Saddle up and step in, or just take it all in, at the annual Wood River Extreme Ski Joring Races. The 2023 edition is set to take place Feb. 18-19 in Bellevue, Idaho.
Produced by the Wood Extreme Ski Joring Association (WRESJA), this event features cowboys atop galloping horses racing with brave and skilled skiers and snowboarders. It’s always a unique family-friendly weekend of fast-action fun.
Ski Joring is a snow sport in which a person on skis is pulled by a horse, a dog, or a motor vehicle. It is derived from the Norwegian word skikjøring, meaning “ski driving”. Fittingly, in Idaho’s Wood River Valley horses are used. A successful run of this race means crossing the finish line of the 600-900 ft. course with the skier having executed one to three jumps ranging from three to six feet high and grabbing from three to nine rings. The rider must also grab a ring. Points are deducted for missed or dropped rings and missed jumps. Speed – which often reaches 40 miles per hour – is a factor. Winners are based on the combined overall score for both days. This year the WRESJA races will also feature a couple’s division and stick horse races for 10 and under.
The WRESJA races will take place at 81 Browning Lane in Bellevue on Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 19, starting at noon each day. There is an admission fee of $10 per spectator, children 12 and under are free, and a portion of the fees with be donated to the Wood River High School Rodeo Team. Please bring lawn chairs but no dogs. This weekend for the whole family will also feature concessions at the races, a raffle to support a local area non-profit, and evening events that include a team auction on Saturday night, 6:30 p.m. at Mahoney’s Bar & Grill in Bellevue. An awesome awards party will be on Sunday night, 5:30 p.m. at 7 Fuego restaurant in Gannett.
For those interested in competing, sign-ups are Friday night, at Mahoney’s in Bellevue from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. There is also a team-up page on Facebook if your a racer in need of a partner: facebook.com/groups/wresja.teamup