Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Bored This Winter? Try Ski Joring

Tuesday February 10 2015

While dogs or reindeer pulling skiers as a means of travel in Scandinavian countries has been around for hundreds of years, the sport of ski joring (the Norwegian word skikjøring means ski driving), was first a demonstration sport in the 1928 second Olympic Winter Games in Switzerland, with skiers driving a single horse from behind.

Equestrian ski joring now consists of a galloping horse (in most cases!) pulling a skier through an obstacle course by a rope attached to the saddle. Leadville, Colorado's now-famous ski joring competitions began in 1949. Equestrian ski joring events occur in 5 U.S. states, with the national championships being held in Whitefish, Montana every year since 2009.

The Wood River Extreme Ski Joring Association hosted a weekend of ski joring in Bellevue, Idaho at the Swiftsure Ranch Therapeutic Equestrian Center, where local riders and skiers teamed up for a bit of speed and excitement. This was a straight course for a couple of hundred feet, with the rider required to grab one hoop, and the skier having to negotiate two jumps, a couple of cones, and snatch 6 hoops. $5000 was up for grabs.

There almost wasn't enough snow, after it rained the night before. There were a few mud puddles by the end of the first day.

Sprinting down the lane!

This horse was excited and ran more up and down like a hobby horse than forward.

Intense concentration by this rider who just grabbed his hoop, and his horse.

This horse was really excited!

Who needs stirrups?

Catching some air

This gal catches air in the saddle!

This horse had a mind of his own and wasn't listening to the rider's steering. The horse thought *he* should take the jump. They didn't fall!


This was the junior or peewee division. More my speed!


  1. I was there schlepping the tamales etc. at the food booth to raise funds for Swiftsure Ranch. It looks like lots of fun and perfect for my horse loving granddaughter and gonzo skier grandson to get involved in.

  2. Love this! Thanks for sharing these great photos :)

  3. That looks dangerous (and fun too), but it's too scary for me to even contemplate. The photos are marvelous!

  4. wow can't believe that one horse didn't wipe out!! looks like a blast tho!

  5. Looks like great fun for the young at heart and body. Actually, I would think some kind of harness on the horse would be a little safer and more practical than just a rope tied to the saddle.

    Did just a little Googling on that. They do make harnesses for the horses and apparently, you can skijor by yourself actually driving your horse. Not sure the harness would do with a rider. Very interesting, nonetheless.

  6. Love the sport! Always wanted to try it! A photographer's paradise! You got some amazing shots!