Off to India to Ski Guide with Himalaya Alpine Guides

Luke Smithwick is the owner and lead guide for Himalaya Alpine Guides. He has been exploring off the beaten path portions of Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Tibet for years. Luke and I met two years ago while I was ski guiding in Kashmir in the Gulmarg area. Luke is the snow safety officer for the Gulmarg ski resort. We got to talking, skied together, and have met in the states a few times with the goal of developing more of a ski touring program that aligns with the trekking, mountaineering, and alpinism Luke has been pioneering across the Himalaya. After a lot of talk, planning, and logistics we’re about to start our first Himalaya Alpine Camp this week in Ladakh, India.

Here’s Luke at my house last winter. He was in the Tahoe area for maybe 24 hours, but we found some time to geek out on maps, and starting planing for a ski trip this spring.

After talking about logistics and place, Luke shared a zone in Ladakh that has several 6000 meter peaks that have yet to see a ski descent. We decided that this exploratory vision is what we are going for with the idea for Himalaya Alpine Camp, as we want to set up camp in new spots each year, explore peaks that haven’t been skied yet, and ideally have a diversity of terrain in and around the areas we choose to cater to a variety of guest skill sets that backcountry ski and are looking for a ski mountaineering experience. Here’s the link to the post about this current trip on Luke’s site.

Luke had this to say as he left guiding in Tibet to head to India to meet up with me and the rest of our crew for the inaugural Himalaya Alpine Camp:

Via Luke’s Instagram Page: Tahoe’s Brennan Lagasse (@stateofthebackcountry)is on his way over to meet me here in the Himalayas. I’m resting the weekend here in Kathmandu, and we will meet up in northern India’s Ladakh for two weeks of ski mountaineering. ????Brennan is a global ambassador for ski mountaineering. He works as a ski guide in Greenland, Antarctica, Alaska, and California. I work as an Avalanche forecaster and manager of Gulmarg Ski Resort in the western Himalayas. We’ve met a few times to discuss ski projects in the Himalayas. We both see some synergies. This is the beginning of the project, with the ultimate ongoing goal to ski aesthetic peaks and routes in the Himalayas while guiding guests. Human-powered, backcountry, off the map exploring. We will share this experience and we hope you enjoy it. This is only the beginning, and we are working to perfect mountain experiences through professional service for our skiing and snowboarding guests. @himalaya_alpine_guides

Looking forward to sharing more from this trip and our collective vision for ski touring in the Himalaya in the months to come. Be in touch with either of us if you have questions, ideas, and/or you’re interested in making a trip happen.