The Real Leopard Story.February 14 2016
The fact twisting and media sensation of the leopard encounter has gotten a little out of control. So here is the real story.
One of our ski guides (David Marchi) was leading a group of guests down a popular nearby backcountry tree run ‘Monkey Hill’ on the Gulmarg plateau. David was very surprised when he saw that what he thought was a fallen log in the snow stated to move, and he came very close to skiing over the leopard’s tail.
We do not believe it was a snow leopard as it was brown in colour, but we have not yet been able to positively identify it. (Any experts out there please feel free to pass on your knowledge).
The screeching and yelling (and occasional expletive) you hear in the video is the nervous response from a couple of our guests who were close by. The leopard was also startled by the situation and turned and snarled at the group before it ran off. It was definitely not chasing any one, although it does look a bit like that in the Go Pro footage that Owen Lansbury (one of our guests) captured.
Our groups and many others have been skiing this area weekly for a decade and although tracks are seen occasionally this is the first encounter we have had.
Unfortunately I was skiing with another group 50 meters to the right and did not see the big cat myself, although I did hear the excited radio calls from the lead and tail guides and met with the guests at the bottom of the run. Nobody felt unduly threatened during the situation but all were totally awed to have had the opportunity to witness a big mountain cat in its natural environment.
After that run we moved to another area and continued enjoying what was just another awesome powder day in Gulmarg…………………with a little added bonus.
I hope this paints a clear picture of the event.
media sensationalism and fact twisting has gotten a little out of controlso the facts need to be told.
in the media about a close encounter while skiing the other day, I thought it was about time to get the facts out there.