Adventure Activities, India
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My First Snowboarding Experience

Confidently balancing on my board, gliding down the slope with all the grace of a gazelle, I slid for a few metres before finally landing on my chest. The last night’s fresh snow absorbed the hit every time I crashed, as I tried polishing my left and right turns on a snowboard!

A few weeks ago the lovely folks at NorthlandAdventures, in Manali, invited me to try a few days of skiing or snowboarding with them, at their ski hotel, Sethan Heights, in the town of Sethan, in Himachal Pradesh. As they mentioned it, my (first) reaction was ‘oh, bum … I can’t ski!’. Then I realised, this would mean learning something new, and I spat a Big Yes!

For the next few weeks, crashing, getting uncontrolled, and other hazards made me wince every time I thought about my decision. But To hell with it… I’d already said yes, and there was no chance I was going to say No later!

Located at 2770 metres above sea level, more than 700 metres higher than Manali, the village of Sethan, in Himachal Pradesh, is a perfect place to learn snowboarding, or skiing. Unlike the likes of nearby ski destinations, like Rohtang and Solang Valley, this is where you can practice while enjoying the exclusivity with nature.

During my 3 day stay, I saw no more than a dozen tourists in the entire town. The place where I stayed – the only ski hotel in the village Sethan, and for long distances beyond – entertained 7 tourists, out of which only three (from USA) came only for skiing, and didn’t do anything else but walk 2 hours uphill every day only to quickly slide down.

The rest of the tourist crowd was busy throwing snowballs and sipping coffee, leaving all the ski-slopes nearby the property at my disposal.And that will be the case, with you too!

Thanks to its exclusivity and unpopularity, I found Sethan just perfect!

The journey to Sethan started from the town of Prini, some 5 kilometres south of Manali. The route was itself visually stunning, if somewhat unnerving. We were welcomed with a heavy hailstorm, as soon as Prini started losing in oblivion. The hailstorm later turned into big size snowflakes. In the month of March, and with tempratures in New Delhi reaching over 30 I did not expect any snow anywhere near Manali.

But it turned out for the next three days, as I continued my stay in Sethan, only more snow followed, covering any patch of green or brown, that was visible!

Before the first day’s session, I quickly enquired my instructor, Vinod Bodh, about the difference between skiing and snowboarding. And I got an impression that I’d perhaps like snowboarding better.

For one, I realised that putting on your snowboarding gear was easier, and so was taking it off. My coach moreover sounded convinced that snowboarding is more fun – and he himself personally favoured it. Driven by the circumstances, I decided to give snowboarding a go.

Vinod went through the basics from the very beginning — from putting a snowboard on to how to slide, turn and stop. Next, I took it to tiny baby runs, a dozen or so times, under his supervision, until I was sure about handling it myself.

For the next few hours, I was on my own, experimenting with the ski and learning as I was pleased.

Unlike other ski schools often frequented by tourists, learning snowboarding or skiing was a different experience in Sethan, for in Sethan you have the exclusivity of being closer to nature and not bumping into other tourists looking hopeless with their ski.

Further Reading: Sethan Village, In Himachal Pradesh | Offbeat Destinations Near Manali

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Filed under: Adventure Activities, India


After my couple of years of corporate career, I left that lifestyle behind, and with it, everything that didn't fit in a backpack. I've learned that this world is too big (and too interesting!) to spend your life working at one place, and that's what inspires me to remain footloose and fancy-free for the rest of my life!


  1. Anonymous says

    Hey I wish to learn this. Kindly provide me with the details of Mr. Vinod.

    • Hey, whatsup, how are you? So good to see your message.
      I think I still had some effect of that Apple thingy I smoked with you. haha. But now that I am sober again, I very well remember that beautiful part of our planet you’re from… Lake Tahoe, right? |Wink| Let me know if you come to Delhi anytime soon, I am in Delhi right now until this weekend.

  2. Often, the best experiences can be found by saying yes to things you might not have had you had time to consider them. I remember seeing your tweets about your efforts and just HAD to come and have a read! Well done for trying, though!

    • Thanks for taking the time and visiting my website. Appreciate it. And yea, I agree that saying yes to things open more possibilities. All it takes is a Yes!

  3. You all with nerves to explore make me want to update my bucketlist… Nice read..Thanks for sharing

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