top of page

Rules & Regulations (2023)

 

Competitor Rules:

 

Teams consist of Horse, Rider, and Skier.  Each team runs one time per day.  No substitutions are allowed for any team member after Friday night at midnight before the race.  If any team member cannot compete for any reason, the team will be disqualified.  No refunds will be given.  

 

A horse may compete in only one division.  A horse may compete 2 times per day in Novice, Sport, or Open. 

 

A skier may compete in only one division.  A skier may compete 4 times per day.

Skiers must wear approved snow sports helmets.  Eye protection is strongly recommended.

 

A rider may compete in more than one division with horses and skiers that qualify for those divisions with exceptions noted below in the division class rules.  A rider may compete 4 times per day.

 

**In the past, Whitefish Skijoring has been an 18 year old and up event.  For the first time we are able to invite our younger competitors to participate!  While we are not having a Jr class this season, specifically, we are inviting those 15 and up to compete.  Those under 18 will need a parent or guardian to sign the waiver.

 

Unsafe Behavior

Safety is our main concern.  Your registration signature pledges your word that you will conduct yourself in as safe a manner as possible at all times while on the event property or attending race events off property.  Failure to comply with our safety standards at any of the scheduled events may result in the disqualification of all teams with the offending competitor as a member for that day’s competition and/or from the entire event and/or future events, depending on the circumstances and the severity of the offense.  What is considered unsafe is at the discretion of any race official and will include any behavior which has the likelihood to cause injury to any person (spectator, official, volunteer, competitor, etc.), animal, or property under our jurisdiction.  Unsafe behavior can be reported to race officials by competitors for review.  Penalty for unsafe behavior will be decided by no less than 3 race officials and the decision is final.

 

Sportsmanship

 

Good sportsmanship is important to the success of the event and to the image of the skijoring community.  Your registration signature pledges your word to the humane treatment of our equine competitors and to the respectful treatment of all fellow competitors, volunteers, and race officials.  Failure to comply with the spirit of friendly competition at any of the scheduled events may result in the disqualification of all teams with the offending competitor as a member for that day’s competition and/or from the entire event and/or from future events, depending on the circumstances and the severity of the offense.  Unsportsmanlike behavior can be reported to race officials by competitors for review.  Penalty for unsportsmanlike behavior will be decided by no less than 3 race officials and the decision is final.   

Firearms

 

Competitors will not be allowed to carry firearms while participating in the event.  

 

Human Competitor Health

 

An ambulance and crew will be on site.  Service, if needed, will be the responsibility of the beneficiary of such care and will be billed by the provider(s).  If on-site medical personnel deems a competitor unfit to continue competing due to injury or illness, race officials reserve the right to disqualify that competitor from the rest of that day’s competition or what is left of the entire competition.  

 

Horse Health

 

The on-site veterinarian will have the authority to scratch a horse for health reasons or concerns pertaining to the safety of the horse and the image of the sport.  Any race official can require a horse to be examined by the veterinarian prior to racing.  The on-site veterinarian will be available to competitors to assist as needed.  Please contact a race official to summon the veterinarian.  Service, if needed, will be the responsibility of the beneficiary of such care and will be billed by the provider(s).

A horse ambulance will be on-site courtesy of Rebecca Farm.

The on-site veterinarian is courtesy of LaSalle Veterinarian Clinic.

It is highly recommended that horses be outfitted with bell and splint boots on all 4 legs.


 

Division Class Rules:

 

Novice Class

 

Teams consist of beginning-level competitors with horses that may not be fast enough to compete in the Sport or Open Classes.  Any horse or skier that wins 1st place in this class at a past Whitefish Skijoring must move up to a higher level of competition for the following years at the Whitefish Event.  Human competitors must have less than 3 seasons of experience unless approved by the Whitefish Skijoring Board in advance of registration.  

$100/team

 

Sport Class

 

Teams consist of intermediate-level competitors with horses that may not be fast enough to compete in the Open Class.  Any horse or skier that wins 1st place in this class at a past Whitefish Skijoring must move up to the Open Division for following years at the Whitefish Event unless decided otherwise by the Whitefish Skijoring Board in advance of registration.  

