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Page last updated at 00:47 GMT, Sunday, 3 July 2005 01:47 UK

Asia's newest sport - yak skiing

Yak
Yaks are found mainly in high, cold mountainous areas

The American magazine Time has recommended the little-known sport of yak skiing in India as one of the 10 best ways in Asia to relax the mind.

The magazine's Asian edition says this "implausible extreme sport" involves going at rocket speed uphill attached by rope to a yak charging downhill.

The skier attracts the yak from up high by shaking a bucket of nuts, which must be put down fast before the fun begins.

"The sport may be a barmy injunction to even barmier tourists," Time says.

Nervous wait

According to the article, yak skiing is carried out in the Indian hill resort of Manali, where it is run by a Tibetan man, Peter Dorje.

It says that in winter, he takes up to five skiers and his herd of yaks to the hills above town, making an overnight camp.

Never shake the bucket of nuts before you're tied to the yak rope
Peter Dorje

In the morning, Mr Dorje heads to a high slope with his beasts, trailing out a rope behind him.

The yak skier waits nervously below, wearing skis and holding a bucket of pony nuts.

When Mr Dorje reaches the top, he ties a large pulley to a tree, loops the rope through it and attaches the cord to a stamping, snorting yak.

Then it is all down to the skier, who is tied to the other end of the rope.

They shake the bucket of nuts to attract the yak - and put it down fast as the beast charges down the mountain, pulling the skier upwards at terrifying speed.

"If you forget yourself in the excitement and shake the bucket too soon, you'll be flattened by two hairy tons of behemoth," the magazine says.

Mr Dorje's advice is: "Never shake the bucket of nuts before you're tied to the yak rope."

The magazine says it whole-heartedly recommends yak skiing in its annual guide to the finest tourist facilities of Asia.

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