The World Ski Joring Championships are hosted in Whitefish, Montana as the signature event of Winter Carnival each year.
Combining two of Big Sky Country’s favorites—riding horses and skiing—this Montana-style winter extreme sport attracts competitors from around the nation.
The competition features an exciting combination of horses (and mules), riders and skiers, mixed with speed, jumps, and of course, snow. Competitors race for their share of more than $20,000 in four separate classes, plus compete in the Long Jump.
In the timed competition, horses (and a few mules) pull skiers around a U-shaped, 800-foot-long course at high speeds, with the skier required to navigate over jumps and around slalom gates.
Typically over 3,000 spectators witness 70 teams competing.
The competition takes place at the snow-covered Whitefish Municipal Airport grounds. Multiple local establishments offer a wide variety of food and beverage selections throughout the event. There is a nominal $5 per vehicle parking fee, but spectators are free. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the non-profit Human Therapy on Horseback.
The sport of ski joring began several hundred years ago in Scandinavia as a way to travel during the long winters, with skiers pulled behind their plow horses. Ski joring found its way to North America, where bored ranch hands attached a long rope to the saddle horn and galloped on a horse at high speeds down a long straight-away. This method is still done at some races on The North American Ski Joring circuit.
In 1928, ski joring was an exhibition sport in the St. Moritz Winter Olympic Games and over time has become a highly specialized competitive sport. The North American Ski Joring Association (NASJA) is the sanctioning organization that ensures fair competitiveness and safety for their competitors and equestrian stock.
What: World Ski Joring Championships
When: January 27-29, 2023
Where: Big Mountain Ranch (Whitefish, Montana)
North American Ski Joring Association