Giddy Up to Leadville, It’s Ski Joring Time!
Earlier! Earlier! Earlier! If there was one word that you should remember if you are planning on attending Leadville Ski Joring this weekend March 4 & 5, that word is EARLIER.
The Calcutta will start EARLIER – 9:30 a.m. at The Grand Stand. The races will start EARLIER with the first horse down the Avenue at High Noon both days. Parking and walking will definitely require that you should get here EARLIER, considering all of the snow that is still stacked up on Leadville’s side streets, getting around will require some additional patience. New this year will be a shuttle service, you can find that information HERE.
In response to local feedback about the annual event which has been a Leadville tradition since 1949, organizers have changed up the schedule to get the day’s activities started a bit earlier. Now, that’s a tall order for a bunch of cowboy volunteers and aging skiers who put the whole shindig on, including horses and riders that come from as far away as Montana and New Mexico to compete, but improvement and change are good to give-a-go, so here’s what you need to know.
During the weekend, downtown Leadville will be a NO DOGS and NO DRONES area – so leave the pooch and propellers at home. From the sounds of it, local law officers will be enforcing these restrictions, so give Fido a good morning walk and leave him at home, please.
LSJ has made a shift into the 21st century with online registration, which has been pretty swift in its inaugural year. That said, the organizers will still offer the old-school sign up method on both Friday (tonight) and Saturday from 6 – 8 p.m. at The Elks Lodge, 123 W. 5th Street. Getting a jump on registration and the draw for teams should save time during race day, which allowed organizers to bump up the schedule on race day. Keep your fingers crossed!
One of the biggest concerns about an earlier schedule is having The Calcutta – a BIG part of the purse prize that brings in the competitors – starting at 9:30 a.m. That’s an early start time for a betting man and boot-scooting cowgirls, but nobody’s getting any sleep anyway this weekend anyway, so be sure to support the cause and bring your hard cold cash down for some mid-morning betting on teams both Saturday and Sunday!
If all goes according to plan – and it rarely does for one of Colorado’s last true Wild West Shows – the race action is anticipated to get going at High Noon both days.
Another noteworthy occasion for the weekend will be the memorial tribute to Jody Manly who passed away earlier this year. Before the opening ceremony on Saturday morning, longtime friend and LSJ organizer Paul Copper will be presenting a moving tribute to Joe, so try to be down at the Grand Stand by 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 4.
You will be dearly missed, Joe!
If your kids are looking for a chance to ski down historic Harrison Avenue, then plan on attending the Kids Event which is now being held AFTER the big races on Saturday ONLY, anticipated to get started around 3 p.m. at the start line at 8th and Harrison.
So, if you want to have a great Leadville Ski Joring experience, Leadville Today suggests that you plan ahead for a day in America’s Highest City.
The weather forecast looks perfect with bluebird skies and sunshine, but don’t be fooled! Leadville temperatures have remained cool in the low 40s during the day, and there is still A LOT of snow at 10,200 feet, so please dress appropriately – in layers!
Be sure to like the Leadville Ski Joring Facebook Page, where you can keep up with all the weekend’s activities in real time.
Transportation: If you’re coming from out of town consider taking a bus up to Leadville. It’s perfect for a day trip and you can read all about your options: HERE. If you plan to drive, get here early enough to find a place to park and walk into town. Remember Harrison Avenue is the stage for Leadville Ski Joring, so having the town’s main thoroughfare tied up creates its own traffic headaches. Then add the crowds and all that snow that’s still hanging around the side streets, and additional time and patience will be required for getting around. Come early, plan to get some exercise by walking into town, grab some breakfast, stay for lunch, shop in the stores on Harrison Avenue, or take in some of the other Crystal Carnival events happening this weekend.
If you can, stay for the nightlife – it’s Leadville’s BIG winter celebration with live music and entertainment in downtown Lead Vegas! Remember the whole reason that this event is put on by a 100% volunteer group is to bring people into town, to support Leadville businesses, while locals and guests enjoy a truly unique Cloud City tradition:Welcome to Leadville Ski Joring!