For us, winter maybe limited to shivering on the way to work and burrowing in our quilts later, but it really need not be so. For those craving some adventure and a white winter, there are plenty of snow sports in the country to invoke a sense of thrill and wonder.
Skiing is without doubt one of the most popular snow sport in the world. Enjoyed by many, it is gaining momentum in India too, and people seem to be flocking to the hills to try their hand at it. Shimla is one such place. Others include Sikkim, Gulmarg in Kashmir and Uttarakhand (Munsiyari is particularly famous for it). This is a sport that requires training, and luckily, professionals are readily available.
Mountaineering in summer is one thing, and another in winter. The stakes are much higher with ice-laden, brittle and slippery peaks and edges, and the gut-wrenching cold. An increasingly popular sport in the country, ice climbing requires a fit body and mind and some training beforehand. There are many spots in Kashmir for people to try this activity out - for instance, Pir Panjal, and Suru, Zanskar or Stok in Ladakh. Apart from these, Nanda Devi in Uttarakhand and Kanchendzonga in Sikkim is a must-try too.
The snow-topped peaks in India are perfect for sledging. The activity looks simple, after all, you are only supposed to sit on the sledge (or lie down) and be pushed down. But the trick is to manoeuvre through the bumps and turns by using your body weight to avoid ramming into something or toppling off. Head to Gulmarg in Kashmir, Rohtang in Himachal Pradesh or to Auli in Uttarakhand for a ride through snow.
Ice skating is a sport that fits in well with our dream of a winterscape. When you are bundled up and warm, head to a flattened ice rink and try your hand (um, feet) at this sport. Remember, balance is key. Other than that, it is pretty much like roller skating and absolute fun. The best place to start out would be Shimla, though Ladakh and Kashmir have many rinks on offer too.
Ice hockey may not hold the same rank as the rest of the sports in the country, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. The game is similar to hockey and is played on flattened ice rinks. There are several ways to enjoy the game - you can head to Ladakh, Kashmir or even Shimla to see a few professional games. Or you can find smaller turfs where people will let you participate too.