Ski Joring and Crystal Carnival in Leadville, Colorado

Leadville, Colorado, ski joring
Ski joring in Leadville, Colorado

Imagine a place where skiing, cowboys and horses come together in a winter wonderland. The location is Leadville, Colorado and the sport, ski joring, takes place at the Crystal Carnival. This winter sport has been taking place in Leadville since 1949!

What the heck is ski joring and how does one win this event?

Ski joring is a timed competition where a skier is pulled down a snowy road by a horse and rider. The racecourse features gates, jumps and rings. Penalties are assessed by missing gates or jumps, and by missing or dropping any of the rings.

Leadville, ski joring
Colorado cowgirl on horseback with skier.

Crystal Carnival

While I’ve personally never done ski joring, I have been on a fast moving sled dog ride pulled by a team of mixed breed dogs with thick fur coats  on a snow-covered trail in Fairbanks, Alaska.

It is an exhilarating experience when animals – horses or dogs – harness their energy and run like the wind. Clearly, these animals are happy and love running outdoors. Yet it takes a special horse, a patient horse, to pull a skier behind them while listening to the commands of the equestrian on their back.

Leadville skier
Leadville girl goes ski joring in Colorado.

Horse parade

What’s a winter vacation without kids, horses and a parade? Leave your dog behind for the ski joring event – no dogs allowed – but bring the kids to this family-friendly event.

Have you tried ski joring? Were you and the horse a successful team?

Horse lovers, follow Equine Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter and follow @Colorado on Twitter.
If You Go:

The ski joring competitions takes place in Leadville, Colorado the first weekend in March. Check the website for details, or call (855) 488-1222.

Article written by Nancy D. Brown. Ski jouring photos courtesy Steve Sunday. For more information on this sport visit the North American Ski Joring Association.

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