By Heather Burke, Boston.com Correspondent
What do you get when you combine skiing with cowboys, horses, and long snowy winters in Montana? Ski joring!
We arrived in Whitefish Montana just in time for the Ski Joring World Championships, part of this great ski town’s Winter Carnival. What a crazy event. Cowboys race their ranch horses along a snowy track, pulling skiers over a series of jumps at 25 to 30 mph. The skier has to loop three rings, navigate gates, and land the big jumps all while holding the tow rope behind the horse.
It’s Winter XGames Wild West style, with Montanan cowboys and cowgirls wearing chaps and ten gallon hats and charging across the Whitefish airport landing strip with a skier in tow. There was one snowboarder too, so that would be “snowboard joring.” At the World Championship Ski Joring, several Canadians crossed the border to compete. The venue, with a view of Whitefish Mountain Resort and Glacier National Park in the distance, was spectacular. Watching skiers fly off huge jumps keeping their balance, grabbing three rings and steering through ski gates, all while gripping their rope rodeo style at 30 mph behind their horse was unforgettable. Giddy up to Whitefish Montana, for this must see ski joring event.
By Heather Burke, Whitefish Montana Photos by Greg Burke