$170/team

 

Open Class

 

Teams consist of the highest-skilled skiers and riders with the fastest horses.  Riders who have competed in this division at Whitefish Skijoring may compete in the Sport Division with a sport-level horse and a sport level skier but may not compete in the Novice Division.  

$220/team

 

**Exceptions

 

Any requests for exceptions to these rules must be given in writing before the Friday night registration event ends and before the competitor or team requesting the exception registers. 

 

The Course:

 

The course will be approximately 800-1000 feet long from start to finish with a J-style left hand turn.  There will be ample run out and return.  Gates will be stubby style with skier going right of red and left of blue. Course will include 3-4 jumps approximately 3-5 feet in height.  There may or may not be rings for skiers and riders.  Gate placement and  jump and ring requirements will increase in difficulty with each division level. A map and other additional information will be posted on www.whitefishskijoring.org and on our Facebook page as soon as it is available. 

 

Competitors will have the opportunity to walk the course prior to the start of the race and again prior to the start of their Division both Saturday and Sunday.

Teams choosing not to participate in the competition after course review on Saturday morning must advise the Start Master and/or an event official prior to the start of the first run of the day in order to receive a refund.  Teams may scratch for any reason at any time with no refund.


 

Equipment:

 

Ropes

 

Ropes can be between 30 and 50 feet in length.  It is recommended that they be ⅜” or larger in diameter. 

Handles, loops, knots, and discs are not permitted on the skier end of the rope.

Any rope not supplied by the event must be inspected and approved by the Start Master or their designee prior to the start of the race.  

Attachment must be to the saddle horn or behind the saddle.  If the attachment is behind the saddle, it must be secured to the primary rigging of the saddle by a non-elastic attachment so that the rope starts no more than 9” from the cantle.  Violations are at the discretion of the Start Master and teams can be asked to leave the start gate to re-rig.  In such a case, the team will be given another chance to start at the end of the division or wherever the Start Master or their designee decide.  If the team has not corrected the violation upon restart, it will be disqualified from that day's competition.  Rope rigging can be inspected and pre-approved in the same manner as rope inspection to avoid the chance of violation.

 

Rings

 

The event will provide rings.  No batons or other objects may be used to pick up the rings.

 

Saddles

 

Saddles must be free from impediments.  Ropes (such as lariats) other than the rope used to pull the skier, saddle bags, firearm holsters, saw sleeves and the like will not be allowed while competing.  Attachments such as night latches, tapaderos, and gear used to attach the skier rope to the saddle rigging will be allowed.  Saddle accouterments can be inspected and pre-approved in the same manner as rope inspection to avoid the chance of violation.  


 

The Race:

 

Run Order

 

The run order for all classes will be posted prior to the start of the event in multiple locations including but not limited to our Facebook Page, www.whitefishskijoring.org, and in print at the start gate. If while reviewing the run order, any team finds that its position in said order is unsatisfactory, the team must request a change in order from the Start Master or their designee before the start of that team’s division.  The decision will be made by the Start Master and at this time is final.  Once the first race of the division has been called, the run order is set for that day.  Teams can request changes in run order from race officials for Sunday after the Saturday race is over and 10pm by submitting in writing to any race official or to wfskijoring@gmail.com.  The board decision will be handed down before the start of the Sunday’s race and will be final.  

 

It is the responsibility of the competitors to be at the starting gate and ready to compete when called.   Any team not available at the time the starter calls for it and by the time the course is clear will be given 4 minutes (Sparby) to show up, stage, and start the race or be disqualified for that day’s competition at the Start Master’s discretion.  If the Start Master deems there is an appropriate reason for the team to be unavailable when called, that team will be allowed to run at the end of the division or wherever the Start Master or their designee deems appropriate.  

 

Sparby

 

Each team is allowed four minutes to start their run.  The four minutes starts when the Start Master announces that the track is clear.   If the four minutes times out, the team will be asked to leave the staging area and will be reassigned to the last run of the division or be put in where convenient as per the Start Master or their designee to be given another chance.  If that team times out a second time, they will be disqualified from that day’s competition.  

