Something to write home about...
Skijoring photo taken by Cynthia Baldauf. For more information on Cindy Baldauf's photography, click HERE.
Boot/spur photo taken by Paula Krugerud. For more information on Paula's photography, click HERE.


The Big Hole Valley Association is a non-profit organization made up of individuals and businesses in the upper Big Hole Valley. Our goal is to help people in the valley, sponsor events that are fun for the valley residents and visitors alike, improve the appearance and well-being of the community. Event entry fees, donations, and receipts from sales are used for prizes, to buy insurance, buy or rent equipment, purchase supplies, and conduct advertising. The association makes annual donations to local or regional charities. The Big Hole Valley Association sponsors this Winterfest activity.

Winterfest 2016 - Ski Joring Event Description & Rules

The 2016 event will take place over two days, February 27 and 28 in Wisdom Montana. We will be ski joring down a town street as we have in past years. Unlike past years this year we will run 3 divisions; sport, open, and novice within the Novice Division we will have 4 subclasses, women’s, century, snowboard, and true novice (novice is an event designed to introduce beginners to ski joring). We will have one “go” in each division each day of the two day event. On Saturday night we will hold a calcutta and sell teams in Open, Sport, Women’s and Century Divisions or subclasses.

Our 2016 race will be done in cooperation with Skijor America. With the help of Skijor America we will offer participant insurance at $20 per participant or a participant can buy a event policy that is good at all Skijor America sponsored events for $40. Friday’s Registration and Check in Registration and Check In must be completed by 9 pm Friday night February 26th at The Crossing Bar and Grill at Fetty’s. A registration table will be open at the Crossing Bar and Grill from 7 to 9 pm on Friday night. This means all division entries and payment of fees must be made by 9 pm. The waiver of liability must be signed by contestants before the race, however it can be signed on Saturday morning before 10 am at the restaurant. Contestants must be 18 years of age to participate.

Registration and Check In can be accomplished via Pay Pal. Go to our website to find a link to pay pal, or find the information HERE. Insurance will be offered Friday night during check in at the Crossing Bar and Grill and on Saturday morning until 10 am. Insurance is optional, but we highly recommend you take advantage of this opportunity especially if you don’t have other health insurance.

Saturday February 27 events:

• Women’s, Century, Snowboard, Novice, Open and Sport will be the first “go” order of events.

• Gate placement will be modified between divisions to bring the course difficulty more in line with the anticipated competitive level of the contestants.

• You must be at least 18 years of age to participate in the competition.

• Calcutta of all teams at the Crossing Bar and Grill Saturday at 7pm.

Sunday February 28 events:

• Women’s, Century, Snowboard, Novice, Open and Sport will be the second “go” order of events. We will run contestants in the reverse order on Sunday

• Gate placement will be modified between divisions to bring the course difficulty more in line with the anticipated competitive level of the contestants.

• You must be at least 18 years of age to participate in the competition.

• Awards will be at the Crossing Bar and Grill a hour to two after the event is finished. Check in and we will give you an estimate of the time.

Race briefing and start: Competitors briefing 1200 at the starting line; race starts at 1230 each day. A team entry is one skier and one rider.

Open Division - $50 per entrant - $100 per team

Sport Division and Women’s -$30 per entrant - $60 per team

Century and Snowboard -$20 per entrant - $40 per team

No Novice fees

Tentative entry cap:

Sport Division - 40 teams

Women’s Division - 20 teams

Open Division - 30 teams

Century Division- 20 teams

Novice Division - 20 teams

Overall rules:

1. All participants must sign a liability waiver.

2. Skiers must use the approved rope and it must be pulled from the horn of the saddle or the cantle. If behind the saddle the attachment must not be more than 4 inches from the cantle and must not be elastic. The Big Hole Tourism will supply the ropes used in the event.

3. Timers will flag the skier not the horse.

4. Skiers go right of the red gates, left of the blue gates.

5. Skiers missing a gate or a jump will result in a 5 second penalty. If the rope in front of the skier displaces a gate it is a 5 second penalty. If the rope behind the ski displaces a gate it is not a penalty. If the horse displaces a gate, goes through a gate, or rides onto a jump, it is a 5 second penalty.

6. The skier or the horseman must cross the finish line with the ring in their hand or around the arm. Failing to have the ring is a 5 second penalty.

7. Skis and boots must go through the gate.

8. The skier must be holding the rope and be in an upright position at the end of the race; at least one ski and both boots must go through and across the finish line/gate; no other body part may on the ground. The rider must also be on the horse. Missing the finish line gate is a DQ.

