Skijoring Festival offers another wild ride on Blair Street
The fifth annual Silverton Skijoring Festival, the town’s premier winter event, will ride again this weekend, Feb. 15-16, with a couple of dozen teams expected to race up Blair Street.
Organizer Pete Maisel of Silverton said some $5,000 in prize money is at stake this year for the riders and skiers, along with a belt buckle for the winning rider.
Large crowds are again expected to converge on Silverton for the show.
Work on the Blair Street course is under way, and drivers are asked to avoid the area. There is no parking allowed during the daytime.
Skijoring officials put out an urgent call for volunteers to help out this year.
Those interested in volunteering for the Skijoring Festival can contact Laura at (970) 744-9446 for details, or show up at the Bent Elbow Saturday or Sunday morning around 10:30 a.m.
Volunteers will be given long-sleeve Skijoring staff T-shirts in appreciation.
This year’s Skijoring Festival may have a live radio broadcast and coverage for Durango local TV and filming for a documentary.
And representatives from Red Bull energy drink, a sponsor, will be in town.
Early registration for Skijoring participants will be Friday evening, hosted by San Miguel Power Association at the Grand Imperial Hotel. Pianist Lacy Black will provide live entertainment from 6-8 p.m.
Remember: No dogs in the Skijoring area!
An Olympic Sport?
The sport of skijoring is one in which a person on skis is pulled by dogs, horses, or a form of mechanized transportation such as a snowmobile. In the 1928 Olympics, athletes were towed behind horses.
With the Olympics under way in Sochi, Russia, Silverton skijoring officials noted that skijoring was a demonstration sport at the 1928 Winter Olympics, held in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The sole skijoring event of the Games was held on Feb. 12, the second day of the Games, on a frozen lake.
Unlike modern equestrian skijoring in North America, there were no riders on the horses, there were no jumps on the course, and athletes competed simultaneously.
Skijoring's roots are in Norway and Sweden, where the sport was considered a military competition, being a method of transportation for military dispatches. It was included on the program of the Nordic Games in 1901, 1905, and 1909.