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  • Photo: Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum Photos

    CHINA. 2013. Altai Mountains, Xinjiang. Serik using his skis as an anchor while an elk battles him. They use only their traditional skis and leather hide ropes. This is the traditional way of hunting in the Altai, practiced for thousands of years. The skiers run the animal into deep snow, where it gets paralyzed. Temperatures in the area regularly drop to minus 40 Celcius. Skiers in the area use a single wooden staff, as opposed to the modern two-pole technique, and the base of their handcrafted skis have horse-hides permanently attached for traction. In the far northern corner of Xinjiang province, in the Altai mountains, one can find the last remnants of an ancient culture. The area is populated by a mix of ethnic Kazakhs, Mongolians and Tuwas, who handmake their own wooden skis in the same way as their forefathers thousands of years ago. This animal was later let loose by the skiers.

  • Photo: Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum Photos

    CHINA. 2013. Altai Mountains, Xinjiang. Batwulza flying down a mountainside. Skiers in the area use a single wooden staff, as opposed to the modern two-pole technique, and the base of their handcrafted skis have horse-hides permanently attached for traction. In the far northern corner of Xinjiang province, in the Altai mountains, one can find the last remnants of an ancient culture. The area is populated by a mix of ethnic Kazakhs, Mongolians and Tuwas, who handmake their own wooden skis in the same way as their forefathers thousands of years ago.

  • Photo: Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum Photos

    CHINA. 2013. Altai Mountains, Xinjiang. Batwulza chopping firewood while on his skis. Skiers in the area use a single wooden staff, as opposed to the modern two-pole technique, and the base of their handcrafted skis have horse-hides permanently attached for traction. In the far northern corner of Xinjiang province, in the Altai mountains, one can find the last remnants of an ancient culture. The area is populated by a mix of ethnic Kazakhs, Mongolians and Tuwas, who handmake their own wooden skis in the same way as their forefathers thousands of years ago.

  • Photo: Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum Photos

    CHINA. 2013. Altai Mountains, Xinjiang. Kanas, a small village in the upper Altai, where a few hundred Kazakhs and Tuwans live. In local tradition the three days after the chinese new year are continous festivities, where the men have archery competition, drink and eat meats. In the far northern corner of Xinjiang province, in the Altai mountains, one can find the last remnants of an ancient culture. The area is populated by a mix of ethnic Kazakhs, Mongolians and Tuwas, who handmake their own wooden skis in the same way as their forefathers thousands of years ago.

  • Photo: Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum Photos

    CHINA. 2013. Altai Mountains, Xinjiang. Outside the vilalge of Hkom, a horseman tries to free his animal that is stuck in the deep powder snow. When the snow is too loose and deep, horses cannot move beyond prepared paths - thus the traditional need for skis. In the far northern corner of Xinjiang province, in the Altai mountains, one can find the last remnants of an ancient culture. The area is populated by a mix of ethnic Kazakhs, Mongolians and Tuwas, who handmake their own wooden skis in the same way as their forefathers thousands of years ago.

  • Photo: Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum Photos

    CHINA. 2013. Altai Mountains, Xinjiang. Hamlet of Akorum. Tursin (24), his wife Wurla (25), and son Eneral in their self-built house. Tursin is an expert skier and skimaker. In the far northern corner of Xinjiang province, in the Altai mountains, one can find the last remnants of an ancient culture. The area is populated by a mix of ethnic Kazakhs, Mongolians and Tuwas, who handmake their own wooden skis in the same way as their forefathers thousands of years ago.

  • Photo: Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum Photos

    CHINA. 2013. Altai Mountains, Xinjiang. In the hamlet of Akorum, Tursin (R) bends the tip ofwhile making a new pair of skis. He fells a Red Spruce tree in the woods and immediately uses an axe to plane the logs into boards. At home he then uses a crude planer to thin them out into the basic shape of the ski. By evening he has already bent the two skis into the correct position, with help of his friend and neighbour Ashatu (24). The skis then dry and harden in that position to set the shape, before horsehair skins and bindings are put on a few days later. In the far northern corner of Xinjiang province, in the Altai mountains, one can find the last remnants of an ancient culture. The area is populated by a mix of ethnic Kazakhs, Mongolians and Tuwas, who handmake their own wooden skis in the same way as their forefathers thousands of years ago.

  • Photo: Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum Photos

    CHINA. 2013. Xinjiang. Traditional skier blasting throw deep powder snow. Skiers in the area use a single wooden staff, as opposed to the modern two-pole technique, and the base of their handcrafted skis have horse-hides permanently attached for traction. In the far northern corner of Xinjiang province, in the Altai mountains, one can find the last remnants of an ancient culture. The area is populated by a mix of ethnic Kazakhs, Mongolians and Tuwas, who handmake their own wooden skis in the same way as their forefathers thousands of years ago.

  • Photo: Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum Photos

    CHINA. 2013. Altai Mountains, Xinjiang. Ashatu carrying a heavy log for firewood, which they use to keep warm in the forest camp. The skis's base have horse-hides permanently attached for traction. In the far northern corner of Xinjiang province, in the Altai mountains, one can find the last remnants of an ancient culture. The area is populated by a mix of ethnic Kazakhs, Mongolians and Tuwas, who handmake their own wooden skis in the same way as their forefathers thousands of years ago.

  • Photo: Jonas Bendiksen/Magnum Photos

    CHINA. 2013. Altai Mountains, Xinjiang. Tuktun (77), who has spent much of his life making skis, hunting and trapping animals. Today he is retired and going blind. In the far northern corner of Xinjiang province, in the Altai mountains, one can find the last remnants of an ancient culture. The area is populated by a mix of ethnic Kazakhs, Mongolians and Tuwas, who handmake their own wooden skis in the same way as their forefathers thousands of years ago.

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