Adventure skiing usually involves steep slopes and challenging terrain, not armed soldiers and disputed
territories. Yet, this is exactly what journalist Tam Leach potentially faced when he traveled to one of the more dangerous places on this
planet, Kashmir, to do a little skiing.
Skiing is certainly not the first thing you think of when you hear the word Kashmir. Some think of sweaters,
others think of Led Zeppelin. I think about the six backpackers kidnapped a few years ago, a couple of which
ended up beheaded.
Kashmir, however, is so much more than this. Located in the Himalayas between India and Pakistan (and thus
the root of the armed conflict over the region) Kashmir is beautiful, mystic country that becomes covered in snow
during wintertime. It is also home to the world’s highest gondola at 13,400ft.
Leach discovers phenomenal skiing here at a resort called Gulmarg. I’m not a huge skier myself, but his
description of the slopes and conditions are enough to make me travel half way around the world to engage in a little
adventure skiing. Leach falls in love with the place, yearning after his return home for “the powder, for
the starry Himalayan skies, for the sensation of skiing close to the top of the world.” But it is not just
the skiing. Unlike most ski holidays, he actually has a deeply cultural experience interacting with the
natives. His greatest desire is to simply return and drink tea with them once again.
Now that’s a great vacation.