Sunday, December 23, 2012

It's time to experience Equine Ski Joring

It’s time for me to experience equine ski joring – really experience it.

For those of you who read Western Horseman, you will know that the featured photo for the January 2013 issue isof ski joring. A week or so ago, I stood at the library magazine rack and just stared at it. The snow flying, the hair blowing back, the legs blurring and … No one knows about ski joring and yet here again- the second time in less than a full year – it’s being featured in WH. If WH, a well established and well read publication, is publishing articles and photos about it, then maybe it's on the rise or someone at WH is pushing for it's recognition and trying to make it grow. I’ll go for the first option. I think it’s gaining popularity and notoriety.

A couple of months ago, for an equine ski joring article I wrote on speculation (it may or may not be printed next month*), I dug deeper into my search for equine ski joring in my area. This time I extended my search to any in the Pacific Northwest; I found three.

  1. Teton Valley Ski Joring in Victor, ID -- The 2013 Great Snow Fest - January 18-21, 2013
  1. Sandpoint Ski Joring in Sandpoint, ID -- February 16 -17, 2013
  1. Wood River Extreme Ski-joring in Bellevue, ID - TBA

       All three sound really exciting and I hope to make it to at least one. As you can see, they are all in Idaho. This means a bit of a road trip for me, but I think it will be worth the effort and gas. 

*The magazine for which I speculatively wrote the article publishes the second week of the month. If it isn’t published then, I will post it here.* 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Continuing Oregon Ski Joring quest

Ski Bowl in the Summer
The third and last positive response I got from my summer queries came from Greg "CHOPPER" Moreno the Manager at Mt. Hood Adventure. Starting his e-mail with: "Wow that sounds crazy," he went on to say that he had seen dogs pulling people on skis, but not horses. His e-mail was promising though as he said that he could most likely could get a few horses, even though he was not really sure how he would get them hooked up. 

Another photo of Mt. Hood from Ski Bowl in the Summer
He also made the point that the Forest Service might have regulations about horses on multi use trails. I had not thought of this, so I gave the Zig Zag Ranger Station another call. This time a man answered my call. Again I was told that he had not heard of such a thing, and again I was put on hold so that he could ask his collegues.

The answer that came back was not promising. His conclusion is that I probably would not be able to take a horse on most of the trails. Some of them do not allow horses and others would probably not be found by a person behind a horse. He said that he really had a hard time visualizing it on the snow trails in his district. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The quest for Ski Joring in Oregon continues

Another good suggestion and positive response to my Oregon search came from Shelley Hakanson at Wy'east Nordic Center. She says that on Mt. Hood "there is a very big contingent of folks who skijor." She described how much fun she has had doing it with her dog and encouraged me to contact the Oregon Nordic Club.

While she is definitely coming from the angle of ski joring with dogs, her e-mail gave me an idea. The fact that people keep telling me they have only heard about ski joring with dogs makes me wonder if I need to shift my focus. Maybe I should be contacting dog ski-jorers and see if any of them are breaking the mold and ski joring with horses? 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The quest for Ski Joring in Oregon

As I said I would, this summer I looked into equine ski joring in Oregon. Busy with an internship, work and family, I did not explore as thoroughly as I would have liked. I did e-mail almost a dozen different groups around Mt. Hood though.  The response was mostly the same:
Wow! We have not heard of that one yet, good luck on your search.
Windells Camp

Sorry, we can't help you...
Mt. Hood Summer Ski Camps

Sorry, that's a new one for me.  Good luck!
Mt. Tracks Ski & Snowboard Shop

With good luck and never-heard-of-it responses, I have to admit I felt somewhat discouraged. I have never done ski joring. I've talked to people about how to go about doing it. Geoffrey Smith with the North American Ski Joring Association was very helpful when I wrote Keep Ski Joring Alive!  about how to start, but I have yet to try it.

However, it is also exciting to know that probably no one is doing it in Oregon, and the reception for it could be very good! Not everyone I e-mailed responded without leads or tips, several people had great suggestions.

One really good suggestion came from Betsy Valian of Valian's Ski Shop. She suggested I contact the Zig Zag Ranger Station to see if anyone has applied for permits for this activity.  According to Betsy, because Mount Hood is in the National Forest, the USFS keeps track of snow sports occurring on the trails. Her e-mail was very encouraging, and she promised to let me know if she hears of anything.

With her tip I called the Zig Zag Ranger station. I explained my query and was not surprise when the woman who answered my call said she not heard of such a sport. I then waited hopefully as she put me on hold to ask someone else. The answer was still the same. The Zig Zag Ranger Station has only heard of people ski joring with dogs.

The exploration continues.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sandpoint Idaho in the Summer

Kind of obvious...
So, it's happened again.

On my drive home from school this summer I passed through another skijoring town. While I wasn't able to stop, this time I knew we would pass by signs for Sandpoint Idaho.

Again, I forgot to post this photo until months later.

Now as I look at websites for Sandpoint I wish I could have tarried there awhile...

One of my goals this summer is to search out skijoring here in Oregon! If you are in Oregon or have a tip to find skijorers here - Let me know! I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Red Lodge 2012

The last non-sanctioned Race according to the NASJA race calendar  is the National Finals Ski-Joring Races happening this weekend in Red Lodge March 9th - 11th. With a 700+ foot course and 20-some slalom gates and four jumps it sounds like a fun course! 
Be there by registration time on Friday night 6-9 pm. There apparently is no late registration, and it sounds like they mean it!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sandpoint and Leadville 2012

Recently I received an e-mail about the up coming and annual Leadville event. I checked the weather and snow depth. Leadville has about 20 inches today! Lets hope for more. Plan for March 3 & 4th. The 62nd annual Leadville Ski Joring and Crystal Carnival is on!
Just a quick note to let you know that Ski Joring in Leadville is a go!! We were skeptical, and waiting on snow, but it's finally here, and the City and County crews are all on with us to haul snow!!
We aslo will have the Calcutta back on the avenue, so bring your checkbooks and thick wallets to buy your team...and we are excited to have you all back in Leadville for the Grandaddy of Them All!
All events are sponsored by Leadville Elks Lodge #236, and Registration, Awards, and the Dance will all be there again. Get your rooms reserved, and if you need any help with that, let us know!
Thanks for coming, and we'll see you when you get here!!
Paul and Dee Dee Copper
Jim O'Neal
Joe Manly
Barb Brink
George and Connie Sebastyen
Jason Dahl
Eddie Kerrigan
John Neufeld
Lou Dube
Steve Sunday

And don't forget about Sandpoint Idaho ski joring either! It's their second year! February 18-19th. 
Last year event organizer Matt Smart of Mountain Horse Adventures, said: "The vibe from the crowd was much more exciting then we had imagined. Many of the spectators even said that they'll compete next year". If you can get there - Go! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Diagram of a Course at Whitefish

 Recently I was asked if I have a diagram for setting up the saddle and rope.
Unfortunately, I don't.
However, as I was looking at what I do have I came across a diagram for a course. Vernon Kiser sent me a course they have used for skijoring at Whitefish that I for some reason did not post.
There are many different ways you can set out a course. As you can see, this particular layout is in a horse-shoe shape with parallel courses for the horse and the skier. For the rules used at Whitefish, you can find a PDF at their website.

And if you have a diagram to how you set up your saddle and rope, I'd love to see it!