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Skijoring, winter’s wildest sport

 

Bloomberg News | January 17, 2018

For those propelled through life in pursuit of adrenaline, in wintertime finding ever-newer forms of entertainment can be a challenge if you have already conquered downhill skiing, uphill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, heli-skiing, snowboarding, racing car driving on an ice field, and even gone as far as to rent out a whole mountain and buy a Ferrari-red Sno-Cat to partake in all of the above.

What is a humble snow sports enthusiast to do when seemingly all icy avenues have been raced down?

Consider skijoring, the art of skiing while being towed by rope at breakneck speed by horses or dogs. Or as we like to think of it: the best winter pastime you never knew existed. It may not an Olympic sport – the closest it got was a demonstration at the 1928 St Moritz games – but with growing popularity and several major skijoring competitions around the corner, now is the time to get into this underrated sport. Here is how.

 
 

Origins

The origins of skijoring can be traced to 1850s Scandinavia, when residents drawn to various gold rushes in the western United States returned home and introduced Native American dog sledding traditions they had witnessed to local conditions. In Winter Adventure: A Complete Guide to Winter Sports, authors Peter Stark and Steven M. Krauzer contend that raising large packs of dogs did not make sense in densely populated areas, so the number of animals was downgraded and the sled was used only for cargo. They also made a distinctly Scandinavian adjustment: “The driver, instead of riding, held on and skied behind”, actively propelling themselves instead of being pulled, while controlling the pack through a mix of reins and voice commands. Nordic-style mushing, as it came to be known, remains a popular pastime in Norway.

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Published on 7/17/2019 (255 days ago)

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