Where to travel
Ski one of the longest ski slopes inIndia, 6.5-km-long Sumnam slopes inSumnamVillagenear Keylong (Kyelong) (3,350 meters) in Lahaul Spiti District, Himachal Pradesh.
This itinerary is for resourceful and hardcore adventurers due to very limited access during winter season.
What to do & see
Width of the Hill of Sumnam (3,100 meters) ski slopes varies from two (2) to four (4) kilometers. The village has a light TV transmitter. To prevent northward movement of glaciers and snowline, a snow-harvesting project was executed in the village that falls in Tandi Gram Panchayat. Tandi (Tangti) (2,573 meters) is situated at the confluence of the Chandra and Bhaga rivers that form the Chandrabhaga /Chenab River. Tandi is also known for only petrol pump station on the Manali-Leh route.
Great Himalayan Adventure Sports Association (GHASA), Sumnam has been organizing short skiing courses at Shakas Nullah (Nala) in Lahaul Spiti since 1999. The association also conducts skiing awareness programs. The Shakas Nullah near Keylong is named after Saka tribe that lived in the Bhaga Valley.
Layul Mountaineers and Skiers Association (LMSA) Keylong, a voluntary organization set up in 1981, has members from all walks of life: local farmers, teachers, priests, shopkeepers… The LMSA offers search and rescue services and trains local youth in search and rescue operations, and adventure sports.
The district headquarter of Lahaul Spiti, Keylong on the right bank of theBhagaRiver is located on the Manali-Leh highway.
The Tribal Museum of Keylong, dedicated to tribal art, features Thanka Paintings, Tankri documents, Bhoti Scripts, everyday use items and other artifacts. The museum, managed by the Himachal Pradesh Department of Language Art & Culture, remains open all days of the week except Tuesday.
When to go
January to April
How to reach
Although there is a road connecting Keylong to Shimla and Manali, both the roads are closed during winter (November to April) due to heavy snowfall. Do not worry! If you are a hardcore adventurer with deep pockets, you can use helicopter services that run by Himachal Pradesh Government and two private airlines.
The state government runs heli services for Tandi on weekly basis mainly for locals and people working in Lahaul Spiti District. You can try your luck. The services may start fromKulluManaliAirportin Bhuntar.
Mumbai-based Simm Samm Airways Pvt. Ltd. and MESCO Airlines Ltd. (MAL) offers services from Manali to Tandi (DIET) for INR 10,000.00 (US$ 194.44, €151.12, £126.42) and Kullu Manali Airport to Tandi (DIET) for INR 6,000.00 (US$116.66, €90.67, £75.85). Contact the Simm and Mesco for the latest rates and more details.
But, do remember that no one has control over weather. During bad weather, even helicopter services are discontinued.
Keylong to Sumnam (8km)
Manali is about 570 kilometersfrom Delhi, the national capital of India. Buses going to Manali stop at Bhuntar.
You can catch a flight from Delhi (DEL) to Bhuntar (KUU). Air India offers air services on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The air ticket price starts from INR 3,985.00 per person (US$77.48, €60.22, £50.38).
The 3-room Lahaul Home Stay in Sumnam is about8 kmfrom Tandi and14 kmfrom Satingri Helipad. You can rent a room for INR 1,200.00 per day (US$23.33, €18.13, £15.17).
Drilbu Retreat at the foot of DrilbuPeakoffers cottages facing the confluence in Tandi. The cottage tariff starts from INR 1,570.00 per person (US$30.53, €23.73, £19.85).
The two mountain huts are on the Sumnam ski slope: GHASA and LMSA mange one hut each. Local people also offer accommodation and Indian food for cash.
Or, carry your own camping equipment and enjoy camping on snow.