The word skijoring comes from the Norwegian language and is literally translated as “ski driving”. Skijoring involves a skier attached by reins to an animal or team of animals, which generally consist of dogs or horses. The sport has been around in Colorado since at least 1949 when the city of Leadville held an equestrian skijoring competition. The basic premise of the sport is a fast and furious race to see which horse or dog can pull the skier to the finish line fastest. The sport has also welcomed recreational participants.
With skiers competing for cash prizes and bragging rights, a good number of Coloradans enjoy competitive skijoring, in addition to scores of fans who gather to witness the spectacle of skijoring events. Unfortunately, recent skijoring accidents have left both people and horses injured. In two recent skijoring incidents, horses were injured so badly that they had to be euthanized shortly thereafter. Skiers and riders can be seriously injured when a horse goes down during a skijoring race. The sport (with horses at least) has been likened by some to be similar to Ben Hur chariot racing.
As with any other recreational activity, participants need to understand the risks and dangers involved. While sporting events like skijoring carry inherent risks of which participants and spectators may be aware, it is possible that owners, managers, and operators of skijoring facilities, events, and races may be responsible for injuries caused by them. When individuals are injured participating in any sport or recreational activity, the best course of action is to speak with a personal injury attorney who can evaluate the facts and determine if a claim can be made.