When did humans start skiing?
Over 10,000 years ago, the ancestors in the Altay region of Xinjiang were already skiing through the mountains and forests for hunting, with fur snowboards under their feet and a single ski pole in hand. This scene is depicted on the rock walls of the Dundra Brak Cave in Handegai Township, Altay City, a mural accidentally discovered by herdsmen that dates back over 12,000 years.
This is why Altay is globally recognized as the origin of human skiing.
A Kazakh uncle living in Altay, is the fourth-generation inheritor of the intangible cultural heritage of fur skiing.
Fur skis are considered one of the oldest types of skis.
Back then, there were no ready-made ski runs in the mountains and forests. Skiers had to navigate over rocks and fallen trees, a feat modern skis cannot accomplish. On the ascent, the fur on the skis provided increased friction for better grip. On the descent, the fur’s alignment reduced friction, allowing the skis to move as fast as lightning.
These stories are recorded in the Descente store at the Altay General Mountain Ski Resort. In mid-November, Luxeplace.com was invited to follow the premium professional sports brand Descente to explore the origins of skiing in Xinjiang Altay.
Altay, a Turkic word meaning “gold,” is named for the gold deposits in the Altay Mountains. There are seventy-two valleys in the Altay Mountains, each with gold. Today, this area is not only rich in physical gold, but also metaphorical gold, as exemplified by a slogan at the top of the Gold Avenue at Jiangjun Mountain Ski Resort: “Green water and lush mountains are as valuable as mountains of gold and silver, and so are the icy, snowy lands.”
Altay has now developed into one of the pilgrimage sites for domestic ski enthusiasts.
On the Jiangjun Mountain ski slopes, numerous skiing enthusiasts slide down towards the distant snow-capped mountains in the sunset’s afterglow, with the crisp sound of skis on snow ringing in their ears.
For ski enthusiasts, this is the most pleasant sound of winter.
After skiing, friends can gather in the Descente store for a cup of coffee, sharing their equipment experiences and feelings about the day’s skiing, and trying on the brand’s latest winter products.
This is the skiing lifestyle scene created by Descente for ski enthusiasts.
During this trip to Altay, both beginners and advanced skiers found their own joy on the ski slopes.
Additionally, Descente held a launch event named “It All Starts with Skiing” at Jiangjun Mountain Ski Resort and built a temporary mountain snow fort art installation, which became a popular check-in spot for many skiers.
Skiing has always been deeply embedded in Descente’s brand DNA:
- In 1954, Descente invited professional skiers to serve as brand consultants, initiating the brand’s journey in developing ski wear.
- In 1961, the Descente trademark was born. “DESCENTE” is a French word meaning “descent.” The brand’s arrow symbol represents the three techniques of skiing: “straight descent,” “diagonal descent,” and “horizontal descent.”
- In 1973, Descente’s DEMOPANTS ski pants were introduced, quickly becoming synonymous with ski pants of the 1970s.
- In 1979, the “MAGIC SUIT Magic Sports Suit” was launched.
- In 2022, “SCHEMATECH SKY” was introduced, upgrading traditional woven fabrics to knit fabrics, making the touch as skin-like as possible.
At this event, Descente officially announced its partnership with the Chinese National Snowboard U-Shaped Field Team and the Chinese National Alpine Ski Team, supplying the national teams with equipment and launching a national team-inspired series.
Sports brands, especially those related to outdoor and extreme sports, should engage with users in real-life scenarios and dialogues.
On the ski slopes, in front of the Altai Mountains, and in the rush of adrenaline, what people remember is not just a Descente ski suit, but a deep connection to the brand’s skiing DNA. It’s the equipment that accompanies them as they progress and conquer extreme sports, adding rich storytelling and relevance to the brand and its products.
As people increasingly venture outdoors to explore nature and themselves, the winter snow economy remains hot, providing sports brands with a perfect opportunity for scenario marketing. In the future, storytelling will continue to be a key point of innovation for sports brands.
| Image Credit: Luxeplace.com, Descente
丨Reporter: Wang Junyang
| Editor: LeZhi