Whenever we think of winter sports, our heads first turn to the Swiss Alps or the many peaks of Alaska. Somehow we tend to miss the entirety of North India. It is home to some of the highest peaks in the world, it receives a lot of snowfall, and it is right here!
That being said, we do realize that a wide variety of winter sports might not be something India is most famous for. Well, we think it should be, considering there are quite a few aggregators of multiple snow sports. If you look in the right spot, you’ll find them offering top-of-the-line facilities. Don't believe us? Check out these 7 winter sports that you must try in India!
This sport started off as a novelty but is making its way into being a hobby sport, especially in the higher parts of India. Ice Hockey is very similar to field hockey, in the sense that two teams try to score points against each other by shooting pucks into the opposing team's goalpost. It is played on a flat playing field with every match having a decided time.
If you want to try your hand at this sport, we recommend you to visit Kashmir, Shimla, or Ladakh as you can find outdoor hockey rinks scattered across these places. Although, keep in mind that these outdoor rinks are often frequented by professional players of the sport. So, don’t let their game make you conscious. Play your own game and have fun!
Ice climbing is arguably the most difficult winter sport in existence. It requires you to climb up fully vertical walls of ice in subzero temperatures while wearing heavy-duty overalls and maintaining a harness. As dangerous as it seems, the feeling of adventure and excitement makes the sport totally worth it. It might seem similar to rock climbing, but with the temperatures, the slipperiness, and the moisture, the stakes are much higher.
If you want to try ice climbing, head to one of the many spots in Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, or Himachal Pradesh. However, before you head off to go ice climbing, make sure that the organization you’re going to be climbing with provides proper training and has all the proper gear.
Also read: Adventure Sports In Sikkim
Ice skating is one of the most popular winter sports in India. You will find artificially frozen skating rinks all over the country and people visiting them frequently. In fact, this sport also has its own association as well! The Ice Skating Association of India maintains all competitions and gives credentials to recognized skating rinks.
You can find a pair of ice skates and the place to use them in multiple places across India. However, if you want to experience the sport in the most authentic way possible, you will have to head on over to Auli, Narkanda, Manali, or Kufri. You might even catch an ice skating competition or an ice hockey match if you time your trip right!
Also read: Enthralling Adventure Activities In India
The idea of riding across snowy mountains with a board strapped to our feet has always been fascinating. This sport is an exciting one and every Hollywood movie with snow in it will show you the cool kid with a snowboard in their hands. Snowboarding is a direct derivative of skateboarding and has quickly become a favorite amongst the winter sport enthusiasts.
There are two variants of the sport: one where the snowboarder rides freely down a snow-clad mountain, and one where the terrain has man-made elements added so that the riders can perform tricks on their snowboard. Regardless of which one you find more enticing, you will find appropriate facilities in Gulmarg, Solang Valley, and Auli.
Keep in mind that while snowboarding looks extremely easy, it requires a lot of practice. Moreover, some snowboarding trails tend to be steep and difficult. So, make sure that you start down trails that you know are suitable to your snowboarding skills.
Also read: Fun Treks In Northeast India
Sledding as a sport started with somebody unhooking the dogs from their dog-sled and pushing it downhill with them in it. Nowadays, you’ll find sleds that look like inflatable floaties or a plain, slick board. These are built with the express purpose of sledding down a snow trail.
Rohtang, Nathatop, and Gulmarg are the best known locations for snow sledding in India. Once you get there, you will realize that you have the option of picking between the straight-forward trails, or the ones with a few turns, twists, and bumps. We recommend taking a while to get familiar with the sport, and then see it all go downhill in the best way possible!
Also read: Best Camping Sites In South India
Winter trekking is one of the most interesting sports you can experience in the colder parts of the country. Fortunately, India is also home to many beautiful, adventurous, and outright scary paths that are full of snow and take you to even more beautiful destinations. In fact, some of these exquisite trails have ade such a name for themselves that people from all across the world come by to take them on.
Treks like Chopta-Chandrashila trek, Hampta Pass trek, Kanchenjunga trek, Chadar Frozen River trek, and Parashar Lake are just a few of the many names that decorate the Indian map. As much as we recommend you to go trekking in these locations and more, please make sure that you’re properly prepared for it.
Research the trail you want to take before you start, carry apt clothes in terms of their capacity to handle temperature, and carry all the necessary gear at all times. Most importantly, make sure you’re physically fit enough to take on the more challenging treks as they do get challenging very fast.
Also read: Best Places To Go Mountaineering In India
One of the most well-known winter sports, ice skating has spread its wings pretty quickly in India. Sliding down windy snow trails only with two skis and skiing poles to direct you is as serene and calm as it is exhilarating. If you share that belief, you can visit Gulmarg, Dayara Bugyal, Auli, Manali, Pahalgam, Sikkim, Shimla, Uttarakhand, Mundali, Munsiyari, or even Narkanda to get your fix of this sport.
That being said, Auli and Gulmarg take the cake when it comes to skiing spots in India. If you’re a beginner, you will find a bunch of trainers and instructors ready to help you out. However, if you are confident enough to hold your own, you’ll also find trails to challenge your prowess. All the best!
Also read: Paragliding In Bir Billing
Until not very long ago, winter sports in India weren’t very well known. Now, you will find the above-mentioned ones along with snow football, snow cycling, and ice-fishing in a majority of cold tourist spots in India. While they sound very similar to their not-so-icy counterparts, they are an entirely different experience when you try them out. We recommend you to read up a little more, look for the ideal aggregator, and take a very adventurous trip. Cheers!
What Is The Oldest Winter Sport?
According to old texts and other historical references, skiing might be one of the oldest winter sports in existence.
Does India Have Ski Resorts?
Yes! There are multiple ski resorts in the Himalayas as well as the Northeast. One of the most popular skiing destinations in India is Sikkim.
How Many Ski Resorts Are There In India?
There are more than twenty ski resorts in the northern states of India.
Where Can I Learn Snowboarding In India?
Auli Ski & Snowboard School is the best place to learn snowboarding in India.
How Much Does Skiing And Snowboarding Cost In India?
Depending on where you are, you might be charged between INR 750 to INR 1,250 for skiing or snowboarding in India.
Is Ice Hockey Popular In India?
Field hockey is much more popular than the icy variant of the sport in India. However, it is building some rapport for its own and is one of the most played winter sports in northern India.
Does India Have Winter Sports?
India lacks proper infrastructure for winter sports. However, it is a work in progress and newer, better elements to support winter sports are coming up every day.