Mushing It, Scandinavian Style

You've probably heard of long-haul mushing with snow dogs in Alaska, but what about the same concept with a single horse and a lone skier? The somewhat cultish winter sport known as "skijoring" (pronounced SKEE-yuring)—a Scandinavian term meaning "ski driving"—was originally an efficient way to travel in the winter, but now it's nothing short of an action-packed, winter wonderland joy ride.

Various types of skijoring are fairly popular. The skier can drive the horse himself, or a horseback rider can guide the horse at full speed with the skier in tow. And some prefer skijoring with a dog or two. Either way, you're guaranteed pure shots of adrenaline, even if you're only watching.  

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Leave it to the Swiss to take this sport seriously—but the hard-core cowboys and girls of Colorado aren't far behind, complicating skijoring by adding ramps, jumps, a clock to beat and rings to catch. In short, you simply must see this to believe it, so try Leadville, Colorado's annual skijoring competition, which takes place about 30 miles from Vail and is next scheduled for March 6–7, 2010. You'll see die-hard skijorers and their trusty steeds race and jump—right down the snow-packed streets.


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