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Writer Evelyn Spence and photographer Ilya Herb traveled to the far reaches of Mongolia to witness the evolution of skiing from a mode of transportation to a nascent winter hobby. Here are some of the images Herb captured during the journey.
Skiing in Mongolia
Sky Resort opened in 2009 was the first step toward what Western Hemispherical elitists call real skiing.
Mongolian’s divide winter into nine sets of nine days, or The Nines. Writer Evelyn Spence and photographer Ilja Herb were there during the coldest.
Ganbat and Uvedorj of the Tsaatan people. Thirty percent of Mongolia’s population is nomadic. Editor’s note: This photograph by Ilja Herb won a 2013 American Photography Award.
The tiny outpost of Khatgal, in northern Mongolia, has a school, an airstrip, and a post office.
Mongolia is the most sparsely populated country in the world, with 5 inhabitants per square mile.
Rentals are available onsite at Sky Resort, and the slopes stay open for nightskiing.
Lift tickets cost around $23 for six hours.
Sky Resort is the only ski resort in Mongolia.
Craig Dillon, a transplant from Alta, Utah, braves the minus-50-degree temps.
The resort blows a five-and-a-half-inch base in the fall that’s supposed to stick around until March. It does. Alta transplant Craig Dillon and Jagaa, a patroller, rip it up.
The monastery of Amarbayasgalant Khiid, one of the three largest buddhist monasteries in Mongolia.
The monastery is within a day’s drive of Sky Resort.
The sun sets on Sky Resort, and the locals get ready for night skiing.
Tea and thawing meat, dripping blood on the floor, in Ganbat’s hut.
Ulaanbaatar’s Choijin temple.