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Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recently relaxed its guidelines, from advising no travel within the area, to avoiding travel in rural areas. And the luxury hotel chain, the Taj, has recently opened the five-star Dal View in the capital, Srinagar, indicating the country’s recovering tourism industry. In Gulmarg, there are many heavenly


descents to choose from, on and off piste. Here the mountain offers four hours of fresh tracks down to picturesque Himalayan villages. And while you may not get an après-ski beer, a delicious Dum-aloo, potato curry and spiced Kahwa tea will more than make up for it.


BEST TIME TO GO: November and December LEVEL: Advanced skiiers and boarders GETTING THERE: Eight nights (six nights in Gulmarg and one each in Srinagar and Delhi) costs from £1,586 per person based on two sharing. This includes return flights from Heathrow, transfers, accommodation, food and mountain guides. Book with Indus Tours (www.industours.co.uk)


take time out to enjoy the local delicacies – caviar with a glass of ice cold Russian bubbly or vodka – while relaxing in the natural hot springs. Come 2014, Russia will also be hosting the


Winter Olympics, so you could even combine a trip with some great winter sports viewing.


BEST TIME TO GO: March to May LEVEL: Intermediate/advanced GETTING THERE: Seven nights costs from £4,800 per person based on two sharing, excluding flights. This includes heli-skiing with guides, safety equipment, accommodation and breakfast. Book with Elemental Adventures (www.eaheliskiing.com)


ALYESKA ALASKA You never need worry about a lack of snowfall here: this North American state has the world’s highest average snowfall – around 60ft a year. Add death-defying vertical descents and it’s no wonder the ski and board fraternity flock here. While Alaska is well known for heli-skiing,


here at Alyeska, named after the 2,300ft Mount Alyeska under which it nestles, you can access 73 pistes from one of its nine lifts. And that is not to mention all the backcountry – the perfect playground for the advanced skier or boarder.


Alyeska is only 40 miles from Anchorage airport, making for short transit times, yet it is still seriously remote, creating an ‘I can’t believe my luck’ atmosphere. Plus, you could get lucky and spy the kaleidoscopic Aurora Borealis.


BEST TIME TO GO: February and March LEVEL: Intermediate/advanced GETTING THERE: 10 nights at the Hotel Alyeska costs from £1,865 per person based on two sharing. This includes return flights and transfers from Heathrow. Book with Ski World (www.skiworld.ltd.uk)


GULMARG KASHMIR Nestled under the majestic Mount Apharwat in the Himalayas, Gulmarg is a mecca for veteran skiiers and boarders. There are acres of deep powder, with some of the biggest ‘dumps’ in the world – so you never have to worry about bare patches – and with just 100 visitors a day, making fresh tracks on piste and off is guaranteed. The scarcity of winter tourists is partly


due to Gulmarg’s remoteness, but also because it lies near the disputed India/Pakistan border. This means that it’s not unusual to spot soldiers sporting AK47s, although no Western tourists have been affected since 1995. Indeed, the


ARPA CHILE Warm rivers, Chilean red wine and deep, untracked powder: what’s not to like? Chile offers challenging terrain for the advanced skier and boarder, and one of its real gems is Ski Arpa, a new resort recently ranked as one of the world’s best, which uses snow cats to summit the mountains in the absence of ski lifts. At the top you can see east to South America’s highest peak, Cerro Aconcagua, and west to the Pacific Ocean. And down? A 3,000ft vertical drop through deep, fluffy white powder. Renowned for its volcanoes, the Pacific Rim


of Fire, you will get to experience the Chillán Volcano rumbling beneath you before you start your descent down its side. And maybe best of all: their season runs in our summer, offering all-year-round skiing for the truly addicted.


BEST TIME TO GO: July to early September LEVEL: Intermediate/advanced GETTING THERE: Nine days costs from about £2,579 per person based on two sharing, excluding flights. This includes accommodation, meals, wine, guiding and lift passes. Book with Powder Quest (www.powderquest.com) n


RACHAEL WOOLSTON is businesslife.co’s Travel Editor


February/March 2012 businesslife.co 63


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