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The Scandinavian word skijoring literally means ski-driving, and originally referred to being towed around on a pair of wooden skis as a means of transportation.
The sport of skijor racing officially debuted at the 1928 Olympics, but it never really caught on as a sanctioned competition.
In the late forties the Wild West version of skijoring was debuted in Leadville, Colorado. It has since grown into a sanctioned sport in several states, and is organized under the North American Ski joring Association, or NASJA. As skijoring fever catches on across the northern tier states, other associations continue to develop.
A successful WRESJA (Wood River Skijoring Association) race means horse and rider must cross the finish line with skier in tow. The skier must accomplish two to three jumps, go around several gates, and grab as many rings as possible while hurtling down the 850 ft track. The rider must also grab a ring. Any missed jumps, gates, or rings result in a point penalty. Winners are based on the combined overall score for both days, which includes the fastest time.
Some organizations run an oval track, which can provide even more challenges. Winners receive cash and other prizes. Teams also qualify for the national championship race held at the end of the season. The Wood River Valley race is a family event. Pee-wees, juniors and women are allowed to race but not required to hit the jumps.
At WRESJA, anyone is welcome to give it a go. For more information visit the WRESJA website.