Horses, skiers and snowboarders at the Green River Valley Winter Carnival
by Pinedale Online!
March 7, 2005
What do you get when you mix winter in Wyoming, horses and skiing? Ski Joring! Riders on horses pull skiers and snowboarders down a course of jumps and tight cuts in a timed race event. Jumps are made using hay bales with packed snow for ramps. Some of the more experienced skiers and snowboarders get some incredible air as they try to maximize their jumps and put on a show for spectators. Winners received medals.
Kids of varying ages and skill levels participated in Saturdayís ski joring event during the 4th annual Green River Valley Winter Carnival at the Pinedale Rodeo Grounds. Julie Early brought her horse and served as the pulling team power for the racers.
The racers had to navigate four hay bale jumps along the winding course to complete the run. If the racer crashed on one of the jumps, Julie rode back with the pull rope and the racer continued the course to the finish. The racers with the fastest overall time won 1st, 2nd and 3rd place medals. This was a fun event for both racers and spectators.
Wyoming canít claim credit to inventing ski joring, although the sport does fit perfectly with our long winters and western ranching lifestyle. Ski joring began as a sport in Scandanavian countries hundreds of years ago as a means of travel over the winter using Nordic skis and reindeer. Today, equestrian ski joring is a highly specialized competitive sport with scheduled events in many states. In other places, skiers might be pulled behind snowmobiles, mules or even dogs.
As a side note, the North American Ski Joring Association is headquartered out of Bondurant, Wyoming, between Pinedale and Jackson Hole. They hold sanctioned and non-sanctioned race events during the winter in a number of states. The North American Ski Joring Association (NASJA) was formed in 1999 making ski joring a sanctioned sport.
More pictures and in-depth story on the Green River Valley Winter Carnival ski joring event will be in Thursdayís edition of the local newspapers. The Pinedale Roundup newspaper was the organizer of this yearís Winter Carnival.
Click on the links below for more stories and photos from all the fun events at this year's Green River Valley Winter Carnival. For those with high-speed internet access, there is a video clip of one of the racers skiing in Saturday's Ski Joring event (requires Windows Media Player to view).
Photos by Clint Gilchrist and Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!