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Why you Need to see Skijoring on Banff Ave

Published Date
Dec 12, 2023|
Events & Festivals
A horse pulls a trick skier over a snow jump in a Skijoring event on Banff Ave in Banff, Canada.

Horseback riding? That happens pretty much everywhere. Skiing? Yep, you've probably done that before.

But how about skiing while being pulled along by a horse?

It's called skijoring, and it's a spectacular event you'll be able to catch at Banff's SnowDays festival in January. In 2024, skijoring in Banff takes place on January 20, directly on Banff Ave in the heart of downtown. There are two 90-minute shows - 11 am and 2:30 pm and seats are on a first-come basis.

What is skijoring?

Skijoring is when a horse pulls a skier down a course or in the countryside. There are theories that the sport either started in China or Scandinavia, and it was even an exhibition event at the 1928 Winter Olympic Games in Switzerland.

There's a rich history of the sport in Alberta as a carnival event too, where adding horses to skiing brings a sense of cowboy style combined with mountain culture.

What will you see at Skijoring in Banff?

Imagine big jumps that riders have to navigate. Backflips and spins. Horse trick riding and the rush of powerful horses and skilled riders whizzing past your face. The riders with Skijor Canada put on a real show for the crowd, with slick turns and jaw-dropping tricks.

There's skijoring style?

The best way to describe Albertan skijoring style is cowboy and cowgirl attire blended with retro ski accessories. Think cowboy hats and leather boots with ski goggles and bright-coloured snowsuits.

Not only is there a style associated with skijoring, but there's a fashion show at the SnowDays festival, with multiple prizes up for grabs. Dress to impress at the event, and you could be a winner!

Skijoring style in Banff, CanadaSkijoring style in Banff, CanadaSkijoring style in Banff, Canada

When can you watch Skijoring in Banff?

Date: January 20, 2024

Time: 11:30 am and 2:30 pm

What: Two 90-minute shows.

Multiple teams from Skijor Canada will descend on the town on January 20 as part of Banff SnowDays. The event takes place on Banff Ave, and no tickets are required. Try to find a spot along the railing to be up close to the action, or find the perfect view from above from a restaurant balcony and enjoy a meal, drink and a show all in one. Try finding a spot at the Elk & Oarsman, where you can watch out a window or on the big-screen TVs with a special Skijor playlist. If you can't make it to Banff Ave, or you want a show with your meal, multiple pubs and restaurnts in town will be living streaming the event. Check here closer to the event for a full list of participating restaurants.

If you're already planning a winter visit to Banff, this is the perfect way to experience something unique and truly a part of Rocky Mountain culture.

Skijor in Banff CanadaSkijor in Banff CanadaSkijor in Banff Canada

Plan a trip around SnowDays

Banff is where winter means more, and there's so much to do in town throughout your trip, whether you're here for an impromptu visit or a planned voyage from abroad. SnowDays takes place in the last two weeks of January and the first week of February, and it's the perfect way to celebrate the magic of winter.

Skijoring is a great afternoon event to cap off a day of skiing at Mt. Norquay or a great morning event that can be capped off with a day in town, checking out the kids' PlayZone and snow sculptures built all around town.

In Lake Louise, you can go for a wild skate and check out a large ice castle - both directly on the world-famous lake.

Please note: This event is weather-dependent. Skijor Canada’s first priority is the safety of horses, riders, sliders, and spectators. In the event of adverse weather, including extreme cold or rain, Skijor Canada may need to modify or cancel all or part of the event. If that happens, we’ll provide the latest updates on our Facebook and Instagram or you can also contact our Visitor Services team directly via LiveChat.

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Banff & Lake Louise Tourism

Real Banff is an inside look at the events and activities around the park, brought to you by Banff & Lake Louise Tourism. Our mission is to have a post on pretty much everything that is available for you to do in Banff, Lake Louise and beyond.