Gone are the days when people used to watch insane sportspersons doing backcountry skiing on wild mountains at far flung areas, as with luring snowy jungles and slopes; Manali is introducing itself as one of the best backcountry skiing region in the world.
India has some ski slopes in Auli, Gulmarg, Kufri and Manali where newbie and other skiers can enjoy the skiing on controlled atmosphere but backcountry skiing is completely different which is done on unpatrolled and unmarked areas, mostly between the trees. Till now, backcountry skiing was the part of winter games only in Canada, Europe and Germany, but now the jungles of Manali are witnessing the scrum of domestic and international daring skiers.
“Manali, where most of the snowy area with good slopes is under tree cover, is best location for those who want to test their degree of fear along with viewing of the breathtaking views of untouched snow covered woods,” backcountry skiing promoter in Manali Kapil Negi said. “I and my friends have been exploring every inch of the snow covered mountains in Manali for last four years and every time we get the better and challenging slope,” he said.
Pack the luggage, tight your ski shoes, wear a windcheater and pick up the skis and start the uphill journey on untouched snows to gain good elevation according to your courage. Most of the people in India do only alpine and cross country style skiing on slopes under the supervision of experts but some adventure enthusiasts are taking advantage of the abundance of snow in wilderness. Several Asians too were visiting Canada and European countries for this unique game, but some tourists who have already scaled the mountains in Manali are fascinated by its slopes and wild beauty.
“I had never imagined of such unforgettable days in Manali mountains in winters with backcountry skiing with my new local friends,” an Italian skier Aciscolo said who is visiting Manali for the second time. “Manali has all types of slopes for off-piste (backcountry) skiing that can give tough challenge to those in Europe. I’m planning to visit some more slopes with my friends next winter.”
Local youths who have been earning worldwide fame with their skiing skills said very few tourists know about the backcountry skiing in India and government should promote this game to draw more tourists to the country. “Almost all foreign tourists do off-piste heli-skiing in Himachal. They do not know about real backcountry fun. I’ve compared our domestic slopes with the European’s which are second to none,” said Ravi Thakur, an adventure enthusiast from Manali who is doing backcountry skiing here after doing it in Europe.
Backcountry skiing is famous for its all-purpose qualities. Generally, it consists of trekking, wildlife, camping, photography and skiing. Depending on the weather conditions, backcountry skiing could last for many days but special care it need to be taken from the hidden dangers associated with snow and mountains.