SHAKOPEE, Minn. (NEWS10) – It’s not a sport in the winter games, but it could be.
It’s called “ski-joring” and it’s skiing or snowboarding doing jumps and racing, all while being pulled by a horse.
February isn’t exactly a popular time to see horse racing in Minnesota, but today at Canterbury Park, horses were on the track but for a completely different reason.
What is skijoring?
“It’s the blending of two worlds. We’re bringing horse racing and skiing together,” said Ted Slather, skijoring spokesman.
It may not be mainstream, but, the athletes who participate in it say they can’t get enough.
“The horse is rearing at the start, and just the adrenaline’s pumping, and it’s just such a rush,” said Mike Fries, skijoring athlete.
The athletes start by hanging on to a rope while being pulled as they head down the course, then they weave in and out of gates while trying to pull down rings and one “can’t miss” aspect of the sport is speed.
There’s a reason these men and women call themselves adrenaline junkies. They’re tasked with staying on their feet. All the while these horses are traveling up to forty miles-an-hour.
“The horses are going to be fast. Skiers. You’re going to see people are very competitive, so, you’re going to see some good wipeouts,” Slather said.
The biggest attraction of the day was the snow board competition. The crowd roaring with every trick they saw.
Skijoring was an Olympic sport once. It’s only appearance coming in 1928 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. As the winter games currently roll on in Pyeongchang, these athletes still hold out hope that they’ll see their sport back on the biggest stage.
“I don’t see any reason why not. Why can’t these. These athletes work just as hard. They put just as much time, effort, money. You just have to keep trying and keep being determined,” said Missy McAlpin, skijoring athlete.