Skiing in Xinjiang with the locals

Updated: 2015-01-10 07:29

By Cui Jia(China Daily)

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Skiing in Xinjiang with the locals

Norway's Petter Reistad competes at the 2015 China Tour de Ski in Nalati, Xinjiang. [Photo/Xinhua]

The autonomous region's picturesque slopes offer a unique experience for winter sports' enthusiasts.

It was just before sunset on a winter day and I was standing on top of a small hill in Hemu village in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. I looked at the village down below and said to myself that I had found the real winter wonderland described in fairy tales. Winter in Hemu, hidden deep in the Altay Mountains that border Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia, can last as long as seven months with heavy snowfalls.

Everything in the peaceful and small village was covered with a thick layer of snow as white and fluffy as marshmallows. Nothing was disturbed until smoke began to rise from the chimneys of the villagers' houses that had steeple roofs designed to prevent heavy snow from accumulating.

"Look, let's hurry down because people have started to cook dinner," a young Tuvan next to me said as he pointed to the smoke that was rising higher. Three others nodded their heads in agreement.

The breathtaking view had made me forget all about the skiing competition between me and the Tuvans, who are the residents of village. Tuvans are believed to be a branch of the Mongolian ethnic group.

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