Friday, February 8, 2013

Saddle up or strap on the boards

Skijoring races this weekend in Hailey

Express Staff Writer

Tyler Peterson, on Pumpkin, and Chase Goulay, on skis, demonstrate award-winning style at a skijoring competition in Bellevue last year. Photo by Willy Cook

    More money and a new address have spruced up this year’s skijoring event taking place this weekend and benefiting the 4-H Wild Riders.
    Wood River Extreme Skijoring is holding the races at Old Cutter’s subdivision in Hailey on Saturday, Feb. 9, and Sunday, Feb. 10, with races starting at noon both days.
    Got a desire but no horse? Got a horse but no skier?
    Not a problem, says organizer Tyler Peterson.
    “If you want to try and haven’t yet found a partner, call and we’ll try and pair you up.”
    Peterson said the sport’s rising popularity has allowed for the largest cash prizes ever; close to $5,000 total is up for grabs and has encouraged semiprofessional circuit racers from places that regularly hold skijoring events, such as Whitefish, Mont.
    Skijoring combines daring horsemen on fast horses pulling skiers through a harrowing snow course. It resembles water skiing with a skier tethered to a horse and rider jetting over bumps and grabbing rings.

“It’s fast and it’s fun—to do and to watch.”
Tyler Peterson
Wood River Extreme Skijoring

    A successful run means crossing the finish line of the more than 800-foot-long course with the skier having executed two to three jumps ranging from 3 to 6 feet high and grabbing three to nine rings. The rider must also grab a ring.
    Points are deducted for missed or dropped rings and missed jumps. Speeds often reach 40 mph. Parents of juniors can take a little comfort in knowing that the entrants at those age levels are not required to hit the jumps.
    “It’s fast and it’s fun—to do and to watch,” Peterson said. “I’ve been watching the practice runs and there is some serious competition this year.”
    Signups can be taken online by visiting or by stopping by McClain’s Pizza in Hailey today from 6-10 p.m.
No one with a horse and rider, skis and skier and a desire will be denied for the price of entry, which starts at $25. There are a variety of divisions that can be explored on the Web or by calling Peterson at 720-0329.
Participants are urged to check the site pre-race for the latest on snow conditions and any race cancellations.
Old Cutter’s can be found by heading east on Myrtle Street, by the Sinclair Dinosaur, and following the road up the hill, beyond the stop sign and into a vacant subdivision, which should have directions for spectators and racers from there.
    Spectators are invited to bring their coolers and lawn chairs or cash for vendors on site, but for safety reasons, dogs are not allowed anywhere but in cars. This weekend’s gate fee is $5 per person, with kids under 10 free.
    Races start at noon Saturday. New this year, the pee wees will compete last.
    Saturday at 7 p.m. at Whiskey Jacques’ in Ketchum, there will be a jackpot opportunity, raffle, auction for float trips and other items, and a dance party.
    There is a documentary about skijoring on Idaho Public Television’s website called “Winter Grit” and a feature in Southern Idaho Living magazine.

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