9. Participants should not drink alcohol before or during the race.

10. A course rules judge can disqualify a contestant, if they are unable to complete the course safely, or if a horse is over worked, is injured or becomes unruly or a safety hazard.

11. Once a team is called to start, the team must quickly ready themselves or they will be disqualified. The course judge at the starting line will make the final call on timeliness. (Note, in past years we have been very liberal with the order of the runs and have allowed changes. In 2016 we will run the event in the order called. If you have two horses have two sets of tack.)

12. A team can have one restart if the skier drops the rope before the first gate at the start of the race in the Sport, Women’s, and the Century Divisions. There is no second start in the Open Division.

13. Skiers must wear a helmet and eye protection.

14. Horses may be walked through the course without skiers to get them familiar with the course. Stay in the middle of the course.

15. Decisions by the chairman of the rules committee will be final.

16. Good sportsmanship must be practiced by all.

17. Riders match the speed of your horse to the conditions and the ability of the skiers. Skiers we recommend you not climb the rope. A long tail of rope behind you can be a hazard to you.

18. No instant replays (videos cameras) will be used by the judges in the case of a protest. Protests must be filed before the end of the division or subclass of the run with a member of the Ski Joring Committee.

19. In all Divisions a team is made up of a rider a skier and a horse and must be the same in both go arounds. Switching horses will be a DQ. A team may enter once in a division. Switching ends is not a new team and is not allowed within a division.

20. Women’s- Participants, both rider and skier must be women.

21. Participants must be 18 years of age at the time of the event to participate.

22. Open skiers with two exceptions, may only participate in the Open Division however, Open Division horses and riders may participate in the Novice, Sport, Women’s, or Century Divisions. In the Open Division we will allow Century skiers over 50 years old and women from the Women’s division to compete. We are allowing this as we have experienced at shortage of horses and riders in past events. Skiers that won the 2014 Open or Sport Divisions may only enter into the Open Division in 2016. If a Open Division horse is used in the Sport Women’s Century or Novice Division or subclass the time or place will not be reported to Skijor America for finals standings.

23. Century – a team must have a combined age of 100 at the date of the event. Your horses age does not count.

24. The Divisions will run one “go” on Saturday and one “go” on Sunday. We will pay on the fastest time for each “go” and pay on the average. See the payout schedules on the following pages.

25. No team substitutions can be done once the event has started.

Payouts Saturday and Sunday:

ALL ENTRY FEES will be paid out in all Classes. We will pay 100% of the purse in all classes. Fastest team time of the day in each class,will receive their entry fees back.

All payouts in all classes will be calculated as follows:

2-5 teams - 2places will be paid 60% / 40%

6-10 teams - three places will be paid 50% /30% / 20%

11 or more teams - 4 places will be paid 40% /30%/ 20%/ 10%

There are no fees for the true novice class thus no payout Buckles will be awarded to the Open, Sport, Women’s, and Century Division average winners.

The snowboard division is new and the number of participants is unpredictable thus a buckle will not be provided this year however an alternate award will be offered.


1. No refunds will be given in the Calcutta. If for some reason your team does not race on Sunday there will be no refund. All teams must be purchased.

2. Minimum bids will be $20 for a team.

3. Teams that do not receive a bid will be sold in a lot at the end of the Calcutta with a combined starting bid of $20.

4. Teams from the open, sport, women’s and century divisions will be sold in the Calcutta. If we have a large enough number of snowboarders to make a competitive event we will also sell the snowboard teams at the Calcutta. We will make a decision on Saturday morning. The Calcutta will be held at the Crossing Bar and Grill at Fetty’s at 7pm Saturday night.

5. The Calcutta payout will be based on the Sunday run times only. The Calcutta will not pay on the average.

6. While not a requirement, it is common for the purchasers of a team in the calcutta to allow the team to buy in for 25% of the calcutta purchase amount.

7. During the calcutta, we may elect to split a large division into two groups. We would sell teams in the first group and payout on the places in the first group. We would sell teams in the second group and payout in the second group. This provides another layer competition. Faster teams will compete against one another, and slower teams will compete against each other for the calcuta only.

The breakout of the groups will be determined by the race committee on Saturday afternoon once we see the size of the divisions and the race results.


70% of the purse is paid out in the Calcutta. All payouts are based on the Sunday Division times.

2-5 teams – 2 places paid 60%- 40%

6-10 teams -3 places paid 50%-30%-20%

11 or more teams – 4 places paid 40%-30%-20%- 10%

You can contact the Tourism by calling Diane at the Crossing Bar and Grill in Wisdom at 406-689-3260.