Deep in the Altai Mountains of Central Asia there is a ski culture that has survived unchanged for at least five thousand years. Wide, long, curve-tipped skis are hewn by axe from red spruce and the bases nailed with silky horsehair. These ancient skis glide smoothly over powder and yet can climb practically straight up. The Kazakh and Tuvan tribesmen of the region use the skis to hunt elk. Guns are illegal, so they lasso the beasts from their skis---a primordial tableau that is depicted in local petroglyphs dating from 5000-12,000 BP. National Geographic writer Mark Jenkins lived and hunted with these extraordinary skiers last winter. Jenkins will present a program exploring the last enclave of prehistoric skiing, its links to the modern global ski culture, and the profound adaptability of humankind in an increasingly globalized world.
Mark Jenkins is a field staff writer for National Geographic Magazine and a Writer-in-Residence at the University of Wyoming. A critically acclaimed author and internationally recognized journalist, he covers geopolitics and adventure. Among hundreds of stories, he has written about landmines in Cambodia, the war in Eastern Congo, the loss of koalas in Australia, global warming in Greenland, ethnic cleansing in Burma, and climbing Mt. Everest in Nepal. Jenkins’ writing has won numerous awards, including the Overseas Press Club Ross Award for “The Healing Fields” in 2013 and a National Magazine Award with colleague Brint Stirton for “Who Murdered the Mountain Gorillas” in 2009. Both of these projects provided the basis for state-wide presentations at Wyoming’s community colleges as part of the Global and Area Studies Program’s (formerly International Studies Program) state-wide international speaker series.
This program is part of the Global Studies Excellence Initiative and continues the World to Wyoming outreach series.
Thursday, 23 January, 2014
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