Friday, 5 March 2010

Another epic day at Gulmarg, Kashmir and the Kiwis beat the Aussies watched by an injured powder hound!

After more snow we were back to that usual feeling of ‘Gondola Opening Anticipation’! The snow had consolidated somewhat and it meant the avalanche control crew could ski cut rather than having to bomb on this occasion. The day before I was mucking about at the Gondola bottom station trying to stick a rail that was a small bridge with some exposure – unfortunately the rail got the better of me and resulted in some badly bruised/ if not cracked ribs, back and arm – that’ll remind me that I’m a powderhound and not a park rat!

Dosed up on 4 large Ibprufens through the day and the 2nd phase was open just before 12pm. Being a Gulmarg Season’s Pass holder allows you the privilege to go to the front of the queue for your first run. It’s worth the 25,000 Rupees just for those golden few times to claim pole position in Gondola number 1, albeit being quite expensive as far as international standards go! And again I claimed that position and beat my mates to drop into the main gondola bowl first! It was fast silky, smooth chalky goodness. I managed 6 runs off the top finishing in an Afferwat Summit and skiing 5th bowl and the singing trees. We had some Kingfisher Premiums to wash down our Bakshi Burgers and mull over a sweet day, before jumping in a jeep to get over to the Avalanche Talk, held at Pine Palace on the Gondola side of strawberry valley. It’s always a very infomatitive catch up with the local crew and newcomers for that week. It gives a great overview of what’s going down and a perspective of how the mountain works and of course some great insights into Avalanche awareness from a localised point of view!

I decided to pull in a rest day after this epic and nurse my bloody sore ribs – coincidentally it was the first One Day International cricket match between New Zealand and arch rivals Australia playing in Napier. I kicked back all day and watched the action as the balance tipped back and forwards throughout the match. The Kiwis got there in the end winning by 2 wickets and 5 balls to spare – a close one indeed! I also won 150 ruppees from the locals, but they’ll have a chance to win those back as the Aussies are reknowned for their tenancious abilities to come back. C’mon the Kiwis and we’re looking forward to another 2nd phase opening Friday arvo or Saturday for sure!

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