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Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

Feb 7, 2023, 9:04 AM | Updated: Apr 14, 2023, 12:18 pm

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....

Photo: Adobe Stock

This article about skijoring is sponsored by the Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau. Participate in Skijoring the Bear on February 20th, 2023. 


What is skijoring?

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates. Almost like waterskiing, this winter sport started often over frozen lakes. It originated in Norway and comes from the Norwegian word skikjøring, which means “ski driving”. 

The activity was initially used as a mode of transportation, but now it is mostly a competitive sport. Competitions started in the early 1900s with the Nordic Games and were featured in the Olympic sports in 1928 in Switzerland. That is the only time in history it has been featured in the Olympics so far. 

It became a popular activity in the Northeastern US as early as 1915. Then, by the 30s to 50s, it became a popular mountain town sport in places such as Jackson, WY, and Steamboat Springs, CO. 

Though it is still a relatively obscure sport, the popularity of skijoring is rising, and reindeer races are still held in Tromso, Norway; Inari, Finland; and Nadym, Russia. There is a bid to include them if the winter games end up in Salt Lake in 2030 or 2034. Even if it doesn’t end up as a competition, it will likely be honored through an event or ceremony.  

Skijoring participant pulled by a horse in a snowy obstacle course

Photo: Adobe Stock

What do you need for skijoring?

To try your own hand at this winter sport, you need to figure out the method of transportation, whether that be a horse, snowmobile, or something else, and gather your own ski equipment. Alpine and cross-country skis both work and no poles are needed since your hands will be holding onto a rope. Be sure to wear a helmet for protection and warm layers to maintain your body temperature. 

In addition, you should use a well-fitting harness for the animal, a comfortable belt on the skier’s body, a bungee cord, a long rope, and a quick-release option for both the rider and driver in case of a fall.  

Wondering how to start skijoring?

The best way to learn how to skijor is to attend an event and participate as a rider! Bear Lake hosts an annual competition to satisfy your itch to participate. Riders of all levels are welcome, as long as you bring your own equipment. Even if you don’t feel like skijoring, it’s a fun sport to watch, and you’ll have a great time cheering on the contestants. 

This year the event will be hosted at Heritage Park & Garden City Pond in Garden City, Utah. The game will take place on February 20th, 2023, and runs from 9 am to 4 pm. There will be prizes for contestants and a fun time for all! 

Event Schedule for Bear Lake Skijoring event. Details below image

Photo: Visit Bear Lake

Here are the details: 

  • Sign up or check in between 8-9 am
  • The race starts at 9 am
  • $100 entry fee
  • Free entry for spectators
  • The race has four divisions: Open, novice, senior youth 14-18 and junior youth 13 and younger

The event is brought to you by MW Quarter Horses, Bear Lake CVD, and the Bear Lake Valley Chamber. Find out more details about the event and register here.

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This is a sponsored article brought to you by KSL News Radio in conjunction with the advertiser. The advertiser paid a fee to promote this article and may have influenced or authored the content. The views expressed in this article are those of the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of KSL News Radio, its parent company, or its staff.

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Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake