By Sam Lozier, Boston.com Correspondent
Ski blogger Sam Lozier is spending a chunk of this winter skiing in India.
We were told that a motorcycle, from one of the many shops that rent them, is the best way to get around the
Having spent a few days riding a small displacement dirt bike around a sand pit a few years ago, I was the most experienced rider of the group and was sent forward to impress the rental agent with my riding prowess. Despite the
Allen and Amit, with no motorcycle experience, werenít so lucky, and the agent quickly discerned that we had a combined total of two days of riding experience between the three of us. ďNo problemĒ he assured us, and proceeded to demonstrate all aspects of these quirky, dirty, and unloved machines.
Our 10-minute motorcycle lesson completed, we stepped into his office - a dirty garage with what couldnít have been more than a four-foot tall ceiling - and began filling out our paperwork. This entailed copying down our passport and visa information, paying half the rental fee up front, and leaving our expired college student IDís with him as collateral.
With the wind in our hair (they donít rent helmets), we sputtered and stalled our way around town trying to find maps, a copy of the ski guidebook we somehow left in Gulmarg, and some groceries. Maps were easy to find, but useful maps proved quite hard. The Mountaineering Institute, a large government office down the road from Manali, had copies of the widely-used 1:250,000, devoid of topo lines, trekking map that turned out to be the best and only map of the region. In speaking with a trekking agent back in Manali, we learned that at one point it was possible to buy a 1:50,000 (actually useful scale), topo map produced by the U.S. Army in the 1950ís, but that no one had had copies for years.
The guidebook ďSki Touring in the
Read and see more of Sam's work at www.famousinternetskiers.com