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Monday, February 23, 2009

Where to stay at Auli - 3

At Auli, there are two options. If your budget is elastic, the luxury private hotel is recommended over the basic GMVN hotel.

What a magnificent view! From the warmth of your room at Cliff Top Club Resort (Tel.: 01389-223217-20/27; Tariff: Rs. 3,000-7,500), gaze at 180 degrees of some of the highest snow peaks in the world. Nanda Devi, Trishul, Kamet, Mana Parvat, Dunagiri, Bethatoli and Neelkanth. Friendly staff and good food provide the pampering you need after a tiring day on the slopes. But the snow, a boon to skiers, tends to cramp the non-sporty kind, so if you tire easily from gazing at the view or clomping thigh-deep in snow, bring novels and indoor games along.

Keep in mind the hotel tends to get completely snowbound. If you are driving up, the car must be left on the road near the GMVN hotel below or, if the snowfall is heavy, at Joshimath. Luggage and you can be transported up by cable car from Joshimath or chair lift from GMVN Auli.

Your only other option in Auli is the GMVN Skiing and Tourist Resort, (Tel.: 223208 / 305; Tariff:Rs. 950 - 1,450), located at 9,5000 ft. The plus point of the place is that, unlike the completely snowbound Cliff Top, it is only a short slide down to the main road. So walks are possible up to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Ski School (open only to the armed forces), or down the road through the oak and conifer forest.

If Auli is "house full", stay in Joshimath and take the cable car every day to Auli. Most hotels in Joshimath are quite basic, catering mostly to pilgrims. But the town now boasts an excellent option in Chardham Camp (Tel.: 01389-222712; Tariff: Rs. 3,200), located on the main NH58, just five minutes before Joshimath. The camp arranges tours to pilgrimage spots in the region and many adventure activities to fill your time between prayer. Your next best option is Hotel Dronagiri (Tel.: 222221 / 54; Tariff: Rs. 550 - 2,500).

To stay near the ropeway to Auli, choose Hotel Kamet (Tel.: 222155; Tariff: Rs. 500-800). The GMVN Tourist Rest House (Tel.: 222226/118; Tariff: Rs. 130-750) is in Upper Bazar at the heart of Joshimath, and ,Hotel Shriram (Tel.: 222332; Tariff: Rs. 400-750) is next door.

Essentials at Auli:

Make sure you have a minimum level of fitness to reduce chances of injuries while skiing at Auli. Train for at least a month in the gym, else run or jog for 20 minutes thrice a week for a month.

Dressing warm:

Your body is best kept warm using many layers. Wear warm, Long Johns under your clothes and windproof pants and an anorak on top. Pack a pair of woolen gloves that can be worn inside the ski mittens. It's essential to start the day with dry socks inside warm, dry boots.

Protecting your head:

The body loses heat through the head, so cover it up. Make sure your cap covers your ears.

Protecting your eyes :

Snowblindness is painful. Always wear sunglasses. You will need the extra protection and visibility enhancement of goggles, which you can rent form GMVN.

Protecting your skin:

At 9,500 - 10, 500 ft the air is thin and lets a greater quantum of UV rays enter the atmosphere. Added to this is the bounce and glare of snow. Apply liberal quantities of sunblock and high-SPF lip balm.

Re-hydration: At high altitudes, drink plenty of water of juice, but avoid alcohol and caffeine. Carry a water bottle. However thirsty you are, never eat snow.


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