Sit back, clear your mind, now think of Mongolia, what images are conjured up? Ghinggis Khan, Attila the hun, warriors on horseback with bows racing across grass plains. Today in modern Mongolia you can still find traditions, a culture and a way of life that isn’t that far removed from the images that run through your mind.
On a frozen lake, an hour from the town of Ulgli in western Mongolia, two teams of archers meet, they will be competing in ice archery.
With blunted arrows the aim is to hit targets placed behind a small mound of snow, the targets are round and made of weaved camel hide..
It’s very competitive, team members stand near the targets shouting encouragement to team members and equally trying to put off the other side.
During the competition archers will shoot 30 arrows at the targets from a distance of 40 meters. The winner is the archer who has not only hit the target the most but the one who hits and rolls the ball to the mound of snow.
The skill involved is impressive, the competition undertaken with a great deal of sportsmanship and in a friendly nature. Ice archery is a tradition that is being kept alive through passion and dedication of the ice archers.