Winter Fest’s featured event highlights Big Sky culture
By Bella Butler MANAGING EDITOR
Winter Fest is an Outlaw Partners event. Outlaw Partners publishes Explore Big Sky.
BIG SKY – This afternoon, a painted pony trampled through soft snow in the heart of Big Sky. Big Sky local Haley Hodge rode the horse, towing her brother Cody, who was on skis.
The sibling duo was one of several to compete in day one of the Best of the West Skijoring Competition, the featured event of the inaugural Winter Fest in Big Sky. Day one of skijoring hosted nearly six hours of competition including seven divisions from novice to open.
Riders, skiers and snowboarders from the local Big Sky community as well from around the country kept a full crowd on their feet all day to enjoy the spectacle of winter athletes navigating an obstacle course while being towed at adrenaline-worthy speeds by a horse.
“It’s just so fun to see all the different kinds of athletes that there are here—the skiers, the horses and the riders,” said Bozeman resident and longtime skijoring fan Lindsey Grauman.
“It’s so Montana,” Grauman’s friend, Brittany Peters, chimed in. “In the winter, you get outside and the weather doesn’t stop you … it’s such a Montana thing to be at.”
While skijoring events take place around the country, the sport is a unique combination of the blended culture in Big Sky. Longtime locals in the crowd represented both skiers and cowboys, all sharing a day together to enjoy a good time.
The end of the day was punctuated by the competitive open division, where highly skilled athletes like 2019 national champion skijorer Colin Cook picked up the pace and made use of the bigger course features.
After four runs and a day of supporting the event, Cook said he felt like he’d run 10 miles.
The fast-paced competition will pick up again tomorrow at 11 a.m.
Day One leaders by division
*Results are sourced from live-timing.com and are up-to-date as of EBS press time.
|1||Jess Woodring||Kyle Voigtlander||Woodys All Jacked Up||24:76|
|2||Matty Kirkland||Drew Vanyo||Patron||26:31|
|3||Kristyn MacDonald||Dan Hurst||Dakodi||27:53|
|1||Makenze Woodring||Dayne Free||Trashy Rooster||27:49|
|2||Kimber Cook||Kate Thompson||Badger||46:77|
|3||Makenze Woodring||Trippe Tubbs||Trashy Rooster||55:86|
|1||Melissa Ostrander||Tara Hines||The War Pony||18:44|
|2||Sarah McConnell||Tara Hines||Three||21:19|
|3||Fiona Alverson||Phoebe Alverson||Raven||21:90|
|1||Trae McInroe||Joe Jasper||Charlie||19:22|
|2||Trae McInroe||Tara Hines||Charlie||19:28|
|3||Cal Douglas||Ed Anderson||Beauty||19:48|
|1||Dennis Alverson||Aaron Griffen||Scooter||18:51|
|2||Aaron Griffen||Nick Bentley||Sammy||18:77|
|3||Tyler Smedsrud||Nick Bentley||Three||18:86|
|1||Trae McInroe||Kalei Pitcher||Roscoe||17:79|
|2||Richard Weber||Kalei Pitcher||Three||18:53|
|3||Taylor Stobaugh||Brooke Adams||Bo-Peep||20:77|
|1||Richard Weber||Tyler Smedsrud||Frank and Beans||17:93|
|2||Sarah McConnell||Tyler Smedsrud||Derby||18:39|
|3||Richard Weber||Colin Cook||Frank and Beans||18:93|