Main Content

Leadville Announces 76th Annual Ski Joring Event

Published: February 16, 2024

Residents, spectators and participants travel back in time each year to the Wild West era during Leadville’s annual ski joring event held on historical Harrison Street. This year, the event is scheduled to take place March 2-3, 2024.

What is Ski Joring?

A ski joring team is composed of a horse, a horseback rider and a skier. The team maneuvers a timed course. Scoring is based on time and penalties are applied for missing gates, jumps or rings.

“For the three athletes — the horse, the rider and the skier — it is an adrenaline rush that is unmatched for most people that have done it,” longtime competitor and race committee member Jason Dahl said. “I think it is contagious. You get as close to that rush without actually being one of the competitors. You can nearly reach out and touch a horse as it is riding by.”

Each year, spectators and participants are impressed by the high-speed intensity of the event.

Competitors race for cash prizes, and teams are made up by a random draw before the start.

The History

In 1949, longtime friends Tom Schroeder and “Mugs” Ossman sat in a booth at the Golden Burro Café on Harrison Avenue in Leadville. The two were at a standstill when given the task of creating a new event to bring to the Crystal Carnival, a new upcoming winter event in Leadville.

Schroeder and Ossman decided to make the trip to Steamboat Springs in hopes of getting inspiration from Steamboat’s winter festival.

The two men found exactly what they were looking for when they witnessed the ski joring event.

Returning to Leadville inspired, they recreated the event at a much faster pace than what they had witnessed in Steamboat.

Ossman raised American quarter horses for speed. He took the first high-speed ski joring run at his ranch just north of Leadville.

Today, Leadville’s event is one of the premier events of its kind in the country.

Ski joring isn’t widely known outside of the mountain states, making it a unique event for high country culture.

The term ski joring is derived from the Norwegian term meaning “ski driving”. The origination of the sport is said to have come from Indigenous people in modern-day Scandinavia who were pulled on skis behind reindeer.

Uniting The Community

Members of the community come together to build the course on Highway 24, which is the thoroughfare through Leadville.

Work begins on Friday morning at 4 a.m., dumping 125 truckloads of snow over Harrison Avenue. Volunteer crews then clear the track by 6 p.m. Sunday evening, erasing any evidence of the rowdy scene that took place during the weekend.

“I think it very much feels like what I would imagine the Wild West to be — minus maybe the ski equipment and stop lights,” Dahl said. “There is just no better setting with the historic buildings and all the flags.”

The Event

This year’s event will take place March 2, 2024 through March 3, 2024 on Harrison Street in Leadville. Races on both days will begin at noon. The event is free to watch for the public.

The Leadville community comes together to not only celebrate and embrace ski joring but also the Crystal Carnival. Local shops and restaurants host events throughout the weekend.

Visit for more information on ski joring and Crystal Carnival weekend events.

Leadville’s popularity and appeal continues to grow significantly as the community enjoys close proximity to seven ski areas, panoramic views, affordable real estate and ever-increasing dining and shopping opportunities.

Johnny Welsh is our leading real estate expert in Leadville. Reach out to Johnny at 970-389-0238 for the trusted expertise you deserve.


Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)