 

The Start

 

Time of the run will start when the skier’s boots cross the start line.  If the skier drops the rope before crossing the start line, the team will be allowed a restart.  If the rider is able to stop the horse and turn back before ½ of the course is run, a maximum of 2 restarts will be allowed right away.  If the team is unable to get a good start on the 3rd try, the run will be given a DNS for the day.  If the rider is unable to stop the horse and turn back before ½ of the course is run, a restart will be granted either at the end of the division or wherever the Start Master or their designee deems appropriate.  If the skier drops the rope on the second attempt and the rider is able to stop the horse and turn back before running ½ of the course, that team will be given one more try right away.  If the rider is unable to stop the horse and turn back, the team will be given a DNS for the day.  To sum: Teams who are unable to stop their horses on two occasions from running more than ½ the course will not be allowed the third chance at a start.

 

Timing Equipment

 

The event will be electronically timed with back-up hand timing.  If either the skier or the horse hits the timing equipment resulting in its failure to start the time, that team will be assessed a 2 second penalty.  The team will then either be hand timed or be allowed to wait until the timing equipment is reset depending on how much time it will take to fix the equipment.  Decision as to whether the team is hand timed or allowed to wait will be at the discretion of the Start Master.  

 

If either the skier or the horse hits the timing equipment at the finish line resulting in its failure to record the time, that team will be given a DNF.

 

Gates

 

Both ski tips up to the boot line must go around a gate or the gate is considered missed.  Each missed gate will result in a 2 second penalty.   A 2 second penalty will be assessed for the horse hitting a skier gate.

 

Jumps 

 

A 2 second penalty will be given for the team’s horse breaking the plane of any jump.

 

Finishing

 

The time of the run will be recorded when the skier’s boots cross the finish line.  All team members must finish the race.

The skier must have ahold of the rope and be upright on at least one ski and the rider must be atop the horse in order to receive a time.  Only rings that are in the team’s possession when the timer stops will be counted as collected. 

If the horse crosses the finish line on the skier side resulting in a stoppage of time, the team will be given a DNF.


 

Protests

 

If the team disagrees with penalties assessed, they must tell the finish judge before leaving the finish area (only one team member needs to be present). The race will not commence if there is still a team member in the finish area.  Gate keepers will not lower penalty flags until the finish judge indicates that there will be no protests or until any protest(s) has (have) been decided. The arena judge, the finish judge and head of gate keepers will judge whether the penalty was called incorrectly.  One team member must accompany the judges. 

“Course clear” will not be given until all penalty flags are lowered and any gates or jumps that had penalties raked and ready for the next run.

.  

If the team does not dispute any penalties and all team members leave the finish area, the finish judge will announce the time.  Times are final at that time and gatekeepers will be free to lower any raised flags and rake the gates.  The next team will then be given the “all clear” to run. 

 

Other Protests

 

If a competitor wishes to protest anything other than their own race penalties, such as an infraction of the rules by another competitor or race official, that may result in a change of the outcome of the race they must do so in writing to wfskijoring@gmail.com before the end of the race on each day.

These protests will be reviewed and decided after the race by no less than 3 race officials who make up the protest committee and the decision will be final.  The results will be posted once any decisions by the committee are made.  

 

Posting of Results:

 

Results will be available online and in print as soon as possible after each race day.


 

Awards

 

Buckles, money and prizes will be awarded Sunday Night at the awards ceremony.


 

Contacts:

 

If teams have questions about or need clarification of any of these rules please email to jenniferbutler@montana.com or leah_mitchell7@yahoo.com or khouse0447@gmail.com 

 

Exception Requests

 

Please email requests for exceptions to division registration rules to jenniferbutler@montana.com or leah_mitchell7@yahoo.com or khouse0447@gmail.com  before registering.

 

Team Substitutions/Cancelations

 

Before 10 pm registration night phone (406) 871-3792.  

 

Team Cancelations

 

Post-Saturday Race Day Morning Inspection, but before the race starts: Leave a message at wfskijoring@gmail.com or (406) 871-3792.

Messages will be time and date-stamped and refunds will be given to teams whose messages come in on time.  You do not need to wait for confirmation.  

 

Summon the Vet or Medical Personnel 

 

Before, during, or after the race call (406) 260-7084 or (406) 871-3792.

bottom of page