February 1st, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 5
A rope, a horse and a pair of skis- KRA presents Skijoring
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Marguerite Amstadt Photo
The Kananaskis Rodeo Association is bringing skijoring to the Pass! Pictured above is
a skijoring event in Whitefish, Montana, where the activity has been part of the Whitefish Winter Carnival since the 1960s.
Pass Herald Reporter
Crowsnest Pass is teeming with winter activities, and a brand new one just got added to the list: skijoring.

Presented by the Kanaskis Rodeo Association (KRA) during the Wintervention festival, skijoring is a timed winter race where a horse-and-rider pull a skier through an obstacle course. It’s a race against the clock that challenges the skier to land jumps, navigate through gates and grab rings.

“We’ve talked about doing a skijoring event for a little while now,” says board member Sacha Anderson. “When Crowsnest Wintervention started up, we thought it would be a good addition to their weekend. We wanted to help them out with their festival and start to promote our Rodeo for the end of April.”

Those interested in competing must be a minimum of 18 years old and can register as a team if they have the horse, rider and skier trio. Registration for teams is $25.

“Depending on how many horses show up that day, if skiers show up with proper equipment, we’re going to try to get them a ride,” says Anderson.

Cash prizes totaling over $2,500 will be awarded and the KRA will also host a costume contest among participants.
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The skijoring competition is part of the KRA’s Pole & Spur event. Spectators will be able to watch the mad gallop to the finish line on the south side of Blairmore, where a U-shaped track with jumps, gates and various obstacles will be set up for the teams to maneuver.

“There will be some beer gardens and we’ll have a food truck,” adds Anderson. “Wintervention will have their human dog sled racing and their frying pan toss up there.”

The event is free to attend, but donations are welcome and will be presented to the Cando Society or the Food Bank. Spectators are encouraged to bring their own chairs, as limited seating will be provided.

Since this will most likely be the first time any of the participants have skijored, a practice run is anticipated for the weekend before the event, says Anderson. To ensure the well-being of all participants, human and equine, the KRA is following protocols and safety standards from Skirjoing America’s handbook.

“You don’t want the horses slipping, so we’ll check the course throughout the day to see how it’s holding up. We’ll also check depth of the ground, making sure it doesn’t get too icy, especially on corners,” says Anderson.
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According to the North American Ski Joring Association, the activity originated several hundred years ago in Scandinavian countries as a means of travel. It gradually gained momentum as a competitive sport made an appearance in North America in the 1950s and has since grown to encompass competitions in five states in the USA and several countries worldwide. The word skijoring comes from the Norwegian “skikjøring”, a compound of ski and driving.

Wintervention runs from February 24 to 26. The Pole & Spur skijoring event takes place on February 25 at noon.

More information about the Pole and Spur can be found at www.poleandspur.com.
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February 1st, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 5
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