A winter date with the Auli slopes - A winter sports resort

A winter date with the Auli slopes - A winter sports resort

Over the past two years, the Gar­hwal Man­dal Vikas Nigam of Uttar Pra­desh has developed Auli, (which is situ­ated above back-​of-​beyond Joshi­math) as a winter sports resort. The GMVN organ­ises 7-​and 15-​day ski courses for begin­ners and advanced learners between the months of Decem­ber and March.

A typ­ical day dur­ing one of these ski-​courses begins with a knock on the dorm­it­ory door early in the morn­ing. Two kit­chen hands walk in and wake every­body up with mugs of hot tea, which they pour out of a huge dek­chi . On rising, the first view to greet one is from the win­dow of the bukhari-​cum-​common room -a spec­tac­u­lar pan­or­ama of the glisten­ing snow-​peaks of the Bad­rinath, the Hathi and Guri Par­bat ranges, and sev­eral unnamed peaks.

By 6:30 am everybody assembles in the dining hut for breakfast and wasting no time, skis, ski​sticks, goggles, ski​boots and other paraphernalia are collected and the climb Auli Slopes upwards for the ski​slopes begins. At the peak of winter, the slopes commence at the doorstep itself, but as summer sets in, a considerable climb is involved in getting to the slopes. Reaching the slopes, each one dons skis and boots and separates into batches with each instructor.

The first day sees one unsteadily skidding down gentle slopes with the ski bindings loosely attached so that they would detach the skis from the boots when under tension. The instructors drill in the basic lesson – to fall and to fall the right way. After lots of slipping, falling and getting wet, one gets inured to walking on skis, progressing next to taking on gentle and then not ​too gentle slopes and falling when wanting to stop.

The snow plough comes next. In this, one learns how to control speed while on a slope and also come to a halt within a few seconds. Next, one takes on the excitingly steep slope of Monkey Top to come swishing down at breakneck speed under the close supervision of the well-​trained instructors.

Every day, the group is taken to a more advanced slope and taught a new technique. Skiing, finishes by fore​noon after which one is free to explore the lower meadow lands and forests and indulge in one’s own passion — be it flower ​collecting, bird ​watching, peak ​watching, photography, trekking, sledging on jackets, snow-​ball fighting or snow​man ​making!

Later in the evening, dinner is accompanied by a movie and then one invariably returns to the dormitory to fall flat into a sleeping bag, tired and content!

 

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