Lonely Planet Writer

Kashmir: skiers have lucky escape from snow leopard

A skiing expedition in the Kashmiri region of Gulmarg came across a rare snow leopard and made a lucky escape.

Snow leopard in Gulmarg Kashmir
Snow leopard in Gulmarg Kashmir Image by Bill’s Trip/Vimeo

A group of skiers belonging to the Bill’s Trip tour company were being led through their first powder line by tour guide David Marchi, when they came upon a bit of a surprise. Owen Lansbury was filming the excursion with a GoPro when he spotted something in the snow as they whizzed in and out of trees down a steep mountain. Writing on his Facebook page he said he realised it was a rare snow leopard nestling in the snow and almost entirely hidden. “I stopped just as it huddled in the snow, where it stayed for about a minute checking us out. It then let out a solid roar and bounded away down the slope towards Dave, but scooted off into the forest, where we think it probably had a kill stashed. Pretty amazing experience!”

The footage shows the members of the excursion slow down as they perceive an immobile figure in the snow. For almost a minute nothing happens, until suddenly the snow leopard jumps out of the snow after emitting a snarl, and appears to chase the guide (in yellow) David Marchi.

The snow leopard in Kashmir began chasing one of the guides and then ran into the woods
The snow leopard in Kashmir began chasing one of the guides and then ran into the woods Image by Bill’s Trip/Vimeo

The amazing footage is a rare insight into the high-altitude feline’s behaviour. Snow leopards live in mountainous and cold climates, and have been deemed an endangered species, with around 4000 still in existence. The Kashmiri and Indian Himalayas contain around 500 of the leopards.

Watch the video here.