As reported in the London Independent, Pamplona may have its running of the bulls, St Mortiz its tobogganing maniacs and Warren Miller its cast of crazies, but Ski Joring has been part of the Whitefish Winter Carnival since the 1960’s.

Founding Father of the Carnival, Norm Kurtz, challenged local ski legends of the Big Mountain Ski Resort, Martin Hale, Dale Evenson, Gordy Taylor, Dick Maddox and others to take part in the high speed event. He also recruited Mountain Trails Saddle Club horsemen, Elmer Smith, Herb Knuth, the Morris brothers, Doc Kauffman and others to saddle up their fastest broomtails to pull the skiers. There was no cowboy chic to it–just get the rope around the horn and go!!

The event was held on Central Avenue in the early years but after local businessman Russ Street was nearly thrown through the window of the Toggery clothing store and a crowd of spectators was parted by a couple of runaway horses the event moved to the fenced Mountain Trails Saddle Club, on Wisconsin Avenue, where the Whitefish Ice Rink now stands. Reckless abandon and great fun continued every year until the mid seventies when, due to injuries, the Carnival organizing committee could no longer place insurance. As a result, street broom hockey, snowmobile jumps on Central Avenue, the Great Bar to Bar Snowshoe Race and Ski Joring were dropped from the venue.

But in 2003 local businessman Scott Ping spearheaded a successful campaign to bring this exciting event back as part of the Whitefish Winter Carnival. Now a sanctioned event, it is more exciting than ever. Faster horses, higher jumps more fun!!