One of the very few places in India where skiing is a major pastime is Auli in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttaranchal. Auli tourism is driven by skiers from all over who travel to the hill station located 200 km north of Srinagar during the skiing season from November to March. Apart from a descent of half a kilometre from the ridge over a stretch of 3 km, the steep snow-covered slopes of Auli provide exciting clear snow grades of up to 20 km for skiers. There is a 500 m long ski-lift and an 800 m long chair-lift linking the upper and lower slopes. Some snow beaters and snow-packing machines maintain the smoothness of the slopes. As there are ample opportunities for cross-country, slalom and down-hill types of events, Auli plays host to National Skiing Championships and Winter Games.
The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) offers a fortnight-long skiing course for the amateurs. Besides amateur skiing, there are courses for beginners and professionals too. Skiing equipment is also available.
Auli offers a splendid panaorma of several Himalayan peaks such as Nandadevi, Mana parvat, Nilkantha, and Hathi – Gauri Parvat. To reach Auli, there is a winding mountainous 18 km road from Joshimath. However, during winter, this road is snow-blocked and the cablecar (ropeway) has to be used. The ropeway is possibly Asia’s longest cablecar system having a length of about 5 km strung across 10 pillars. The ropeway ride in the winter is really an amazing experience you will cherish for long. While skiing is the prime attraction at Auli, there are other tourist attractions / distractions as well. The experience of nature’s beauty, the virgin slopes and the whistling wind make the trip to Auli really exciting. In addition, the place is flanked by some interesting excursions nearby, not to forget the highest man-made lake in the world!
Before Auli was developed as a ski resort, its slopes were the training grounds for the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force.