The story of ski Joring dates back several hundred years ago 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.
St. Moritz, Switzerland February 12, 1928 at the 2nd Olympic Winter Games competitors held a skijoring demonstration. This style was performed rider less with the skier driving the horse from behind and racing head to head with the other competitors.
Back in the late 1940’s the sport of ski joring was started by two men, Tom Schroeder and Mugs Ossman. They traveled to Steamboat Colorado to the winter carnival and saw the ski joring event there. They came back with these ideas of doing it at the winter carnival in Leadville Co. Mugs was a horseman who prided himself in having very fast quarter horses. Tom, an avid skier then, said that there wasn’t a horse fast enough to dump him….and so it started. They had their first race out west in 1949.
Currently, the sport of equestrian ski joring has become a highly specialized competitive sport, where competitors must navigate a course of jumps, gates and sometime spear rings. Competitive ski joring competitions are currently taking place in more than five states in the USA, and in several countries worldwide. In some parts of the world, skiers are pulled behind dogs, mules and snowmobiles. Whatever the means, the sport of ski joring is growing rapidly.
On April 24th, 1999, directors from almost every major skijoring organization in the Country, rendezvoused in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to begin a process that would change the sport of skijoring forever. After several follow-up meetings, the North American Ski Joring Association (NASJA) was developed. For the first time in history, equestrian skijoring became a sanctioned sport!
In May 2004, Geoff and Brooke Smith flew out to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to meet with the directors of the North American Ski Joring Association (NASJA). Upon their return to New Hampshire they developed the North East Ski Joring Association (NESJA). The first organized Equestrian Ski Joring Competition in the east was held as part of the 2005 Newport Winter Carnival in New Hampshire. The past few years have been growing years for the north east. NESJA has been holding demo’s throughout the east and is hosting up to six races each year.
The first international sanctioned race was held in 2006 at St-Donat Airport, Canada. The sport is continuing to grow in Canada with demos, clinics and races. The North East Ski Joring Association now has a NESJA Canada (nesja.ca) founded and managed by Bert Caron from St-Donat.
The sport of ski joring is growing rapidly as more equestrian enthusiasts and skiers learn about ski joring.