Skijoring in Teton Valley

January 21, 2012 · 7 comments

What is it that makes humans crave the experience of hanging on to a rope on friction-reducing platforms behind something that has at least one horse power?

I thought I was familiar with most expressions of this compulsion: water-skiing and wake-boarding, tow-surfing (or is that “surf-towing?” I mean the one where the hero on the jet-ski tows a long-haired lunatic seven stories up the side of a wall of water, so said loony can careen her way down and across the wave, Maverick-style), chuckwagon races (shorter ropes, but still…), and so on.

(Does anyone remember me making a New Year’s resolution to use more precise punctuation and fewer parentheses in my writing?
No? Good.).

We enjoyed the full spectator experience of skijoring on the last day of the first annual Great Snow Fest of Teton Valley. (Oddly, there are no skijoring photos in that link. Good thing we’re here.)

Skijoring is an up-close spectator/photographer sport.

It’s as close as I’ve come lately to having an excited beast with sharp hooves and wild roving eyes come charging at me as FAST and HARD as it can go, steered by a guy who’s NOT watching where he’s going, while I hunker down in a snowbank, right about horsey knee-level, so I can get a good angle on the shot.

(As part of my writer’s resolutions for 2012, I was also going to avoid excessively long sentences.)

While much of the standard equipment is about as straight up as it comes — horse, rope, skis, DNA that compels you to seek thrills, partnerships, and ponies — there were a couple of examples of the long-armed reach of Silicon Valley. This guy, for instance, with a live-streaming webcam on his helmet as he goes over the final jump.

Skijoring finish-line judging, also for instance. Of course there’s an app for that, Silly!

(I was also going to mix up predictable word order as a way of keeping my writing fresh.)

Just like the rest of life, the secret appears to be communication, partnership, and trust. This young man in the blue coat, for example, seems to place an almost inordinate amount of trust in the belief that should his partner on the skis fall on impact, he will have the presence of mind to LET GO OF THE ROPE, seein’ as how the other end is attached firmly to the saddle. Which is attached to an excited beast with sharp hooves, etc. (See above.)

Is it just my inner scuba instructor speaking, or does this orientation of anchored rope, delicate spines, beast at a full-gallop, and serious air not strike anyone as a bit risky?

There were emergency vehicles standing by, mind.

This young “no guts, no glory” competitor sailed “pour-spout over tea cozy” in an attempt at a full-rotation flip off the last jump, and landed it at about 342 degrees, rather than the more physics-friendly 360.

And this is the quintessential pose of a “freaked-out sports mom” trying really hard to find out if there’s a concussion without further injuring an already banged-up ego.

(Did I also mention that for 2012, I was going to make a diligent effort to avoid  “quotation marks for emphasis,” as it runs the risk of reading like Steve Martin “air quotes.”

Sigh… )

Dogs are welcome everywhere here, as long as they are sufficiently controlled.

Makes you wonder what kind of temper this little controlee has. He’s probably a sweetie, but we know for sure that the controller is a mountain climber. Who else here would have a rope, a carabiner, and know how to use them? That’s one sweet knot.

We love Teton Valley.

Yes, we do. My choices in footwear and overall fashion style fit in very well here.

The community is friendly and supportive, the sun shines in January, and the women are just as likely to be driving the heavy machinery–and watching where they’re going.

These events are fun. And besides, it’s always good to get out for bit of air.


P.S. How’s it going with YOUR resolutions?

P.P.S. Happy New Year!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Peta January 25, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I am in Perth, Western Australia, in the scorching heat (35C and only 10am) and these gorgeous photos of people with such high energy in the snow are so “cool”. Never heard of Skijoring before – it looks kinda dangerous – wonder if that is covered under travel insurance!

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rickandkathy January 28, 2012 at 11:54 am

Peta, thanks for stopping by from Australia for a refreshing dip in the snow 🙂

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Louise January 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Skijoring can also be done with dog power. Winston is a powerful dog. Draw your own conclusion, O ye of the icy walking path.
And on another, much warmer, note, kiteboarding seems like a kinder gentler approach to stuff strapped to feet; perhaps with fewer concussions.

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rickandkathy January 28, 2012 at 11:55 am

We consulted with him on this idea, but he declined, citing an allergy to anything that could be considered “work.” His final words on the subject: “Check the contract.”

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Debra January 24, 2012 at 10:13 am

None made, none to break. 🙂 Glad you’re having fun!

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rickandkathy January 28, 2012 at 11:55 am

Now that’s using the ol’ noggin!

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