ski+snowshoe = skishoe | combining the efficiency and fun of skis with the ease and mobility of snowshoes.

I found this video the other day on Atlantic ( a great website). Sami (they use to be called Laps) are believed by many ski historians to have introduced the more modern Scandinavians (Norwegians/Swedish) to skiing.

There are some ski researchers that have put forth the idea that traditional reindeer herding was only made possible with the use of skis. Reindeer herding is believed to have started in the far east – north of modern day Mongolia – and spread north and west from there. All traditional reindeer herding cultures are documented to have used skis for herding, and some continue to use skis to this day.



Leaving the pass at the start of the climb

This time of year things start to slow down a bit at Altai Skis and I can sneak away for more skiing …. testing, I mean. This last week has seen an abundance of new snow and I got out for some skiing on Tuesday (4/17) and again on Thursday (4/19) to confirm my findings….. I have mixed the days a bit in these pictures, but they were both excellent late season powder.



Snowy Trees !

Snow depth at the lake (click image)! šŸ˜Æ

Sherman Pass is quite high – the highest all season in Washington State at 5600 feet. Near the Canadian border and in the interior it is cool and relatively dry compared to the Cascades. This year has been an above average snow year and as of these excursions the snowpack at 6000 ft was 88 inches – deepest of the season.


Late season powder is not unusual here, but it degrades quick so one must be opportunistic about catching it. Ā ā„šŸ™‚


Trees at the lake


The Tiak track is inside of the ski track


I have been shooting images and video to put together a more detailed look at how to use Tiaks (single poles). A lot of these shots are video stills.








Wind Sculpting near the summit


Rime on burned trees from the ’88 fire










Clouds and Rime


Why we backcountry ski…


Summit of Sherman


Steeply down


Coyote tracks up high


A favorite line šŸ¤

















In mid January, my daughter and her husband to be came up for the Hoks Festival at Sitzmark, and on a free day after the festival they joined Lisa and I for a day of touring in the Kettle Range. The weather was cool and snowy the whole day, and the snow finally had a supportable base, often lacking in the early to mid winter skiing in the Kettles. We did a lot of bushwhacking and found some powder on the way down…. All in all a great day in our local mountains.


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2018 Altai Ski Festival

January 20th 2018 is the 3rd annual Altai Skis Hoks and ski festival at Sitzmark Ski Area in NE Washington, Okanogan Highlands.


Nils’ Map of the Highlands Area with some skier points of interest


The Okanogan Highlands are a high mountainous area in the far north central Ā part of Washington State. The Highlands are remote and very rural, and in the winter, cold and snowy. Sitzmark, one of the smallest ski areas in the state, has one chair and one rope tow. Views are expansive, north into Canada (less then 20 miles north), west to the North Cascades, and east to the Kettle Range. Sitzmark rarely gets a big snowpack but with consistent cold temperatures it does not lose much snow either.

Altai Skis has had a festival there for the last two years, featuring free demos, lessons, and tours. Discount lift tickets are available Ā for those who wish to ride the lifts. Altai Skis will have Hoks and Koms there for people to try, Bring your own Hoks if you have them


2017 images



Lisa and I (Nils) went up yesterday ( January 15th) to check out the conditions and skiing was great – cold snow and a beautiful day up there.


Looking west to the Cascades

North to Canada

Looking north to Canada

Looking East to the Kettle Range




This article by Kade KrichkoĀ just came out (April 19th 2017) and is a fairly good discussion on what is going on these days in the Chinese Altai Mountains. I added a few pictures below from my tripsĀ to the Altai from the last 10 years.


Chokue, a famous old time skier in Khom

Khom traditional ski race

Center of Asia – with the Altai Mountains circled is the companion site to our Altai site. We thought it would be good to have a informationalĀ site dedicated to using skishoes in the many ways people do.

You will find some posts on field work being done on Hoks, kids using them (the Hokstars!), schools, and some user posts as well.

We also will add instructional information over time, using skishoes in different terrain and conditions, as well as the pros and cons on different bindings, and, of course, using the Tiaks (single poles).

There will be lots of images (see the Gallery page) as well as some great new videos for this year.

We welcome comments, user feedback, requests, and contributions.

Happy Skishoeing!

Nils Larsen


Hok Festival

Rich Landers, longtime outdoor writer for the Spokesman Review in Spokane, WA joined us at the first Altai Skis Hok Festival at Sitzmark Ski Hill in the Okanogan Highlands of NE WA. Rich is a longtime nordic and backcountry skier and was curious about skishoeing. He picked it up quickly and wrote this great article on the sport in general. Just recently another appeared in the Seattle Times, you can see it here

Rich Lander’s Spokesman review article on Skishoeing


It looks like We will have a Sitzmark Festival again this year. Our date right now is January 28th (Saturday). Mark it on your calendars!


Hok Festival

Hoksters at Sitzmark February 2016


Sitzmark Ski Area

Sitzmark Ski Area

Skishoes are playful by nature – letting you goĀ where you want and explore where you will. Perfect for kids, they are easy to use, easy to adjust as kids grow, simple toĀ put on and take off, and let kidsĀ take on any little hill they come across – repeatedly if they want. They are the, “go outside and play”Ā skiā€¦. Continue reading

TiakĀ [tīăk] means stick in theĀ local languages in the Altai Mountains of North Central Asia. Tiak is also the nameĀ for the single pole used inĀ all the traditional skiing in that region. Prior toĀ 1900, the single pole was used by pretty muchĀ all skiers in the world! Continue reading

Eliminating Nature Deficit Disorder! šŸ™‚

Last year we started getting requests from schools for Hoks so the kids could go skishoeing around their school grounds (yes, some people are lucky enough to live where they can do that from school). Continue reading