wild ride on
More prize money, more riders, horses and skiers, and more excitement than ever is in store for the 8th annual Silverton Skijoring this weekend.
The action again starts at High Noon on Notorious Blair Street, on a course that was a bit more difficult than usual to put into shape.
“This was about 10 times more challenging than in past years,” said organizer Pete Maisel.
Much of the problems were due to the water main break near 10th and Blair streets last month, that washed away much of the snow in the area where the horses stage.
So instead of the usual snow removal, the Town Crew with help from Maisel Excavating were actually adding a thick layer of snow to the street this week.
‘We had sheer ice that had to come out,” said Dean des Palmes of Silverton.
He and his wife Laura are key organizers and volunteers for Silverton Skijoring.
“We had ruts from cars driving on it. It all had to be taken down to terra-firma then backfilled with snow.”
But expectations are that the course will be in excellent shape for the weekend, and with a bit of cloud cover in the forecast, it should hold together.
Laura des Palmes said that last year nearly 50 teams took part and this year another division is being added.
“We may have more teams this year,” she said.
Cash and prizes at stake will total more than $10,000.
Maisel said volunteers are still needed and will get a T-shirt. Two-day volunteers enter a drawing for a hoodie.
And Maisel noted that this year’s skijoring is dedicated in memory of Bill Alsup, the Silvertonian who helped sculpt the course for the first seven skijoring events who died this summer in a backcountry crane accident.
Registration will be Friday night, Feb. 17 from 6-8 at the Grand Imperial and both Saturday and Sunday morning from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at the Bent Elbow. Competitors may register for one or both days and riders may register multiple horses with additional registration fees.
“If you are a skier looking for a rider or a rider looking for a skier early registration is a great place to match up,” said Laura des Palmes. “If you can’t make it Friday night we will have a sign up sheet for matches at the Saturday and Sunday registration.”
San Miguel Power Association is sponsoring the early registration event at the Grand Imperial that will include live entertainment with Lacey Black from 6-8 in the bar. The Golden Block Brewery will have The Tim Sullivan Trio performing from 9-12.
“And there will be lots of fun stuff going on in our restaurants, shops and bars around town all weekend,” des Palmes said. “Our wonderful Volunteer Fire Department will once again be fundraising with Bloody Mary’s and Coor’s products at the Bent Elbow both days and you can purchase event t-shirts or lanterns for our second annual Flurries and Flames lantern event at the Bent Elbow.”
The second annual Flurries and Flames will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday night following the 5 :30 p.m. Chili Cook Off at the Kendall Mountain Recreation Center.
“Organizer Darlene Watson managed to find some colored lanterns for this year’s event so it should be even more amazing than last year,” des Palmes said.
Silverton Skijoring is adding a SPORT Division to the races this year for all of the horses that run with times somewhere between the pro and the novice class. With this 3rd division comes new rules so please check the website www.silvertonskijoring.com for updates.
“This is again a free event for spectators (although we don’t turn down donations),” des Palmes said.
This is a NO DOG event for the safety of the horses, participants and dogs so please leave your furry family members at home or with a friend.