News, Culture & Society

Enthusiasts come together for sport known as ‘skijoring’

Enthusiasts come together to celebrate teh spectacle of as ‘skijoring’- a winter sport where a skier is pulled along by a horse, dog or even a vehicle

  • ‘Skijoring’ – a partnership bringing together cowboy and ski culture – is attracting many followers in the American heartland and now even has its own competition 
  • Skijoring is a winter sport in which a person on skis is pulled by a horse, canines or a motor vehicle
  • The Big Sky Skijoring Association recently held a two-day competition on February 9 to 10 and it was held across four states in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana
  • It is believed to have originated in  Scandinavia where it was used a mode of winter transport that involved a rider directing a horse via long reins from a set of skis behind the steed

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It’s an unusual past-time many will not have heard of before.

But ‘skijoring’ – a partnership bringing together cowboy and ski culture – is attracting many followers in the American heartland.

Skijoring is a distinctly Western tradition that brings together cowboy and ski culture into an entertaining spectacle that requires coordination between a horse, rider and skier.

The Big Sky Skijoring Association recently held a two-day competition on February 9 to 10. It was the fourth of eight races on the Skijoring America circuit which includes stops in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.   

The event had 91 teams competing in junior, women, novice, sport and open categories. Each team was allowed one run a day.

However each run had different combinations of horse, rider and skier allowed individuals more than one run per category.

A horse and rider tow a downhill skier on a 33-foot rope through a course fraught with jumps, gates, banked turns and sometimes rings for skiers to collect on their arms. 

It is thought that the origins of the so-called sport are in Scandinavia where it was used a mode of winter transport that involved a rider directing a horse via long reins from a set of skis behind the steed.

Justa Adams, the Big Sky Skijoring association board member who organized the race, told Explore Big Sky: ‘I’m absolutely thrilled from the feedback from all the competitors, skiers and riders.

‘It was a very fun and safe event. I could not be happier with how it turned out.’

Dozens of spectators stood on snowbanks piled high along a track encircled with orange plastic fencing, while inside the track, skiers were being pulled by rider-guided horses.

Skijoring started back in the early 1900s and was an exhibition sport at the 1928 Olympics. The term is Norwegian and can be loosely translated as ‘ski driving.’ Not only have horses been used to tow skiers but also dogs, snowmobiles and cars can be used. 

Tim Evans, (pictured) from Casper, Wyoming, competes in the skijoring event during the Sundance Winter Festival in Wyoming on Saturday and is pulled along by a horse and rider 

Shannon Gaylord , (pictured), looks like she is enjoying herself in a skijoring event during the Sundance Winter Festival

Shannon Gaylord , (pictured), looks like she is enjoying herself in a skijoring event during the Sundance Winter Festival

Kevin Wilson, (pictured), is riding how as he competes in a skijoring show during the Sundance Winter Festival

Kevin Wilson, (pictured), is riding how as he competes in a skijoring show during the Sundance Winter Festival

A skier is (pictured)attached to 78-stone horses as they thunder down a snowy race track compete in a bizarre sport known as skijoring. Horses and riders are specially trained to pull the skiers who are attached to the animals by a tow rope. The competitors are seen here tackling jumps and obstacles as they race down a street in Helena, Montana

A skier is (pictured)attached to 78-stone horses as they thunder down a snowy race track compete in a bizarre sport known as skijoring. Horses and riders are specially trained to pull the skiers who are attached to the animals by a tow rope. The competitors are seen here tackling jumps and obstacles as they race down a street in Helena, Montana

Those taking part in last weekend's competition are all vying for a place in the national finals competition taking place March

Those taking part in last weekend’s competition are all vying for a place in the national finals competition taking place March

Dozens of spectators stood on snowbanks piled high along a track encircled with orange plastic fencing, while inside the track, skiers were being pulled by rider-guided horses

Dozens of spectators stood on snowbanks piled high along a track encircled with orange plastic fencing, while inside the track, skiers were being pulled by rider-guided horses

The Big Sky Skijoring Association recently held a two-day competition on February 9 to 10. It was the fourth of eight races on the Skijoring America circuit which includes stops in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana

The Big Sky Skijoring Association recently held a two-day competition on February 9 to 10. It was the fourth of eight races on the Skijoring America circuit which includes stops in Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana

Teams of skiers and their dogs took part in the event and this adorable pooch can be seen taking off from the starting line during the Skijoring Loppet in Golden Valley

Teams of skiers and their dogs took part in the event and this adorable pooch can be seen taking off from the starting line during the Skijoring Loppet in Golden Valley

Kevin Wilson navigates his way over a large mound of snow as he is pulled along by a rider and horse at the Sundown Winter Festival on Saturday 

Kevin Wilson navigates his way over a large mound of snow as he is pulled along by a rider and horse at the Sundown Winter Festival on Saturday 

Ally Anderson's dog Teddy, a 3-year-old Labrador retriever, looks exhausted after crossing the finish line as her other dog, Dudley, a 2-year-old Labrador retriever, watches others finish during the Skijoring Loppet

Ally Anderson’s dog Teddy, a 3-year-old Labrador retriever, looks exhausted after crossing the finish line as her other dog, Dudley, a 2-year-old Labrador retriever, watches others finish during the Skijoring Loppet

Jessica Pulliam puts her medal on her dog Boyzen, a 3-year-old greyster, after completing the Skijoring Loppet on Saturday

Jessica Pulliam puts her medal on her dog Boyzen, a 3-year-old greyster, after completing the Skijoring Loppet on Saturday

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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