HELENA — The Jefferson County Fairgrounds will once again be home to the highly entertaining sport of Skijoring.
“It’s just the most fun you can have wearing long underwear,” says Vice-President of the Boulder Valley Skijoring Association, Calvin Douglas.
The second annual Skijoring the Big Rock event in Boulder invites racers to take on the course with their choice of ski or snowboard. While being pulled by a horse they collect rings and navigate their way through obstacles on the course to compete for cash prizes and buckles.
“So, it is a team effort. It takes three heartbeats: the horse, the rider, and the skier,” says President of the Boulder Valley Skijoring Association, Melissa Ostrander.
The course itself is created by gathering and shaping snow piles.
MTN spoke to folks at the fairground who kept reiterating one point: this is a tight-knit group. That familial aspect keeps them coming back year after year to this unique sport.
“Everybody looks out for everybody else. And, you know, you have trailer problems, someone comes and helps. And you have skier problems, someone comes and helps. And it's just really a family-based event. And it's something fun to do in the wintertime when there's not much else to do,” says Ostrander.
Competitor Jennifer Butler has been skijoring for 12 years and participates in races throughout the state. She says that not only does the adrenaline keep her coming back, but the family-like community, as well, even if they may get under her skin sometimes.
“Yeah, we all feel like a big family. Sometimes we argue. Sometimes we want to punch each other. But, you know, we’re family. We love each other, come by every single weekend in the winter and do it again,” says Butler.
The race begins Saturday at 11:30 AM and ends at 4 PM. And continues on Sunday 11:30 AM to 4 PM.