By: Marian Krogh


Skiing untracked powder at 4000m, PC: Gabby Degagne

​In February of 2017 I went to Gulmarg, India to ski. Yes that’s right, skiing in India. Not only is it possible, it’s amazing. In fact, the highest ski gondola in the world sits in the far northwest of the country in the Kashmir region.
The adventures on and off the mountains never stopped. The town of Gulmarg is enveloped by Himalayan peaks towering at 4000-5000 meters (12,000-15,000 feet). We arrived after one of the biggest snowstorms of the century, which brought close to three meters (120 inches) of snow in five days. This made for great snowpack analysis practice and some phenomenal powder days as we explored the endless terrain accessible from the gondola.

A beautiful view of the Himalayas while skinning up behind Mt Apharwat to the “sharks fin,” PC: Gabby DeGagne

We spent our days skinning up along the ridge in three different directions, descending 2000 meters (6,000 feet) through the alpine environment’s untracked powder and trees, and then returning to Gulmarg for après-ski hot chai and samosas.

Monkeys eating and dispersing the garbage, PC: Gabby DeGagne

​Sometimes it seemed like we weren’t even in India. We were in the middle of the mountains with no signs of civilization, just the snow, the pine and birch trees and the occasional monkey. We’d usually find the monkeys eating garbage, a reminder that Gulmarg was just down the hill. The monkeys are the resident garbage removers since there is no official waste management system in town. Garbage bags are thrown into the forest and the monkeys disperse the waste. In winter most of the garbage is hidden underneath the snow, but many locals told us that trash and plastic can be found everywhere in the summer. Plastic pollution is pervasive worldwide, even at the microscopic level, as I’m learning by being an Adventure Scientists volunteer.

Marian Krogh collecting a water sample for Adventure Scientists Global Microplastics Initiative, PC: Gabby DeGagne

We were able to collect water samples from snow-melt for Adventure Scientists Global Microplastics Initiative, which maps the spread and proliferation of tiny plastics in water bodies around the world. I’m interested to see the results. I suspect that the water will be quite high in microplastic content, despite the high altitude and relatively remote location.

​Myself, Gabby and three other female teammates are heading to Kyrgyzstan next year for an environmentally focused ski traverse of the Tien Shen mountain range. Their project is called Seeking Balance Finding Adventure. You can check out our blog
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Marian Krogh – Skier, Traveler, Adventurer
Born in Canada, raised in New Zealand, Marian is now a citizen of the mountains around the world. She is a physiotherapist by trade and a ski instructor by choice which allows her to travel, chasing snow and sharing her love for skiing and the outdoors. She is a passionate environmentalist working with groups such as Protect Our Winters and to combat climate change. She is also a 5 Gyres ambassador working to raise awareness of the overuse of plastic and it’s effects on the environment. She enjoys living plastic-free.
Find out more about our Global Microplastics Initiative and other Adventure Scientists projects by visiting our website and by following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.