaporated. It became spooky: Hard to find ride partners, and one could sit at the top-station for a half-hour and no one would come off the gondola.

With the longer days a freeze-thaw cycle set up some corntastic spring conditions a person could have lapped for weeks, virtually alone on the hill. In fact, Kiwi Tim did just that. Last man standing. The rest of us left town and headed for Srinagar, where we got a great reception:

[Quote: Action Goat] Kashmiris are incredibly friendly, except perhaps when they’re throwing rocks at cops in Srinagar – the city got shut down several times while we were there...
Then all hell broke loose:

GUK - 21 February: Street riots greet Kashmir peace talks.
BBC - 15 March: India soldier killed in Srinagar grenade blast.
AFP - 16 March: One dead in shooting at Srinagar market.
BBC - 2 April: Kashmir railway blown up by separatists.
IBN - 3 April: 16 militants among 22 killed in Kashmir.
NYT - 20 June: Mine kills 9 in Indian Army in Kashmir.

Time to GTFO. Photo of stone-pelters in Srinagar by Fayaz Kabli/Reuters; photo of the 16 March Srinagar shooting from the BBC:

[Quote: Heinz] As Taxman has said doesn't sound like much as changed and in that part of the world progress is likely to remain slow.
Rumor has it construction has finally begun on a new chairlift at Gulmarg first announced nearly one year ago, 30 June 2009: GULMARG '09/10 - Gulmarg To Get New Chairlift.

Please support Gulmarg Snow Safety. A summary of snow safety issues for Gulmarg '09/10 was prepared by Brian Newman, GSS leader, in the Gulmarg End of Season Report.

Action Goat I bow to thee, your photos are:

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