Finding competitors for skijoring–a niche sport that combines horse riding with skiing–might seem difficult.
Not so, says Ted Slathar, president of Extreme Events MN.
“Oh, they come out of the woodwork for this stuff,” he said. “I just had to put the word out.”
Extreme Horse Skijoring–coming to Canterbury Park on Saturday, Feb. 17–is an adrenaline-fueled sport that involves a skier being pulled behind a horse.
“It brings two worlds together,” Slathar said.
Translating to “ski driving” in Norwegian, skijoring was first reported in the mountains of Central Asia thousands of years ago, according to Skijor International. It gained popularity in North America in the 1940s, and today is a competitive worldwide sport.
At Canterbury Park in February, skiers and snowboarders will have to navigate jumps, obstacles and gates, all while using their arms to collect rings positioned throughout the course.
Skiers can reach speeds of 40 mph.
“It’s an exciting sport,” Slathar said.
Below is a video of skijoring from Leadville, Colo.
He said he had seen skijoring at resorts out West, and had the idea to bring the sport to Zumbrota, Minn., last year.
“Minnesota hadn’t ever had an event like this,” said Slathar, whose company also specializes in bull riding and rodeo-style events.
There will be four groups of competitors at Canterbury Park on Feb. 17:
Each group will include 20-30 teams, and 10 from each round will move on to the finals, Slathar said. Meanwhile, there will also be a quasi-halftime show, with freestyle jumps and aerials from the athletes.
People mostly enter as teams, but Slathar said he expects there to be more solo skiers than horse riders.
Looking to compete for cash and prizes? Or interested in becoming a sponsor or a vendor?
The Feb. 17 event at Canterbury Park will also feature family-friendly festivities, including stations for kids inside and outside, as well as other spectacles and things to do.
“It should be a lot of fun,” Slathar said.
Exhibitions: 9 a.m. to noon (practice)
Main Event: 1 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 17
Canterbury Park, 1100 Canterbury Road, Shakopee, MN 55379
Tickets: $10*, kids 17 and younger get in free
Promo code: SAVEFIVE