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India may not immediately jump to mind when thinking of winter sports, but one of its northernmost states, Uttarakhand, at the foot of the Himalayas is known for its natural beauty and adventure opportunities, including skiing and snowboarding. Here are some of its top winter-sports destinations:
A tiny alpine town nestled in the Chamoli district about 13 kilometres from the city of Joshimath, this is ranked as India's top ski resort due to its well-maintained pistes at both low and high altitude, and well suited for all levels - beginners, intermediate, and professionals. It has 500- and 800-metre chair lifts to serve the higher pistes. Auli also has Asia’s longest cable car after Gulmarg in Kashmir - .4 kms - connecting it with Joshimath, and also bagged the honour of hosting first South Asian Winter Games in 2011. The best ski season lasts through January and February, and there are a good number of teaching professionals.
Khalia Top/Betulidhar is a lovely peak an easy, 700m trek up from the town of Musiyari in Pithoragarh district. At an altitude of 3,500 m, its relatively unsteep slopes are best for novices/first-timers, and there's a ski school here, as well. The best season at Munsiyari runs from December through February.
More uncrowded and under the radar than the previous two, this hamlet is located 25 km from another famous hill station, Chakrata. Up at 2,775 m, it has many off-pistes perfect for beginners, and skiers/snowboarders can also try their hands at higher altitudes, up to 3,049 m. Mundali is also more of an emerging ski destination, thus has more limited facilities than Auli and Musiyari. The ski season runs from December through February.