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Snow, stunts and SkiJor

by CAROLYN BOSTICK
Staff Writer | February 20, 2024 1:06 AM

WALLACE — Three days of competitive snow sports began in true “lawless Wallace” style.

“Be as cool as you can, do stunts,” rail jam judge Nicolas Strother instructed the skiers and snowboarders during a briefing before the opening of SkiJor on Friday night.

Nearly 60 local and national competitors gathered over Presidents Day weekend for the extreme skiing and snowboarding event. For six seasons, it has been a chance for winter sports aficionados to show what they can do.

The top five stunts from each competitor during the two-hour period were judged and tallied. The rail jam course included a curved “rainbow” with the SkiJor logo, “fun box” offering a flat surface to break into “shiftys” or other moves as the contestants showed off their skills.

One rail featured a portrait of a man wearing a SkiJor hat reading “RIP Curtis.”

The feature was designed to commemorate Curtis Byre, whose motto of “work hard, play harder” all but screamed the spirit of this year’s competition. 

"Curtis was a friend of SkiJor and had helped tow competitors for several years, but passed away suddenly this summer. We purchased new rails this season, and decided to dedicate one of them to Curtis, as his contributions to Ski Wallace were very much missed this year. Up Ten Weld did an amazing job customizing the rail for us, and Curtis' memory was well-honored this weekend," Ski Wallace president Siobhan Curet said.

Adults, kids and even some dogs packed the streets for the opening event. 

Judges Strother and Tristen Emmens compared notes on what they hoped to see during the competition. Backside 720, switch-nose press and backflip pretzels were the most anticipated.

“I’ve been watching snowboarding since I came out the womb,” Emmens said.

SkiJor began as a means to brighten the winter and draw crowds to downtown Wallace to give local businesses a boost.

"One bar owner told us they did more sales in one day than they ever have in the time they've owned the establishment. It was great to see the event come to fruition yet again and have a positive economic impact on Wallace during the slow season, " Curet said.

Skijoring gets its name from a Norwegian winter tradition where skiers are pulled by animals or a motor vehicle. The name means "ski driving."

Clad in colorful ski outfits, Coeur d’Alene residents Audra Pardy and Adelle Bondurant said they love Wallace and having a friend in town makes it all the easier to make a trip of it.

“It’s a girls weekend in Wallace,” Bondurant said.

“No husbands, no kids: It’s much-needed,” Pardy said.

Fellow spectators either ducked into one of the neighboring bars to warm up as the temperature dropped or crowded around a pre-lit fire to marvel at on-course action.

Unbothered by the cold, snowboarder David Parker earned the nickname "Captain America" on the merits of his sleeveless American flag outfit.

“I’m roasty-toasty,” he said. 

Men’s snowboarding:
Cole Karow
Riley Richardson
Travis Maxey

Men’s skiing:
Jack Bordick
Elijah Storms
Diego Morales

Women’s winners:
Halle Dunkley
Gretta Wiersma
Alyssa Troiani

Rail jam winners
Men’s snowboarding:
Riley Richardson
Jake Rose
Cole Karow 

Men’s skiing:
Jack Bordic
Diego Morales
Nate Strother 

Women’s division:
Halle Dunkley
Gretta Wiersma
Jennifer Miller

Youth:
Travis lohr
David Parker
Tyler Wuerfel 

Most spectacular wipeout ($500 prize):
Marah Ashcraft 

Ski Wallace reported that this year's competition was injury-free.  

To learn more about SkiJor, visit skiwallace.com or email skiwallaceid@gmail.com.

    Halle Dunkley performs a stunt on the "fun box" during SkiJor's rail jam. Dunkley was awarded the winner of the women's division in both the overall skijor competition and the rail jam.
 
 


 Coeur d’Alene residents Audra Pardy and Adelle Bondurant came to Wallace decked out ski gear to compete in the 80s costume contest.

    The assembled crowd
watches the competitors stunt for style points during the SkiJor rail jam.
 
 
    SkiJor rail jam course    Skiers and snowboarders wait for their turn to show off their stunts on the rails during the rail jam in downtown Wallace. About 40 local and national competitors gathered over Presidents Day weekend to take part in Extreme SkiJor.
  
    Curtis Byre's memory was commemorated with a RIP Curtis rail at the sixth SkiJor event. Byre recently passed away and had a deep connection to the Ski Wallace event.
 
 
    Johnny McGee performs the national anthem on top of the SkiJor hill during the opening ceremonies.