Saratoga, Wyoming’s Popular Skijoring Races Are Back In 2024
If you haven't seen this extreme winter sport, it's hard to really picture. So, you should make plans now to go the wild, exciting and action packed...
It takes guts to get on skis and get pulled across the snowy, icy ground. It take extreme guts to get on skis, get pulled across the snowy, icy ground by a horse going full speed.
Hats off to the competitors, but just standing along the track and watching, is enough to give you a thrill. Throw in a couple adult beverages or hot chocolate and you're ready to settle in for a weekend of fun.
If you've never heard of Skijoring, or seen Skijoring, it's awesome.
- Skijoring is a team sport. The teams, are made up of the horse, horse rider and skier.
- The object is for each team to work together and race down the track as fast as you can, while collecting rings along the way.
- The track is snow and ice, but also includes obstacles like jumps.
- The team with the best time is the winner.
The races officially began hundreds of years ago, but in the early 1900's became an official competition in the Nordic Games. In those days, it wasn't horses that the skier was being pulled behind, it was Reindeer.
Yep, if they're good enough for Santa Claus, they were good enough for the competitors in the Nordic Games.
In the 1910's, Switzerland and France began using horses to pull the skiers. By the time Skijoring made it's way to the States, it was all horses.
By the 1950's Skijoring had made it's way across the country and became a popular winter activity for cowboys, extreme winter sport fans and competitors.
Still today you'll find quite a few Skijoring competitions across Wyoming, and a handful of other states.
I've been witness to Skijoring in Saratoga, WY...and it was awesome. I recommend you check it out when it returns in 2024. The Skijoring weekend is happening February 3 & 4 at the Buck Springs Arena and is put on by the Saratoga Lions Club with Discover Carbon County, WY.
If you're wondering who can participate in the event, the answer is anyone.
Here's a rundown of the divisions and rules, from the Saratoga Skijoring website.
GENERAL RACE DESCRIPTION DIVISION AND COMPETITION CRITERIA
A team consists of a horse, rider and skier and will get 1 run each day. i.e. a skier can not ski behind the same horse more than one time per day, a horse may only run 2 times per day and a skier can only run a maximum of 4 times per day***
OPEN - 3D More experienced riders and skiers.
NOVICE/EXHIBITION CLASS (Beginners) Teams are considered to be new to the sport, beginning level competitors riding horses that may not have speed enough to be competitive in the Open or Sport. A team consists of horse, rider and skier, a skier can not ski behind the same horse more than once.
Youth - Non competitive fun run, one participant must be under the age of 14.
You won't want to miss all the action of Skijoring in February.