Finding the True Spirit of Skiing in Kyrgyzstan

In my last post, I mentioned that snowboarding—to me—is an art form. But after this trip, snowboarding is no longer the sole focus of our international adventures—the people of Kyrgyzstan taught me that snowboarding and skiing should be basic. They taught me about what I believe is the true spirit of skiing.

In the simplest form, a snowboard or a pair of skis is a toy with the ability to create happiness, fun, and laughter. More importantly, it actually bonds people together through a mutual love for the sport and the mountains—all from two sticks or a simple board. When Mollie and my western tendencies met eastern culture, we did not have any similarities to the people in terms of a lifestyle. I have not faced corruption in the way the Kyrgyz/Uzbek people have faced with their government nor have I lived in a war-torn country. I don’t live in a place that has dated infrastructure (electricity, plumbing, airlines). I could only witness the lives of others who have this, knowing that in a matter of a few weeks I would be back in the USA feeling guilty with warmth, reliable electricity, modern amenities, transportation at my disposal, a toilet instead of a hole in the ground, and for the most part, neighbors and government officials who wouldn’t kill me or turn a blind eye due to my ethnicity (Kyrgyzstan erupts into ethnic war).

Read the rest of Sean's post and view more photos at

We brought in many items donated from our key sponsors on this expedition to give to local villages and guides.
The simplicity of earning turns in the Tian Shan Range.  The sound of wind, your bindings, your breath, and the occasional horse calling out.  Applying skins and bindings in order to tour into a higher zone.
Communication through charades with local villagers over hot tea.  Many beverages served in Kyrgyzstan are served hot as a means of staying warm during the harsh winter months and in order to make the water safe to drink.
What were your first skis like?  Were they PVC pipe cut in half? What about your first pair of boots? Skiing on simple terms…

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