The latest in extreme sport, yak skiing

Helen Lewis
Monday 04 July 2005 00:00 BST

An enterprising Tibetan called Peter Dorje is capitalising on the increasing demands of jaded holidaymakers by offering them the chance to hurtle up a mountain attached to a yak.

Every winter, Mr Dorje gives groups of tourists the chance to experience the sport in the Indian village of Manali. He takes up to five daredevils and his herd out of the village and into the surrounding hills to camp for the night. At first light, Mr Dorje leads one of his yaks to the top of the hill, where he ties it to a large rope, which is then looped round a tree to form a pulley system.

The nervous skier waits at the bottom with a bucket of pony-nuts, ready to tie him or herself to the other end of the rope on the signal from the top. Then a shake of the bucket will bring the hungry yak charging downhill, pulling the skier upwards at breakneck speed.

In the Asian edition of Time magazine, Mr Dorje has only one piece of advice: "Never shake the bucket of nuts before you're tied to the yak rope." Any panicked thrillseekers who do are likely to be confronted with half a ton of disgruntled yak heading towards them, and no means of escape.

Despite the imposing appearance of yaks, the magazine says Mr Dorje has developed a foolproof way to tame the 6ft-tall, lavishly horned, beasts. Although they have a robust digestive system designed to cope with moss, grass and lichen, the yaks are extremely partial to pain au chocolat, which Mr Dorje buys from the bakery at the northern end of town. Time has yak skiing in a Best of Asia edition, beside more sedate pursuits such as visiting Tokyo's parasite museum and sitting under what is says is the world's oldest tree.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in