Traditional skiing lives on as fur flies

Updated: 2014-01-15 09:27

By Cui Jia (China Daily)

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Traditional skiing lives on as fur flies

Yongdeng, 6, practises his moves on a hill in Hemu village.

High hopes

A pair of Ahelibek's skis costs around 750 yuan ($124) and can last three years. He said the most important part of the manufacturing process is the production of the curved tips, which are crucial for speed. The tips are made by dipping the ends of the polished wood in hot water, and then beating them while still wet.

His sons, aged 16 and 20, know how use both fur and modern skis because they often visit a ski resort close to their house. "They are quite good at skiing actually, but I want them to learn how to make fur skis, just as my father taught me."

"Snowboards are much easier to master than our traditional skis," said Sengelite. He and nine others from Hemu, including Yongdeng, will represent the village at the 2014 traditional skiing contest, which will be held at a resort in Altay on Jan 16.

Many ski resorts have been built in Altay since it was declared the birthplace of skiing and the local government has also been promoting the sports among school children.

"I will start teaching my son to snowboard when we get to the ski slopes - maybe someday he will become the first Chinese Tuvan to win an Olympic gold medal?" he smiled.

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