Skijoring: derived from the Norwegian word skikjøring, (‘skē-ʃɜːr-iŋ), refers to the practice of driving while on skiis. Whether by horse, dogs, or other catalysts, skijoring has perhaps reached its most refined and appreciated form in two words: “White Turf”.
Gentleman’s Digest simply calls it: awesome. For over a hundred years now, competitors have gathered on the lake at St. Moritz, Switzerland, to take part in a rigorous and adrenaline-pumping derby on snow. If you know Kentucky and Tennessee tradition well enough, this is your next destination for new heights. Drivers race their horses atop colored skiis and ropes, helping the steed to see the instruments through the snow. Tourists and locals alike gather for the occasion. Two key ingredients? Fur coats and champagne.
The following events currently take place over three consecutive Sundays (in 2015: Feb. 8, 15, & 22):
- Flat Race – competition over a set distance, most similar to the Kentucky Derby
- Trot Race – horses pull riders by harness
- [Prominent] Skikjoring – riders drive by balancing atop skiis – and awesomeness.
If you think you’ve run out of ideas for winter exploits, we can certainly take note of Swiss ingenuity in this case. Sure, there are plenty of ways to make use of a frozen lake… Skating, a little fishing, hockey even. Or wait – what if we bring out a bunch of champion-grade horses pulling guys in a giant pack on skiis, have them go at it three weekends in a row, and throw a big party on the sidelines? Credit Suisse and BMW think it’s a good idea too, apparently.
And after you’ve enjoyed the day’s competition and gallantry, you can enjoy your stay at the St. Moritz Ski Resort, Switzerland’s oldest and most famous alpine village sitting at 1850 meters above sea level.
Oh yeah, and one more thing… how do you finish off three weekends of horse racing in the Alps?