Thursday, January 27, 2011

World Skijoring Championships

This coming weekend, Jan. 29th-30th, the World Skijoring Championships are taking place in the town of Whitefish, Montana, just 136 miles north of Missoula.

Registration starts tomorrow, the 28th and competitions will be held at the Whitefish Airport from noon to 4p.m. the 29th and 30th.

The skijoring "will be the signature Whitefish Carnival competition that combines a Montana-style winter extreme sport mix of two of Montana's favorites: horses and skiing." (link)

There is an estimated $20,000 in cash and prizes. Spectators are free and coming to watch is encouraged. The cost of parking is $5 per car. A portion of the fee will be donated to the non-profit Human Therapy on Horseback.

According to Whitefish's tourism website (link), "this year's World Skijoring Championships will have three divisions: the Open Division for the most experienced competitors vying for the biggest cash purse; a Sport Division for those who are less experienced, and a Novice Division."

If you want to participate, follow this link for rules and general questions.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Skijoring in the USA

Upcoming in U.S. skijoring competitions is the 98th annual Winter Carnival in Steamboat Springs, Colo. Feb. 2-6.

Steamboat Springs proudly lays claim to having "produced 56 Winter Olympians from 1932-2002" and "sending athletes to all but two Winter Olympics since 1932." From the Olympics to annual town events, this town seems to thrive on snow sports, doing them in a unique way. No matter the weather, the Winter Carnival is held every year in the second week in February.

All of the Winter Carnival street competition events are horse pulled events, and all but the shovel race are for youth under 18. In-person registration is needed in advance and will open Friday Jan. 28 at the Steamboat Springs Visitor's Center and closes on Friday Feb. 4.The ski joring competition has two divisions; one for ages 6 to 9 and one for ages 10 to 14. The contestants flat race down freshly snow covered Lincoln Avenue. At this competition, the fastest time wins. Other "events that embrace [Steamboat Spring's] western heritage and highlight Steamboat's tradition of winter sports" include ring and box, ring and spear, street slalom, donkey jump and shovel race. 

 Link: Steamboat Springs, Co.

What is skijoring?

Here are links to some basic information on the sport of skijoring that have proved helpful to me.

Link: Skijoring with Horses

Link: the Extreme Winter Equestrian Sport

Link: Thrills and Chills of Skijoring

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Skijoring in Switzerland - St. Moritz

Up coming in the world of elite skijoring is the annual White Turf races at St. Moritz Switzerland, February 6, 13 and 20. The annual racing event will take place over the first three consecutive Sundays of the month, ending with the team earning the best combined score of the three races being awarded and crowned “King of the Engadine." Although skijoring has Scandinavian roots, it was in Switzerland and at St. Moritz where the sport of skijoring was "born."

Since 1906 St. Moritz has hosted skijoring races on the frozen lake.  30,000 spectators are expected to attend this year for the thrill of watching this distinctly winter sport; Thoroughbred racehorses pulling their ski clad drivers over thick ice and through the powdery white snow.

The cost of attending the event is $52-$63, but if the stakes and prize money indicate anything, the race is worth watching. Last year's combined prize money was at $478,279, was almost half a million. And the Grand Prix of St. Moritz alone has a prize of $115,364.36, "the highest prize money for a horse race in Switzerland."