Ski Joring in Whitefish

IMG_2723A trip to Whitefish, Montana wouldn’t be complete without a cowboy connection.IMG_2725But longtime Whitefish ranch builder Scott Ping is no ordinary cowboy. And Kona is no ordinary horse. They’re both hooked on Ski Joring. “It’s an extreme sport, for sure,” says Scott. “I broke my neck doing it. And eight ribs. And twelve fractures.”What is Ski Joring, you ask? Stemming from winter travel in Scandinavia, a horse and rider pull a skier through gates and jumps in the least amount of time possible. Watch the video for a taste, in case you didn’t catch it as a demonstration sport in the 1928 Winter Olympics.IMG_2665Kona’s a champ, with the breastplate to prove it, from the 2006 championships in Jackson Hole.IMG_2652Despite his litany of injuries, Scott’s still smiling. Probably because he won the North American Championships last year.IMG_2677This year’s season is just getting started, but Scott is puts his 12-year-old Appendix through his paces in the round pen to make sure his legs are sound. There will be $20,000 in prize money at stake January 25th, 2014 during Whitefish Winter Carnival. It’s the largest Ski Joring event in North America. Last year 75 teams competed. Everyone is welcome to give it a try, whether you’ve Ski Jored or not. IMG_2655However, before pulling any skiers this year, these Ski Jorers have some chores to do. When I left them, Scott and Kona were heading off into the forest to find a Christmas tree, chop it down and drag it home through the snow. Something tells me Whitefish always has a white Christmas.IMG_2718And so ends the Blue Besos sojourn to this charming mountain town in Northern Montana. Merry Christmas, Whitefish! Until we meet again.ClearSmall xx 2

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