LEADVILLE, Colo. — The Leadville Ski Joring & Crystal Carnival was held this weekend in the historic Colorado mountain town. It was the 75th year of the addictively dynamic and thrilling spectacle.
Lining a frigid Harrison Avenue, crowds hold their breath for a few seconds, all eyes on a skier and the horse and rider in front of them, attached to each other by a long rope. The trio readies themselves at one end of an obstacle course. The skier tugs the slack out against the horse’s saddle and wraps the rope around their gloved hand.
It's a tense few moments. There’s anxiety. Exhilaration creeps in.
And then the horse starts running.
As it picks up speed — up to 40 mph — the skier behind holds the rope while piercing sets of rings with a baton and navigating eight-foot jumps. It’s a flurry of activity in just a matter of seconds. Snow flies everywhere. The skier goes airborne. Hot breath shoots out of the horse’s nose.
Then it’s over.
Watch Saturday's event in the video below: