Artistic Expressions in Kyrgyzstan
Every so often, it’s nice to get a good dose of culture shock. It’s a way to ground my views on life. In the winter sports realm, it’s a way to see mountains with a new perspective. A recent expedition to Kyrgyzstan did just that—and after seeing the country’s newly found/remote skiing subculture firsthand, this trip conjured a few new realizations as Mollie and I immersed ourselves in the Central Asian culture.
12th century Karakhanid Mausoleum
Viewpoints of the west/America
In the past, my expeditions were focused solely on discovering new lines and riding them in a unique and aesthetic nature. Experiencing the culture was merely an afterthought. And while I’ve learned that culture—for me—has become a big piece in getting the most from an expedition, I always return to my foundation of riding. Since I don’t consider myself an artist with a paintbrush, I do consider myself an artist when it comes to snowboarding. It’s cliché to say that snowboarding is art, but for me it really is. The mountain’s face is my white canvas, and a unique and/or aesthetic line helps the viewer capture the emotion of my art.
Horse access deep into the backcountry of the Tian Shan Range
These unique lines take place among Walnut trees in the Khrebet Babash-Ata Mountains. Utah blower-like snow in the heart of Asia.
I remember working on this shot with Mollie – capturing the last remaining light on the village. In this region, there are no TVs, iPads, or reliable Internet to plague their simple life. Are the people in the village below in a warm room drinking hot tea and sitting by a fire? Perhaps, exchanging stories of ancestors and their culture to their children/grandchildren? Are some frantically working away avoiding the cast of the mountains shadow before darkness? Who below is at ease with a blank mind after the cold wintry day? On my mind— bliss, rhythm, smoothness, flow…
I love how you feel the warmth of the village in the sunset alpenglow light. At this point in time, Facebook friend requests, blog posts, and the general culture we succumb to in the west doesn’t matter. The powder engulfs my body and provides a protective barrier from the modern outside world.