Magazine

Feb 15, 2018

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west

For much of the year, skiing is the only way to get around Khom, a village of wooden cabins heated by earthen stoves, five hours' drive from the nearest major town in the northern Altay region of Xinjiang.

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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Local villager Sulita skis with traditional horse-hide skis in Altai Mountains in Khom village of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 27, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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A cave containing ancient paintings that show rows of figures standing on what look like skis, with herds of animals running below them, is seen on the outskirts of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 25, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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Local villager Alimase skis with traditional horse-hide skis in Altai Mountains in Khom village of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 27, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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A fox lies in snow in Khom village of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 28, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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Local craftsman Slanbek, 63, tests traditional horse-hide skis outside his house on the outskirts of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 25, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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Local villager Alimase skis with traditional horse-hide skis in Altai Mountains in Khom village of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 27, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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Mieergenku, 12, stands in a door of a log cabin next to traditional handmade horse-hide skis at Khom village of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 27, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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Local craftsman Slanbek, 63, pours boiling water to soften wood as he makes traditional horse-hide skis on the outskirts of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 25, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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Villagers ride a horse carrying hay in Altai Mountains in Khom village of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 27, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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An ancient painting in a cave show rows of figures standing on what look like skis (top L), with herds of animals running below them, on the outskirts of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 25, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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Local villager Yonghong makes buttered tea inside her log cabin in Khom village of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 27, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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A road to Khom village of Altay is seen in Altai Mountains, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 28, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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A policeman is seen through a car window at a security check point into Khom village of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 28, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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Local craftsman Slanbek, 63, makes traditional horse-hide skis on the outskirts of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 25, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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Namujeli, 13, skis home in Altai Mountains in Khom village of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 27, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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Local craftsman Slanbek, 63, stretches horse hair as he makes traditional horse-hide skis on the outskirts of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 25, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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Bayaerta (L), 15, wearing traditional horse-hide skis stands next to Mieergenku wearing modern skis in Khom village of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 27, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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Local villager Sulita wearing traditional horse-hide skis makes his way home in Khom village of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 27, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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A man rides a horse past a poster showing Chinese President Xi Jinping (2nd L) chatting with Xinjiang minority people in Khom village of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 27, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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Traditional horse-hide skis made by local craftsman Slanbek are seen next to his tools on the outskirts of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 25, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

Skiing’s origins in China’s remote west
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Local villager Alimase holds traditional horse-hide skis in Khom village of Altay, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, January 27, 2018. JASON LEE/REUTERS

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