FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHO CAN COMPETE?

Skijoring is an equal opportunity event open to any and everyone who has a passion for horses or skiing or both. And if your love for these two also includes fast speeds and friendly competition, then skijoring may just be your calling.  If you are a beginner, you can enter our Recreation/Novice division and if you are ready for the big leagues sign up for the Pro/Open division.  There is something for everyone!

WHAT IF I DON'T WANT TO COMPETE, BUT WOULD LIKE TO BE INVOLVED?  To get involved please fill out our volunteer application and email it to  info@skijoringutah.com 

AS A RIDER, DO I NEED SPECIFIC TACK OR SPECIAL HORSE SHOES?
Most riders use a western saddle to skijor. Although it is uncommon to see riders in the Rocky Mountains competing in an english saddle, competitors do use them in New England and Europe. A breast collar is a good idea to stabilize your saddle during the initial start. If you have never pulled before, once the skier is moving, there is actually not much pull on the saddle.

Different riders have different opinions regarding shoeing horses for skijoring. Many competitors chose to compete in borium-tipped horseshoes with a snow-pad inside of the shoe. However, most weekend competitors will successfully compete barefoot. It is highly recommended that horses be outfitted with bell and splint boots on each foot.

Ropes often are provided by the competitions, though most serious teams chose to bring their own preferred regulation rope. Ropes are to be 50 feet in length for curved courses or 33 feet in length for straight courses and 3/8 inches or larger in diameter. Handles on ropes are not permitted.

HOW DO I ATTACH THE ROPE TO MY SADDLE?
The rope is attached to the saddle horn or behind the saddle. If the attachment is behind the saddle it must be secured to the primary rigging rings of the saddle via a narrow diameter, non elastic rope, so that pulling rope is within an approximate four (4) inches of the cantle, carabineer included. 

AS A SKIER, WHAT KIND OF SKIS SHOULD I USE?
That's a competitor secret! - But some of the top skiers in the sport have years of ski-racing under their belt, so a sharp edged ski that can make slalom type turns on icy conditions is probably preferred.

ADVICE FOR FIRST TIMERS?
For beginners to skijoring, it is recommended that your horse be familiar with having a rope across their hind quarters, any exposure to ponying or having skiers behind them will be a good place to start.  Skiers should practice "working the rope" and figuring out exactly how to hold tension to optimize their speed and turning ability.

WHERE CAN I PRACTICE?
Skijoring Utah has no formal practices. Some competitors chose to build small courses in their pastures but it is more important to get your horse comfortable with towing a skier behind them. This should be done slowly unless your horse is already comfortable with ponying things behind them. 

WHAT IS A COURSE LIKE?
Courses vary greatly from event to event and can be a straight run, U-shaped course, or a single turn L-shaped course. Typically course length will be approximately 600-1000 feet from start gate to finish gate with an additional couple of hundred feet for horses to stop. Ski gates are typically breakaway style, where the skier goes right of the red gates and left of the blue gates. Ski jumps vary from three to six feet high. The course designs are unique to each location and are created by an experienced designer who may chose to include rings for either the skier or the rider to grab to provide an additional challenge. 

HOW IS IT SCORED?
Skijoring is a two day competition with each team running once per day. Scoring is timing based and the times from each run is combined for an overall score. Time penalties are added for missed gates (five seconds added) or dropped/missed rings (two seconds added) to the total score. Winnings are awarded for the three fast combined times over the two days in each division as well as "day money" for the fast single day time in each division.

WHAT DIVISION SHOULD I ENTER?
Please refer to the TEAM REGISTRATION page. 

WHAT IS A CALCUTTA?
The Calcutta takes place on Friday night after Day 1 of competition. Teams are auctioned off to raise money for a local charity. Spectators and participants essentially "buy" a team(s) based on the results posted from Day 1 in expectations of the team being a top three finisher for Day 2 results (winning times for the Calcutta will be based on the top three results from Day 2, not cumulative times from the weekend).  Once a team is bid on, the winning bidder can win back part of the Calcutta money based on how the team performs on Saturday. All money raised during the Calcutta is shared between the non-profit and the winning bidders for the top three fastest teams on Sunday in each division.

CAN I VOLUNTEER?
Yes PLEASE! Volunteers are crucial to running a successful event. If you are interested in volunteering, please email info@skijoringutah.com .