Fans of skijoring (written as two words “ski joring” in Leadville event materials) can mark their calendars for Saturday, March 2 and Sunday, March 3 this year for the 76th Annual Leadville Ski Joring Event. The competition features horses pulling skiers through a course with gates, jumps, and rings.
Leadville Ski Joring begins at 12:00 noon and will end around 3:00 p.m. on both days. The course runs down the historic Harrison Avenue in downtown Leadville.
The event is free for attendees. Dogs and drones are strictly prohibited. Those hoping for a good position to watch may want to arrive early to the event, which usually draws large crowds.
7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. pancakes, eggs and sausage will be served at the Elks Annual Ski Joring Pancake Breakfast (123 West 5th Street).
At 9:00 a.m., the Calcutta Auction will be held at 6th Street and Harrison Avenue where attendees can bid on teams.
The National Anthem will kick off the ski joring competition at 12:00 noon, which will then feature the Open, Sport, and Snowmobile divisions. The awards ceremony immediately follows the event at the Elks Club (123 West 5th Street).
On Saturday, March 2, kids will get the chance to experience ski joring behind a snowmobile after the conclusion of the main race.
For those new to the sport, what exactly is ski joring?
Ski joring is an alteration of the Norwegian skikjøring, which is composed of “ski and kjøring, which means “driving.”
Ski joring is a winter sport. A person on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, or dog team, a different animal, or even a motor vehicle. The Leadville competition primarily features skiers pulled by a horse and rider through a set course. There is also a snowmobile division.
Each run is timed, and penalties are applied when the skier misses gates or jumps or misses or drops the baton or any of the rings. Participants compete for cash prizes. Teams are decided by a random draw before the start of the event.
Leadville Ski Joring began in 1949 and is considered a premier event for ski joring in the country.
“The Leadville Ski Joring event has become an iconic tradition that perfectly embodies the spirit of our vibrant community. Drawing visitors from near and far, this thrilling spectacle showcases Leadville’s unique blend of history and adventure. Join us for a weekend filled with excitement, camaraderie, and the breathtaking beauty of the Rocky Mountains,” said Twin Lakes Tourism Director Adam Ducharme.
For those hoping to register as competitors, registration is held at the Elks Lodge (123 West 5th Street) starting around 6:00 p.m. on Friday, March 1st for Saturday’s event and on Saturday, March 2 directly following the awards ceremony for Sunday’s event. Pre-registration is not available for the 2024 event.
Those with questions or who hope to participate can contact Duffy Counsell at 970-471-5535 or reach out on Facebook. Denver7 covered the event and interviewed Counsell last year about the 75th annual competition.
More information on Leadville Ski Joring and other events during the Crystal Carnival Weekend is available at LeadvilleTwinLakes.com.