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Location :
Garhwal, Uttaranchal
Best time for skiing : December End to March
Facilities : Cable car, Ski lift, chair lift, snow beaters

Auli, the winter sport destination, is nestled in the peak of Garhwal hills in the Chamoli district of Uttaranchal. Situated 16 kms from Joshimath, at an altitude of 2895 m, it is one of the most popular ski resorts in India. Auli's 7kms long sloped ranges with an elevation of 500m offers exciting skiing opportunities for both experienced skiers as well as beginners. The beautiful slopes covered with oak and coniferous trees against the backdrop of lofty snow clad mountains, heightens the spirit of the skiers.

Auli can be reached by road or ropeway from Joshimath. Locally called trolley, this 500m long ski-lift system which is the longest cable car in Asia, connects Joshimath with Gorson, above Auli. A short distance beyond Gorson lies the hill of Gorson Top, which provides an excellent view of the giant mountain peaks like Nanda Devi, Kamet and Dunagiri. From Gorson, an 800m long chair lift travels to the base lodge that marks the starting point for all the ski runs. It is Auli's only chair lift that connects the lower slopes with the upper slopes. From there, the skiers can ski down to enjoy almost 20 km of virgin slopes of the unexplored terrain and others can walk down through the snow capped paths. Sliding down on skis at a speed of 20-40 Kms per hour, provide a thrilling experience.

Skiing and Tourist resort, run by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN), provides accommodation as well as all other facilities to the tourist. It has two snow-beaters imported from Germany which beat the snow to keep the slopes fit for skiing at all times.

Auli is the venue of the Indian winter games. This skierís paradise is an active destination for the ski enthusiasts. GMVN offers fortnight-long skiing courses for amateurs. This includes a 7 day non-certificate course and 14 days certificate skiing courses by qualified instructors from Skiing and Tourist Resorts, Auli and Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering, Gulmarg. These courses are conducted from the month of January to March. Special provisions for day tourists are also available. 

All the skiing equipment are available with GMVN on hire including the most modern alpine skis, Nordic skis, gloves and goggles. As the weather of Auli is really chilled, tourists are advised to bring woolen clothing, socks, wind-proof jackets etc. Medical facilities, microwave telephones, wireless sets and walkie-talkies are also available. Another option for accommodation is the Cliff Top Club Resort.

Auli's slopes are ideal for hosting skiing festivals and competitions of national and international standards. Winter games Federation of India organises championships in February or March, which adds charm to the experience of the adventure seekers. Apart from skiing, other attractions of Auli includes cable car rides, rope lifts and wonderful views of Himalayan peaks like Nanda Devi (7817 m), Mana Parbat (7273 m), Drona Giri, Trishuli, Hathi Ghora etc.

Accommodation and facilities:

Skiing and Tourist resort run by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN), provides accommodation including deluxe rooms, dorms etc and vegetarian meals, in Auli.
Cable car : General Operation Timings: 8:00 am to 6:50 pm (May to October), 8:00 am to 5:10 pm (November to April).
Ski lift : Operational Months: January to March

How to get there : 

Air: The nearest airport is at Jolly Grant near Dehradun which is about 273 km from Joshimath.

Rail: The nearest railheads are Haridwar (about 299km from Auli) and Dehradun. One can take the Dehradun Shatabdi Express to reach Rishikesh. Joshimath is about 250 km from Rishikesh

Road: Auli is about 16 kms drive from Joshimath. From Joshimath one can hire jeeps through the PWD road to Auli, but the roads are closed after dusk. The most popular way to drop in at Auli is by the famed cable car service. State transport and union buses ply regularly between Joshimath and Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and Delhi. Joshimath is a 10 hour drive from Delhi



Deep down in every skierís subconscious is the desire, once in a lifetime, to make tracks in virgin snow on the most mythical mountains on earth, where the abominable snowman is more than a legend.Manali is a hot spot for Heli Skiing organised by Himachal Heli Skiing (HHS) since 1989. Hanuman Tibba, Deo Tibba, Chanderkhani Pass and Rohtang Pass near Manali are known for their high peaks, thus forming a perfect destination for Heli-skiers with experience. Powerful helicopters including Bell 407, AS 315B Lama and AS 350B3 Squirrel carry the skiers to the top of a 14000 feet high snow draped slope within ten minutes. They are accompanied by internationally-certified heli-ski guides who are experts in snow safety, rescue techniques and mountain travel. After the ascend by helicopter Skiers and Snowboarders can have a thrilling ride down to the deep valleys through changing terrain, steep slopes and through trees in a wide variety of conditions. Mostly Skiing is done in high valley floors over 2000 mts through Cedar forests and long rolling ridges over four thousand metres high, in clearings between birch and oak forests. The terrain offers skiing facilities sometimes as high as 5000 mts with vertical averaging between nine hundred metres and twelve hundred metres.

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>> February 8, 2010 7:09 PM

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UPDATED: February 8, 2010 7:09 PM