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Skiing in a Land Where It’s a Means of Survival, Not Just Sport

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Skiing is on the rise in China thanks to its burgeoning middle class—as a sport, that is. Since the stone age, hunter-gatherers in the region have relied on skis to survive. Two professional skiers, Chad Sayers and Forrest Coots, seek to explore this contrast in a new, action-packed short documentary called “China: A Skier’s Journey.”

Occupying the heart of the Eurasian land mass, the Altai mountains may be the birthplace of skiing. It’s up for the debate if it definitively originated here, but some of the earliest recorded examples of skiing have been found in this mountain range covering the borders of China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Sayers and Coots journeyed there to find the once-rich Altai skiing culture on the precipice of vanishing forever. Yet while some of their discoveries are grim, the footage is undeniably joyous. Watch the two pros bomb down volcano craters in Changbaishan, build wooden skis for hunting, and a whole lot more in the video below.