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Skiing hunters subject of CWC talk
Mar 24, 2014 - By Kelli Ameling, Staff Writer
National Geographic Magazine contributor and University of Wyoming writer-in-residence Mark Jenkins will present the program "Last of the First Skiers" Thursday in Riverton.
In the program, he will discuss the Kazakh and Tuvan tribes who live deep in the Altai Mountains in Central Asia. Jenkins will give the presentation at 7 p.m. in the Health and Science Center Auditorium at Central Wyoming College.
The tribes' ways of living have been unchanged for at least 5,000 years, and they still use horsehair skis for traveling when they hunt, he said.
Guns are illegal in the Altai Mountains, so the tribesmen lasso animals from their skis.
Jenkins, who lived and hunted with the people of the Altai Mountains, will speak on prehistoric skiing, its links to modern skiing culture, and the adaptability of mankind in a globalized society.
"The (program) will connect Wyoming citizens to the world," Jenkins said. "Some people get to travel and others don't."
People who attend, he said, will learn more about skiing, which is thought to have started about 8,000 years ago as one of the first ways of travel.
Jenkins said the tribesmen ski and hunt like some Wyoming citizens, and they are similar to cowboys and ranchers as well.
"Reminds me of how Wyoming might have been about 100 years ago," Jenkins said. "(The program) is free, and it's fun."
Jenkins covers geopolitics, the environment and adventure through his writer-in-residence position at the University of Wyoming and National Geographic Magazine.
He has won a variety of awards for his work, including the Overseas Press Club Ross Award for "The Healing Fields" in 2013, a National Magazine Award for photojournalism with colleague Brint Stirton for "Who Murdered The Mountain Gorillas" in 2009, five Lowell Thomas Awards, three Best American Travel Writing Awards, the American Alpine Club Literary Award and the Banff Mountain Adventure Book Award.
He also has authored four books, "A Man's Life," "The Hard Way," "To Timbuktu" and "Off The Map." His work has appeared in a number of magazines.
He lives in Laramie with his wife, Sue Ibarra, a community activist. They have two daughters, Addi and Teal.