There is nothing more beautiful than watching a horse and rider gallop. There is something a little magical about the way a good rider seems to simply float in the saddle. And we’ve watched a lot of good skiers lately, on the Olympics. The way they seem to fly down a mountain barely touching the snow, it’s exhilarating.
Now combine those things.
Magic + Exhilaration = ARGT (A Really Good Time)
Skijoring (or ski joring) is the act of being pulled behind a dog or horse while on skis. In skijoring with a dog, sometimes it is behind two dogs.
I have seen races involving skiing behind dogs in Winter Park and at Snow Mountain Ranch. As a dog-lover, it is fantastic to watch. I would never do it with my dog because I am seriously worried about what would happen if she saw a squirrel or rabbit, but I digress.
While watching dog skijoring is fun, watching skijoring with horses is another level. It’s fun but it’s a little unnerving. A human on skis being pulled by a rope that’s hooked to a galloping horse with rider, well, let’s just say I have held my breath a lot at the Leadville Ski Joring.
The Leadville Ski Joring & Crystal Carnival is March 4-6. This event is one heck of a good time. I should know. I’ve been several times and it never ever disappoints. Leadville’s proximity to the Front Range, however, means crowds (especially in good weather). They skijor in the middle of town, so, you’ll need to stake your claim early to a good spot along Harrison Avenue.
Update February 16, 2022: The Meeker event has been canceled due to lack of snow and our trip has been postponed.
This year, I’ll be at Meeker Skijor Races in Northwest Colorado. Meeker is a charming little town. I have visited when I was honored to be a judge at the Jammin’ Lamb Fest at the Meeker Classic Sheepdog Trials.
RELATED: Meet Me in Meeker, Part One
This is the third year of this event that happens at the Rio Blanco Fairgrounds in Meeker, Colorado. On February 19-20, the races will commence. There will be food vendors, a cowboy church on Sunday, and a Calcutta.
What’s a Calcutta? It’s a form of gambling that I cannot explain but you can read all about here! It’s usually open to anyone who wants to play. Some day I’ll figure it out and put my money on a skijoring team.
I have fond memories of Meeker and am eager to go back. We are staying Elk Mountain Inn in downtown. There have been some changes since we last visit. One of the coolest little businesses I’ve eve come across, Blanco Cellars and The Little Cheese Shop, has moved and now has a patio. And, Meeker now has a brewery, which was sorely missing from the town when we first visited.
Here is a comprehensive list of skijoring competitions in Colorado from Skijor International. These are skijoring with horses events. If you seek places to watch skijoring with a dog, competitions often run in conjunction with sled dog races. If you’d like to skijor with your dog privately, Frisco is a good place to start exploring the sport.