Nicholas L. M. Allen
Mar 15, 2023
My first time experiencing the wonderful event called The Pole and Spur in Blairmore was a blast!
Well, it was my first time at skijoring and wow was that a lot of fun to watch! Although I didn’t manage to stay the entire day, I did enjoy the food and fast paced action that I saw.
I arrived before the festivities started, but was able to enjoy a nice double cheeseburger available at the numerous stalls around the staging grounds. When the action started, it wasn’t long before someone was removed form their horse, rather forcefully.
They fared alright from the fall, thankfully, but that wasn’t the end of the tumbles for the day. After the one bucking horse, it was mostly the skiers that took the fall. The last corner seemed particularly tricky for the riders and skiers to navigate with many losing hold of the ropes.
After watching for a couple of hours, my legs began to go numb and my camera batteries died, so I made my way back down to town on the shuttles they were so courteous to provide.
After escaping the wind and cold, I decided to research the history of the event and how it got started.
The first cool thing I found out about the word skijoring is that it means ski driving, which after witnessing the competition, felt rather accurate.
There are rumours that it started as a mode of winter travel although it is primarily a competitive sport in the world today. In 1976, Denver, Colorado tried to host the Winter Olympics and had the sport listed as one of the exhibition sports for the event but the city turned the bid down.
The sport varies as you go around the word. For instance, in modern-day Latvia, skiers are towed in a motocross-style event called Twitch’n’Ride. At the competition in Alaska, skiers are towed behind snowmobiles. In the United Kingdom, athletes are skijoring on turf or in arenas. In some coastal regions in France and on Caribbean islands, skijoring even occurs on beaches.
Aside from those variations there is also dog skijoring, which can feature one to three dogs wearing harnesses and pulling a skier behind them.
Personally, I am going to make sure I am in attendance for this event every year. It was quite the sight to behold and the atmosphere was great. Awesome work by all of the volunteers!