Vail? Banff? The Alps? Nah - Ski Kashmir!

The area of international tension is full of stunning Himalayan scenery and exhilarating slopes that draw visitor numbers rivaling the world's most popular sites.
Written by Mark Halper, Contributor

On Top of Old Gulmarg. Skiers get ready to race down the Himalayas.

As ski season winds down, you might be contemplating where to go for one more run down the slopes, or where to plan that big trip for next year.

You wouldn't be alone if you booked a place in Kashmir.

Yes, Kashmir, the disputed territory over which India and Pakistan occasionally go to war, has a thriving ski scene. Numbers at the Gulmarg mountain resort have nearly doubled since 2009 to 1.3 million visitors in 2012, as noted in a BBC video report.

That nearly rivals Vail and Breckenridge, the two Colorado ski resorts which lead the U.S., each with about 1.6 million annual visitors according to Travel+Leisure.

The tourism is a boon to the area's economy, which has traditionally relied on agriculture, the report states.

You can see what draws the winter sports enthusiasts to the site, accessible from Srinagar Airport. It may be the the Kashmir of international tensions, but it's also the Kashmir of spectacular Himalayan scenery and for, the expert skiers among you, death defying drops and runs.

Watch this YouTube video to see what I mean:

YouTube video by John Nasir. Photo is a screen grab from the video.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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