Photo courtesy of Hal Campbell
Credit: IOC/RÜBELT Lothar
Highlights of Ski Joring History
The history of ski Joring dates back several hundred years ago to Scandinavia as a way for
people to travel during the harsh and snowy winter months. Towed behind reindeer on long
wooden skis, these early travelers found ski Joring or “ski driving” a useful and practical mode of
transport and communication.
St. Moritz, Switzerland February 12, 1928 at the 2nd Olympic Winter Games competitors held a
skijoring demonstration. This style was performed rider less with the skier driving the horse from
behind and racing head to head with the other competitors.
The sport of ski joring as we know it today was developed by two friends, Tom Schroeder and
Mugs Ossman. They traveled to Steamboat Colorado to the winter carnival and saw the ski joring
event there. They came back with the idea of doing it at the winter carnival in Leadville, Colorado.
Mugs was a horseman who prided himself in having very fast quarter horses. Tom, an avid skier
then, said that there wasn't a horse fast enough to dump him....and so it began. Leadville had the
first ski joring race in 1949.
Currently, the sport of equestrian ski joring has become a highly specialized competitive sport,
where competitors must navigate a course of jumps, gates and sometime spear rings. Competitive
ski joring competitions are currently taking place in more than five states in the USA, and in
several countries worldwide. In some parts of the world, skiers are pulled behind dogs, mules and
snowmobiles. Whatever the means, the sport of ski joring is growing rapidly.
On April 24th, 1999, directors from almost every major skijoring organization in the Country
rendezvoused in Jackson Hole, Wyoming to begin a process that would change the sport of
skijoring forever. After several follow-up meetings, the North American Ski Joring Association
(NASJA) was developed. For the first time in history, equestrian skijoring became a sanctioned
In May 2004, Geoff and Brooke Smith flew out to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to meet with the directors
of the North American Ski Joring Association (NASJA). Upon their return to New Hampshire they
developed the North East Ski Joring Association (NESJA). The first organized Equestrian Ski Joring
Competition in the east was held as part of the 2005 Newport Winter Carnival in New Hampshire.
The past few years have been growing years for the north east. NESJA has been holding demo's
throughout the east and is hosting up to six races each year.
The first international sanctioned race was held in 2006 at St-Donat Airport, Canada. The sport is
continuing to grow in Canada with demos, clinics and races. The North East Ski Joring Association
now has a NESJA Canada (nesja.ca) founded and managed by Bert Caron from St-Donat.
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