HIMACHAL PRADESH Asian groups do not need to travel to Europe for a skiing incentive nor do they have to confine their destination search to East Asia countries such as South Korea and Japan as India is shaping up into a unique winter destination.
Solang Nala, located about 13km northwest of Manali, sits atop Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 8,000 feet. It features one of the most spectacular ski slopes in western Himalayas. It is popularly known as “snow point” for its extensive view of glaciers and snow-capped mountains and peaks.
Solang Nala in Himachal Pradesh in winter
“For beginners, Solang is an ideal skiing spot with introductory slopes and ski lifts. Its ski slopes offer unexpected excitement with smooth-curved ridges and gentle gradients. Cross-country skiing is also practiced here,” said Mukesh Sangwan, senior manager for operations at Creative Travel India.
He added that moderate skiers and snowboarders could be driven up the slopes on 4WD vehicles accompanied by guides.
Creative Travel does not have regular ski programmes to Solang Nala but arranges one only upon request.
Ski season is typically between November and February, with group programmes running an average of three to five days. Most groups on incentives and post-event programmes stay at nearby Manali where hotels range from two- to four-stars. Accommodation can also be arranged at private cottages.
“During the ski season, groups are running back-to-back. Aside from skiing, other activities include snow bike rides, heritage temple tours, bonfires and cultural experiences,” Sangwan said.
In summer, skiing is replaced by other mountain experiences such as zorbing (a sport of rolling downhill in a giant orb), paragliding, parachuting and horseback riding.
Solang Nala is a 14-hour drive from New Delhi to Manali and then follow a direct road from Manali to Dhundi. Flights are also available from New Delhi to Kullu where groups can drive to Manali.