In January 2013, photographer Jonas Bendiksen went to document the last remnants of an ancient culture that exists high up in the Altai Mountains in the far corner of the Xinjiang province, China.
The population comprises a mixture of ethnic Kazakhs, Mongolians, and Tuwas, who handmake their wooden skis in the same way as their forefathers did thousands of years ago. Archeological findings show this region may be the birthplace of skiing, surpassing that of northern European countries. Bendiksen had the rare privilege to join their skiing and hunting trips, and to follow the making of these traditional skis.
For thousands of years, the skis have been used to hunt elk, bear, and other animals, and only a few skiers still know these ancient winter hunting skills. The skis, with horse-hair skins underneath to give traction on the uphill, shows what skis might have looked like in centuries past. As modernity approaches via new winter roads, the internet and access to cities, the ancient skills are in danger of dying out.