What is Skijoring?

Photo of man skiing

Skijoring. Funny sounding word, huh? Say it with me: Ski-jor-ing. All together now: Skijoring. Now say it three times fast. Skijoring, Skijoring, Skijoring. Okay, I’m just kidding on that one. But now that we know how to say it, what in the world does this funny-sounding word mean?

That part is simple. Skijoring is literally defined as “ski driving” in Norwegian. But here in Red River, when we talk about skijoring we are talking about being pulled on skis by horses.

Although skijoring dates back centuries in Europe, it made its way to us in the 1940’s when WWII vets in Leadville, Colorado tied ropes to horses to tow skiers in place of ski lifts. It didn’t take long before this turned into a competitive sport.

During the competition, skiers are timed as they make their way through the race courses and navigate different jumps and obstacles. Some skijoring competitions offer open class and sport class for both skiers and snowboarders. There are even a few competitions that include a novice class, kid races, long jumps, shovel races, as well as other activities.

The personality and energy of each skijoring competition will vary by location, giving you a feel of the local culture. Though it’s no surprise that the best skijoring events normally take place in town, attracting the attention of everyone in the area.

Want to experience a skijoring competition for yourself? Luckily for you, the annual skijoring competition in Red River is around January 14 & 15! In 2017 the event featured a straight course on River Street, giving the best presentation for visitors. This competition, hosted by Skijor America, is the first in a cup series of races and is expected to attract numerous competitors as they prepare for the new competitive season.

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