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Wild and Fast: Leadville celebrates 75 years of skijoring

Posted at 10:22 AM, Mar 08, 2023

LEADVILLE — If you've ever wondered what it would be like to throw on a pair of skis and get towed behind a horse at ludicrous speeds, Leadville has you covered with its tradition of skijoring.

2023 marked the 75th running of Leadville's Skijoring competition, a thundering race of hooves and skis that run straight down Harrison avenue in the middle of town during the first weekend of March.

But what is skijoring?

That's an excellent question! This is the sport that utilizes a speeding horse as the means of propulsion for one's skiing escapades.

Skijoring is a competition where a horse and rider pull a skier at a fast pace through a course that has gates, jumps and rings. The skier is timed through the course, and penalties are assessed by missing gates or jumps, and by missing or dropping the baton or any of the rings.
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This event got its start back in the late 1940s when two close friends reportedly visited the Winter Carnival in Steamboat Springs, saw some skijoring, took the idea back home, and cranked up the speed.

Ever since that point, the event has served as a way to boost the local economy, relieve some cabin fever for locals, and present a combination of wild entertainment and an opportunity for thrill chasing.

This year's spectacle of hooves dashing through the snow at Leadville's 10,200 feet of elevation boasted 76 teams and a massive crowd of cheering spectators.

Learn more about Leadville's Skijoring.