Unique cowboy and skiing sport on display in Heber City

Jan 26, 2023, 5:16 PM | Updated: Jan 28, 2023, 6:12 pm

HEBER CITY, Utah — If you’re looking for a wild, action-packed event for your family this weekend that combines Utah’s cowboy culture and its ski culture, head up to Heber City.  It’s called skijoring, which is essentially a horse and rider pulling a skier through an obstacle course on a snowy track.

“This is an awesome sport for someone that loves horses and that loves skiing. It doesn’t get any better,” said Scott Hoover. 

He’s a Heber City native and a World Champion at skijoring.  He showed off some of his skills on the track at the Wasatch County Events Center.  He was whooping and hollering with joy as he skied through a slalom zone and went over jumps while being pulled by Jade the horse and her rider, Marquise Young.

He loves horses and skiing and after he saw his first event in Montana he was hooked.

“Slalom skiing mixed with snowcross. So there are jumps, slalom turns. Instead of just going down the hill, you’re being pulled behind a horse,” he said. 

And, the horse is really moving.  They get even more excited when there’s a crowd in the stands.

“When you’re flying down, that horse is going at least 30 mph, and you’ve got ice balls flying past your head. It’s fast,” Hoover said. 

Joe Loveridge founded Skijoring Utah after seeing it in Montana.  He trains horses and wanted to show off what they could do. So he started skijoring Utah seven years ago.

“You’ve got cowbells. You’ve got people screaming, the horses feel the energy. They’re running as fast as they can go,” he said. 

He especially enjoys the combination of Utah cultures. 

“Cowboys, cowgirls, horses, skiers. You bring your Heber Valley crowd, your Park City crowd, and you’re mixing some folks up and they have a good time,” Loveridge said.

Each rider runs the course once on Friday and once on Saturday and the fastest time wins.  All racers are pre-registered.  Competitors race for buckles, cash, and prizes.

It’s happening at the Wasatch County Events Center, a new location, which lets the organizers grow the sport.  For details and ticket info: skijoringutah.com. 

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Unique cowboy and skiing sport on display in Heber City