What Do We Do For Fun Around Here?... Ski Joring!
Extreme Winter Sport: Ski Joring
This weekend was the third annual Ski Joring event in Silverton, Colorado, a town known for some of the best snow in the world! Basically, Ski Joring is an extreme winter sport where a horse and rider pull a skier at a fast pace through a course that has gates, jumps and rings. The skier is timed through the course, and penalties are assessed by missing gates or jumps, and by missing or dropping any of the rings (two seconds each). The competitors race for cash prizes, and teams are made up by a random draw before the start. Basically, you’ll see die-hard skijorers and their trusty steeds race and jump—right down snow-packed main street!
Skijoing has evolved into a sport that uses a horse and rider that pulls a skier down a snow-packed road over multiple jumps while retrieving rings in a timed competition. This event really took off in Colorado in the 1950’s. Ski Joring events include multiple classes: the Open Class, for experienced competitive teams; the Sport Class, for beginners; and the Snowmobile Class, for inexperienced and younger teams who are looking to get into the sport.
The drive to Silverton was a beautiful one, a bit windy butt the views were amazing. Silverton is a National Historic Landmark, part of the San Juan Skyway, the summer destination for the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train ride, a recreational paradise in Winter for snowmobiling, skiing, sledding, ice skating, ice climbing, and ice fishing. Secluded at 9,318 feet, a visit to Silverton is one that you will not forget any time of year. A perfect combination of supreme natural beauty and magnificent Victorian charm.
The sport of Ski Joring began several hundred years ago in Scandinavian countries as a way to travel during the long winters. Laplanders skied on Nordic skis holding the reins attached to reindeer. Ski Joring found its way to North America, where ranchers attached a long rope to the saddle horn of a horse that was ridden at high speeds down a long straight-away. Currently, the sport of equestrian Ski Joring has become a highly specialized competitive sport, where competitors must navigate a course of jumps, gates and sometimes spear rings. Competitive Ski Joring competitions are currently taking place in more than five states in the USA, and in several countries worldwide. In some parts of the world, skiers are pulled behind dogs, mules and snowmobiles. Whatever the means, the sport of Ski Soring is growing rapidly, and is just as much fun for spectators as it is for competitors. Courtesy of the North American Ski Joring Association.