Thanks for the interest and the questions. We had our first female clients last season, they didn't seem to have any problems and had a great time. They were two pro-skiers we guided as part of the Soulryders production crew that were filming in Gulmarg with us. They were Kalen Thorien and Vanessa Aadland, both out of Salt Lake City and strong skiers. I know both of them really enjoyed their trips, I think they said the trip to Gulmarg was the best trip of their lives, so that's pretty good. I know Vanessa had such a life changing experience that she decided to stay and travel around India and Nepal. You should look them up on Facebook, they both have plenty of great photos and stories from their trip. Unfortunately they don't post here on Epic, but I'm sure if you sent them both a message via Facebook, they would give you their honest opinions.
I think you will find most Kashmiri's to be very friendly, warm and hospitable. Most, especially those in Gulmarg, are very happy to see foreign tourists returning to Gulmarg and Kashmir, after the troubles of the 1990's. Here's a great video of a trip to Gulmarg by Salewa team rider's Eva Walkner and Katharina Schuler from 2012 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWmDTKMqSuY, it's a really good account of trip from a female perspective (but be warned, the overly husky German/English commentary is pretty powerful stuff!) . The other point to consider is that you would potentially be part of a bigger group, if you came on one of our trips. You always need to act act with common sense in regards to your own safety - ie. don't walk alone at night, stay with others, respect Muslim traditions etc etc, like you would do in many foreign/unfamiliar locations.
Although the ratio of males to females coming to Gulmarg is skewed towards the male side, there are plenty of females coming to ski and ride in Gulmarg, from all over the world, you would not be alone. I think in general, the numbers of visitors coming from the US is pretty low, you tend to see a lot of Russians, Aussies, Kiwis, British, Scandinavians, French and other Europeans in Gulmarg. I've found Kashmiri's to be even more curious about American people. Another story that warms my heart somewhat is after I first bought some American friends to stay at the Hotel Heevan for the first time, back in 2010. The General Manager and I had a sit down and a chat at the end of our stay. He said to me in a moment of surprising honesty (which I personally really appreciated), "Matt, I had never had Americans staying at our hotel before and I admit, we were a bit nervous at first, but now, I want you to bring back more Americans next year, we really liked the Americans!" I thought that was really nice. I'm sure at some point, many of us have had stereotypical ideas of what people were like, often this can be influenced by what we read or hear.... I don't know what their ideas about Americans had been in the past, but I'm sure they had some stereotyped views of us too, so it was great to see some potential barriers, breaking down quickly.
My biggest concern when in Gulmarg is for our safety on the mountain and in particular, when other groups are skiing or riding near us. The decision making of others is often what worries me the most, I always encourage our groups to watch out for other groups skiing near, above or below us and make decisions relative to what other people in the vicinity are doing. We have a comprehensive avalanche safety training program at the start of our programs, it's something we take very seriously and hopefully we will be giving you/or reinforcing safer backcountry habits.
As Mike said, we'll be running our official 2013/14 Gulmarg Powder Sessions launch night at the Hogshead Brewery in Denver, on Wednesday the 29th May, around 7pm. If you are around, it would be a good time to meet and learn more about the program.