>> Some say this remote part of China is where skiing began. This cluster of wooden cabins in Altay is called Khom, hours away from any major town in the far northwestern stretches of Xinjiang Autonomous Region. Cave paintings found in the area show figures standing on what seem to be skis.
Some historians believe the paintings are the oldest record of skiing and are estimated to be between 10 and 30,000 years old. I'm Reuter's Natty Thomas here in Xinjiang northwest China. The country is on a mission to turn this place into a nation of wood sports lovers and skiers by the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
But here in this remote corner just on the border of Kazakhstan, there are in fact a group of people who have been on skis for literally millenia. Solita lives in Khom, where for much of the year, the only way to get around is on skis. His are covered in horse hide.
The direction of the horse fur ensures that he doesn't slide backwards, and allows for uphill travel. The local government has recognized them as cultural heritage, and even organizes races. However, outside of remote villages, the tradition is being wiped out.>>
> Instructors hope that some of the children training here may find their way onto the Olympic slopes of Beijing.
>> With the 2022 Olympics approaching President Xi Jinping have turn his weight behind a querying ski resort industry and Altay has embraced more than skiing. The snow cover and mountains make it one of the best places to ski in China.>>
Horses use just don't compare in either sport or speed. But one young villager near Khom told me that he doesn't care. Even at 13, he wants to pass on the old ways to the next generation.