What Is Skijoring? A Beginner’s Guideline


Skijoring is a popular winter sport that combines cross-country skiing with horse or dog mushing, pitting humans and animals in a thrilling race. It’s an exciting, fast-paced mix of outdoor activities that’s perfect for athletes of any level. Whether you’re an experienced skier or just starting out with skiing and sled dog racing, skijoring is an enjoyable winter pastime.

What Is Skijoring?

Skijoring is a winter sport in which a person on skis is pulled by another participant, typically a horse, dog or motor vehicle. The skier uses their skis to glide over snow while being pulled by the animal or vehicle, allowing the skier to travel across open snow-covered fields or trails at speeds up to 30 miles per hour. Skijoring is a rapidly growing sport with a wide variety of approved courses and divisions for participants of all ages and skill levels.

How To Get Started

Skijoring is relatively easy to learn and requires minimal equipment. The most important piece of gear for this sport is a skijoring harness, which attaches the skier to the animal or vehicle. Skiers also need appropriate winter weather clothing, such as waterproof pants, jacket, hat and gloves. It’s also wise to have a helmet and a few essential ski poles for skiing.

In addition to the basic equipment, participants also need to have access to a horse, dog or other approved tow animal that is trained and equipped for skijoring. Horses must be at least 16 hands high, and be sure the horse has been trained and that the skijoring team is healthy before attempting any skijoring activities.

Rules and Regulations

Skijoring is governed by the International Skijoring Federation and each country’s own governing body. The rules and regulations are set up in order to ensure safe and fair competition between the skier and the animal or vehicle. All participants are required to practice safe control and respect the safety guidelines of skijoring. The primary safety rule is that all participants must remain visible, at all times, to the judges and other racers.


Skijoring is a thrilling and fast-paced winter sport, combining the exciting speed of skiing with the adventure of horse and dog mushing. Whether you’re just getting starting out or have experience in mushing and skiing, skijoring can be enjoyed by athletes and sports enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. Be sure to have the proper equipment, follow safety guidelines, and have fun! [ad_1]

For a assured great time, research “skijoring” on TikTok. You are going to locate tracks like Cotton Eye Joe and Guy, I Experience Like a Female soundtracking skiers executing jumps and flips down a town’s Key Avenue, USA—all even though getting pulled by a galloping horse.

Welcome to the earth of skijoring, or, as a person TikTokker puts it, “the wildest activity on six legs.” Skijoring usually means “to be driven forward” in Norwegian, according to historian Loren Zhimanskova, who—as a practitioner, supporter, and local community chief of the sport—has taken it upon herself to meticulously catalog skijoring’s origins. Right now, it typically will involve currently being “driven forward” by a horse or a canine, and skijoring competitions have come to be ever more popular in the U.S. and Canada.

The follow of strapping boards of wood to your ft and getting pulled forward by canine really started as a mode of transportation countless numbers of yrs in the past: It was 1st recorded by Persian historians in the mountains of Central Asia. Skijoring as a sport originated in the late 19th or early 20th century in Scandinavia, the place athletes raced while obtaining pulled by reindeer. Individuals in sections of Europe like France and Poland also practiced skijoring, but with horses. Horseback skijorers can both work with a spouse who rides and reins the horse, or they can even rein the horse on their own. Yep, that suggests driving a horse although you are on skis.

Skijoring made its way across the pond in the 20th century, using root in the Northeast, and ultimately getting attractiveness in cowboy-friendly parts out west. When a skijor competition usually takes location, it has the really feel of a “winter rodeo,” states Zhimanskova.

“It’s a fantastic local community,” says Zhimanskova. “People travel the circuit jointly.”

A black and white photograph from the early 20th century depicting a woman on skis being pulled on a horse.
Image: Skijor Global

That circuit has gotten even larger of late. Zhimanskova runs electronic hubs that promote and hold track of all the races equally in North America and internationally, and she helms a consortium of race leaders functioning to endorse the activity. She suggests there are now all around 30 North American races for each year—a number that’s tripled about the last 10 years.

It is uncomplicated to see why social media and images have hastened the spread: The spectacle of skijoring is a blast to behold. But Zhimanskova thinks more people are participating, way too, for the reason that there are several kinds of race times. Some are intense two-working day competitions featuring obstacle programs and speeds of up to 40 miles for each hour, whilst some others are one-day, beginner-friendly functions.

Amateur-welcoming, that is, as lengthy as you are comfortable all around horses and on skis. As interesting as skijoring appears, you shouldn’t try the activity unless of course you’re familiar with the feeling of skiing, Zhimanskova advises. And even then, make positive to take it slow—trot before you gallop, close friends.

The identical goes for skijoring with pet dogs, says Filippo Ricotti, who runs the activity and utility dog equipment business Neewa.

“You can catch some speed,” states Ricotti, so “you will need to be equipped to ski comfortably for the basic safety of the canine and your have basic safety.”

Ricotti, who is based in Italy, has been skijoring for years in the Dolomites with huskies and a handful of other breeds. His corporation Neewa sells skijoring harnesses, leashes, belts, and canine boots.

A woman on skis being pulled by a golden retriever.
Picture: Getty Photographs/JMichl

Dogs will not pull you with the very same intensity as horses, so it’ll be more like cross-state snowboarding wherever you are pulling a great deal of your personal pounds, with a minimal guidance from Fido.

It can be greatest to get some pro guidance before skijoring with a horse for the 1st time—this is not a little something you must try out on your individual. But if you want to attempt skijoring with your dog, Ricotti claims it is doable for advanced skiers, as lengthy as you choose it slow and get the job done up to it. Start out managing with your doggy—like, without having snow. Then, you can try rollerblading. If all goes effectively when wintertime will come about, and you are common with downhill and cross-country skiing, you can slowly but surely give skijoring a try out. Cross-country terrain is greatest. Make confident you have the ideal gear, and ensure you’ve obtained at the very least 10 feet of length amongst you and your canine. But really don’t subject your canine to pulling if you are additional than 3 or 4 moments your dog’s body weight, which is what Ricotti advises is the utmost load.

Be prepared for a major core, arm, and leg exercise routine, as perfectly as a important problem for your agility and your stability, says Zhimanskova. Ricotti says skijoring is a great way for the canine to get their vitality out, and Zhimanskova claims horses are into it, way too.

“A great deal of my pals that have horses say when they are loading up their horses in the wintertime, the horses know they are going to a skijoring event and they are genuinely energized, they get to see their buddies,” Zhimanskova claims. “Just like they’re having entertaining in the summer time months, they are owning entertaining in the wintertime months, also.”


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