The Craziest Winter Sport in Colorado: Skijoring

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.

Skijoring Championships in Leadville, Colorado 2015. HeidiTown.com
Leadville Ski Joring

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.

The Craziest Winter Sport in Colorado Skijoring. Leadville, CO 1
Leadville Ski Joring

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.

The Craziest Sport in Colorado, Leadville Ski Joring
These horses gallop!
Leadville Ski Joring

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.

The Craziest Winter Sport in Colorado: Skijoring
Meeker Skijor Races, courtesy photo

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.

Meeker Skijor Races, courtesy photo

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.

3 Comments


  1. Meeker has a brewery? I’ve heard about Blanco Cellars; in fact, we’ve had some wine delivered at our store for them from a distributor who doesn’t go to Meeker. I’ll have to check both out! And you know how I love Leadville Ski Joring. It scares the bejesus out of me, though!

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    1. They did NOT have a brewery the last time we visited. At the time, I thought that a brewery in Meeker would be a good business plan for someone and sure enough someone did it! We can’t wait to go in June.

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    2. Oh, and by the way, Blano Cellars has expanded since our last visit! They have outdoor space now. I am so excited. Love that business.

      Reply

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