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SKIING in India seems an oxymoron. Travellers expect heat, dust and humidity. But, occasionally, you can throw some snow into the mix. Up north, there’s this region called Kashmir. Yeah, there used to be a war of sorts on, but someone forgot to tell the chaps in the tiny hill resort of Gulmarg, 40-odd kilometres from the capital, Srinagar. There, they went and built the northern hemisphere’s highest gondola ski lift. Reaching a lung-shrivelling 4,200m (taller than most alpine peaks), it's high enough for your average, middle-of-the-rung snowboarder like me.

Getting off the plane in Srinagar is interesting. Blast-protected hangars for fighters line the runway and soldiers watch your every move. Photography is prohibited at the airport. We might all be foreign secret agents. You never know. The port and starboard views from the plane are pretty amazing. Just like the view from the top of the gondola station in Gulmarg. It is stupendous. Mind-boggling. Dizzying. I could throw a Roget’s Thesaurus full of adjectives at you, but they’d still be mildly inadequate. On the crystalline horizon are the Nanga Parbat and Nun Kun peaks and I even thought I spotted the great K2 on the Pakistan-China border.

While Gulmarg is an all-weather resort with refreshing summer meadows and pastoral scenes to keep the camera busy, the main reason to come here, at least in winter, is the off-piste, deep-powder, long-run skiing and snowboarding. The Himalayan resort of Gulmarg is one of the newest and increasingly popular ski destinations – so new that of the 70-odd foreign travellers who were there during my visit, at least a third were media people extolling its virtues to everyone back home. (And enjoying a free holiday in the process, of course).

The ski resort of Gulmarg is remarkably easy to access, especially compared to other Himalayan resorts and hill stations such as Manali in Himachal Pradesh. In terms of travel time, it’s pretty much three hours from Delhi. All major airlines have daily flights from Delhi to Srinagar. The flight takes an hour and 15 minutes. From Srinagar, a prepaid taxi will get you to the twinkling lights of the small Gulmarg ski resorts, 45km away (one-and-a-half hours by car).