Ski joring Event Description and Rules

The Big Hole Valley Association is a non-profit organization made up of individuals and businesses from the upper Big Hole Valley.  Our goal is to help people in the valley, sponsor events that are fun for residents and visitors alike, and improve the appearance and the wellbeing 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 activity.

What’s new in 2018 - The 2018 event will take place over two days, February 24 and 25 in Wisdom Montana.  In 2018 we will again be ski joring at the Wisdom Airport which is about 1.5 miles southeast of Wisdom on Highway 278. 

There are some changes in the signup procedures. 

1-We will cap the race at 90 teams.  We have found from experience that with Wisdom’s unpredictable and often harsh conditions that we have to keep the event from running long, thus the cap. 

2-We will have an open registration period from 0800 February 8, through 1700 February 20.  A more detailed description of this sign up period follows.  All registrations must be made as a team.

Registration may be done by a phone call, in person, or by mail.

We will not be signing up on line and will not be using Pay Pal in 2018. 

3-We will have 3 Divisions; open, sport, and novice.  We have three classes in the Sport i.e. the Sport, Women’s, and Century. In the Novice we have two classes i.e. the novice, and snowboard. Depending on time and interest we may have non-competitive exhibition runs during breaks. 

4-There will be a fee in the novice division this year.  If we have a good number of novice and snowboard teams we will also sell them in the Calcutta. 

5- In 2018 horses will not be allowed to change divisions and will only be allowed to run twice per day.  Skiers must also stay within their division.  They may ski in more than one class within a Division.

6-Our event will likely be sanctioned by Ski Joring America (SJA) in 2018.  Points will be awarded toward the SJA national championship based on their rules.

7- We will be starting the race at 1230 on Saturday and moving it up one hour to 1130 on Sunday.  This allows contestants to get on the road earlier following the race.

2018 Registration Details

Registration will be open for a 13 day period from 8:00 am February 8 to the 5 pm February 20, 2018.  Teams will sign up by mail, by calling or stopping by the Crossing Bar and Grill in Wisdom MT 406-689-3275.  Payment will be made by credit or debit card, by check in the mail or in person with a check or credit card. 

Phone- You may call the Crossing Bar and Grill and register by phone using a credit card or a debit card.  The restaurant is open from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm each day.  The phone number is 406-689-3260.

In person - You may stop at the Crossing Bar and Grill anytime between 800 am and 800 pm and sign up for the race.  The restaurant is at 327 County Road on Highway 43 in Wisdom.

Mail-You may mail in your registration with a check to Big Hole Valley Association, PO Box 193, Wisdom MT 59761.   A form is available on our website; bigholevalley.com .   Mail is slow in getting to Wisdom;  you better plan on 4 days.    All registration information and payment of fees must be received by 5pm Friday Feb 20.

Waivers - Waivers must be signed by 10 am February 24 to be allowed to race.  Waivers may be signed at the Crossing Bar and Grill. 

Entry Caps-We will be capping the total number of teams at 90.  Within the cap we will initially allow 20 teams in the Open, 40 teams in the Sport, 10 teams in the Women’s, 10 teams in the Century, 10 teams in the Novice including snowboarding. 

If we reach a cap in a division or class during the sign up period, and there are teams still interested in competing, we will take the team name and information.  After the close of registrations we will review where we stand relative to the caps.  Assuming we are not at 90 total teams, we will expand the individual divisions or classes on a first come first served basis using the information collected during the registration period until we reach 90 teams.  We will be calling these teams as quickly as possible to confirm their continued interest and we will complete registration by phone. If the team we call is not interested we will proceed down the list.  If we can not contact the team in a reasonable time frame we will move to the next team on the list.

Friday’s Check in:

 Recall that all registration will be complete by Friday night.

A registration table will be open at the Crossing Bar and Grill from 7 to 9 pm on Friday night Feb 24 and Saturday morning until 1000 am for waivers and for contestants to buy insurance from Ski Joring America.  The waiver of liability must be signed by contestants before the race.   Contestants must be 18 years of age to participate.

Pay Pal will not be available this year.

Participant insurance through Ski Joring America 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, Sport and Open will be the order of events.   The race starts a 1230 sharp, Contestant briefing is at 1200 at the start gate.  Private ropes will be approved at the start gate at 1100.

·         Gate placement may 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 teams at the Crossing Bar and Grill Saturday at 7pm.

Sunday February 28 events:

·         Women’s, Century, Snowboard, Novice, Sport and Open will be the second “go” order of events.  We will reverse Saturday’s run order on Sunday i.e. last team on Saturday will run first on Sunday.  The race begins at 1130, the contestant briefing is at 1100 at the start gate.

·         Gate placement may 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.

Entries must have a complete team for registration.  A team entry is one skier, one horse and one rider. Changing the rider, skier, or horse constitutes a new team.


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

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

Century Class, Novice and Snowboard -$20 per entrant - $40 per team

Total entry cap- 90 teams

Tentatively distributed as follows:

Sport Division - 40 teams

Women’s Division - 10 teams

Open Division - 20 teams

Century Division- 10 teams

Novice Division - 10 teams

Course description:

The track is straight and will be approximately 900 feet long.  The track will have gates, three jumps and one ring. 

