RMX Skijoring in Colorado

The Town of Minturn, Colorado, and Skijor International are pleased to announce the fifth annual RMX Skijoring event to be held on Saturday and Sunday, February 27 & 28, 2016 from 12 noon to 4pm — with awards, cash prizes and additional activities for spectators.

“Skijoring is a sport that bridges two different worlds,” says competitor, Dana Stiles. “I was born and raised in Colorado, and I have never skied a day in my life,” she says.

On the other hand, her skijoring teammates often have little to no experience around horses, but the two sports collide with spectacular results in a skijoring competition.

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Skijoring pairs a horse and rider with a skier, attached to one another by a 30 foot rope, like a water skier tethered to a boat. As the horse gallops down a 900 foot track, the skier must navigate jumps and obstacles, gathering rings along the way. It’s not what you would call a mainstream sport.

Stiles started skijoring nearly 20 years ago when the town of Avon sponsored a race around Nottingham Lake. She entered on a whim. “I was hooked. The rush was just incredible.” She’s been a regular on the Rocky Mountain region’s skijoring circuit ever since, traveling hundreds of miles over snow-covered roads between race venues.

So, one may wonder, is it the rider who drives the team or is it the skier who runs the show? “In reality, it’s a bit of both,” says Stiles. “Once the race starts, the rider has a single mission, to get down the course as quickly as possible. On the other hand, the skier has to navigate gates, land three 6-foot jumps, and capture rings. You can have the fastest horse and the best skier, but if you miss one ring it’s two seconds off your time and you aren’t going to win,” says Stiles.

“A really good skijoring skier knows how to handle the slack on their rope effectively,” Stiles says. When trying the sport for the first time, Stiles says skiers are often shocked. “Being a skijorer means more than cutting a hard corner,” she stressed.

“There is nothing on this planet that will pull you at the start like a horse will,” she says. “We’ve had a lot of people who come in kind of cocky and learn that. We’ve had Olympic class skiers who said this was the toughest thing they had ever done.”

Tug Birk, of Eagle, Colorado was an accomplished ski racer throughout his childhood and college years. While he had never taken an interest in skijoring during his ski racing career, at the 2008 competition in Leadville, he was pulled on skis behind a horse through a course for the first time and he won.

Professional skier, Chris Anthony, also skijored for the first time in 2008. Anthony’s skijor run is featured in the Warren Miller Film, “Children of Winter.” In the film he says, “This is truly a serious game with consequences. Cowboys meet X-Games.”

To register as a competitor, please contact Loren Zhimanskova with RMX Skijoring, at 646.209.0229 or info@rmxskijoring.com.

For additional information on this event, please visit www.rmxskijoring.com.

2016 Skijoring Race Calendar

January 16-17: Red River, NM
January 23-24: Gallatin Valley, Bozeman, MT
January 23-24: Great Snow Fest, Teton Valley, Driggs, ID
January 30-31: Winter Carnival, Whitefish, MT
February 6-7: Teton Village Jackson Hole, WY
February 13-14: Wood River Extreme Ski Joring, Hailey, ID
February 13-14: Silverton, CO
February 20-21: Big Hole Valley Winterfest, Wisdom, MT
February 27-28: RMX Skijoring, Minturn, CO
March 5-6: Leadville, CO

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