Picture this – Green meadows as far as your eyes can see, skirted by snow capped mountains in the distance and epic valley views. Like the picture I painted for you? Well then, you need to visit Auli. This was my first scene that unfurled in front of me when I visited valley. And I can safely say, it was love at first sight.
A little reference as to where you were before Joshimath? I had arrived at Kund via Hardiwar for a trip to the lower Himalayas in Uttarakhand and was ready to hit my second destination, Auli. As soon as we crossed Joshimath, the views of the towering Himalayan peaks like – Chaukhambha , Hathi- Ghoda & Dronagiri, started painting a perfect postcard right in front of my eyes. The views moved from awesome to awe-inspiring and finally ‘peaked’ as we arrived at Himalayan eco lodge.
I simply could not get enough of the stunning landscapes in front of me – easily visible from my veranda. I spent more time at the porch with a cup of coffee in one hand and my camera in other, than inside my room. Watching the ever changing colors of the sun-kissed, snow covered peaks while trying to decipher bird species that fluttered away around me, was an extremely joyful experience.
However, the best was yet to come…
My sole purpose of adding Auli to my adventure with Great Indian Outdoors was to try skiing (once again). The only other time I tried it was very briefly in Gulmarg, several years ago and I was ready for a refresher course.
Skiing in Auli
Before getting to Auli, I wasn’t even sure if I will have the chance to ski but GIO team arranged everything for me and I was assured I could ski and that it would be worth my while and it sure was. This sounds a little vague. Say something to te effect that the snow Gods had played spoil sport, so I was expecting to see only snow-topped mountains and not be anywhere close. But one morning, I woke up to a sheet of white all around me.
To be honest, March end isn’t the very best time for skiing in Auli. Even though Auli is an year round destination, skiing mostly depends on snow *duh*! January is considered the best month but I had a great experience in March as it wasn’t too busy and well, I was lucky there was enough snow to ski.
I was accompanied by two guides from GIO and we got into a chair lift to head to number 10 (the area which had remnants of previous day’s snowfall). The chair lift ride was only a few minutes but highly recommended as you can get bird eye views of the Auli valley. Priced at just Rs 300 per person for a round trip, it is well worth your while to buy a ticket.
My Second Skiing Experience
Since my first skiing lesson was several years ago, I needed to learn from scratch. I rented out a snow suit, leather ski gloves and snow boots (felt like an astronaut) and hiked up for around 20 minutes before we reached our designated ‘ski spot’.
Hiking in snow with your big snow boots and heavy ski gear is no easy task (Coming back down was much easier as I just slid all the way).
Anyways, we reached the point and finally started my ski lessons down a small slope. Needless to say, I fell immediately. Not once or twice but many times. I realized how skiing is so much like anything you do in your life – anything you want to succeed at. You need to keep trying till you can stand tall.. and remove the fear of failure, that’s the only way to succeed.. and ski!
It was only when I felt confident and started enjoying falling in the snow is when I could stay put till the end.
It was an absolute blast and we could actually ski for as long as we wanted. We lasted around 2 hours and were drained after that. Still took some time out for random photos around the area.
Here’s a video of how I fell, got up and skied and skied till I could well.. ski.
My Video of Skiing in Auli for the First time
Have you ever tried skiing in Auli? If not, I would highly recommend turning your ski mode on in the stunning landscapes of this quaint hill town of India.