Overall rules:

1.    All participants must sign a liability waiver. 

2.    Skiers must use an 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 ropes for the event.  If you elect to use your own rope, it must 33 ft or less, it may not have bars, loops or knots on the skier end.  It must have a loop to be place on the horn or it must have a carabiner to be hooked behind the cantle of the saddle.  Ropes will be approved at 1100 at the start line by the rules committee.  Using an unapproved rope or one that fails to meet the above specifications will result in a disqualification.

3.    Timing systems and 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 horse goes into or 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 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 be 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.  Members of the rules committee may eject competitors who are intoxicated and in our view unable to safely compete in 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 overworked, 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 2018 we will run the event in the order called.  If you have two horses have two sets of tack.)

12.A team in the sport, women’s, century, or snowboard divisions can have one restart if the skier drops the rope before the skier passes the first gate at the start of the races.  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 prior to the event 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.
Good sportsmanship must be practiced by all.

16.Riders match the speed of your horse to the conditions and the ability of the skiers.  Skiers, we strongly recommend you not climb the rope.  A long tail of rope behind you can wrap around you and be a hazard if you fall.

17.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 class of the run with a member of the Ski Joring Committee.

18.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.  There are no substitutions.  Switching horses on the team will be a DQ.   A team may enter once in a division.  Switching ends is a new team and is allowed within a division.

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

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

21.Skiers must stay in one division and horses must stay in one Division.    Skiers that won the 2017 Open or Sport Divisions may only enter into the Open Division in 2018.

22.Century – a team must have a combined age of 100 at the date of the event.  The skier must be 50 or older.  Your horse’s age does not count.

23.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.

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

25.Horses may only be used twice per day.  You may only enter a horse as a member of two teams.

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. These payouts are subtracted before the average payout is calculated.

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%

Buckles will be awarded to the Open, Sport, Women’s, and Century Division and Class average winners.  The Novice division is unpredictable thus a buckle will not be provided, 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 Novice skiers or snowboarders to make a competitive event we will also sell these 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 February 24.

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

6.      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 Calcutta 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.

7.      Winning bidders pay with cash or check to the auction clerk upon acknowledgement of the winning bid.  Betting syndicates are allowed however one member of the syndicate must be the designated bidder.

8.      Event awards and funds will be distributed to the winning Calcutta bidders at the Crossing Bar and Grill at approximately 6:00pm, Sunday, February 25, 2018. Check with the committee for the exact time.

9.      Day one times will be available at the Calcutta, day two times on which the Calcutta is based will be available at the payout and awards ceremony at the Crossing Bar and Grill.


70% of the purse is paid out in the Calcutta, 30 % goes to the Big Hole Valley Association

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%

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

You can contact the Big Hole Valley Association by calling Diane Havig at the Crossing Bar and Grill, 406-689-3260.

Team Registration Form

Wisdom Ski Joring, 2018
Team Registration Form (Provide one form for each team entry)

Division Fees:

Open - $100 per Team

Sport and Women’s - $60 per Team

Century and Snowboard* - $40 per Team

Novice Class - $40per team

*Snowboard Division specifics will be determined by the number of entries.

General Information / Rules for sign-up  Registration 8am Feb 8-5pm Feb 20.

1. A team is made up of a rider, a horse and a skier. There are NO substitutions. Registrations must declare all three. Competitors must be 18 years of age or older.

2. Registration fees must be paid by 5pm, Friday, February 20th.

3. No one individual may enter more than 4 times, a team may only enter once per division.

4. Skiers and horses may only enter in one division.

5. Womens teams must be made up of two women.

6. CENTURY division riders and skiers must have a combined age of 100, the skier must be 50+.

7. Horses may only run twice per day.

8. Divisions/classes are limited. Sign up is first come, first served. We will fill the cap of 90 teams following the close of registration if their is remaining space and you requested a spot during the registration period.

Please complete the following.

Division and class to be entered ________________ (i.e. Sport Division, womens class)

Rider Information

Skier Information

Name  ____________________________

Name  ____________________________

Address: __________________________

Address: __________________________

Age:    ___

Age:    ___

Phone # ______________

Phone # ______________

e-mail: _______________

e-mail: _______________

HORSE NAME _______________________

Credit Cards

Reservations may be made by phone using a credit card. Please call The Crossing Bar and Grill, ask for Diane Havig at 406-689-3260  Note: Credit cards will be run through The Crossing Bar and Grill business, the entry fees will be given to the Big Hole Valley Association.

Checks will also be accepted – please make them payable to the Big Hole Valley Association.  We will not be using pay pal in 2018.

Mail entry forms to:                                                                        

Big Hole Valley Association                                             

PO Box 193

Wisdom, MT 59761

(Mail is slow to Wisdom – please allow at least 4 days.  Fees and applications must be in our hands by 5pm  February 20, 2018)  Note: If you don’t have a team, we may be able to help you find a partner; but we will not sign you up until your team is formed.

Please review all the event rules at our website - bigholevalley.com

Team Bio Information

Team Bio Information

Rider Name__________________ Home Town_____________________

Nick Name__________________ How long ski joring_________________

Other info the crowd would enjoy knowing about you__________________

Skier Name__________________ Home Town_______________________

Nick Name__________________ How long ski joring__________________

Other info the crowd would enjoy knowing about you___________________

Horse name_________________ Age______________________________

Color_______________________ Interesting info about this horse__________________________________________________________
Has your team competed before? ___________________________________

Have you competed in Wisdom before? ______________________________

Other notes: