This time of year people go a little bit crazy around here. It’s been grey. REALLY grey. For a long time. And we live in a place where just about everyone knows their way around horses or skis or both.
And everyone knows their way around snow.
Some lovely lunatic decided to put them all together. It’s called ski joring. The history of ski joring dates back several hundred years to Scandinavia as a way for people to travel during the harsh and snowy winter months. Towed behind reindeer on long wooden skis, these early travelers found ski joring or “ski driving” a useful and practical mode of
transport and communication.
On February 12, 1928 at the 2nd Olympic Winter Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland competitors held a ski joring demonstration. This style was performed riderless with the skier driving the horse from
behind and racing head to head with the other competitors.
Apparently, that lovely lunatic’s ancestor lives in our town because every year our town dumps itself alongside the Burlington Northern railroad tracks at the base of our ski mountain and watches as the bravest of us jump on horse or skis and motor around an icy gnarly track, skier holding a rope attached to a saddle.
Horses fall, skiers fall, riders fall, and the fans go wild. Half the time I can barely watch.
The train engineer toots his horn, the children drink hot cocoa and cheer from plastic sleds, the parents have a Bloody Mary or a pulled pork sandwich, and we all wake up a bit against the mid-winter sky, dripping in grey.
This is our idea of good clean mid-winter fun. And I have to say, it is one of my favorite days in our small mountain town in Montana (as long as nobody gets hurt!).