The residents of Sundance have figured out what to do when Mother Nature gives them an abundance of snow.
They use it to race on skis, inner tubes, and even barstools.
The Sundance Winter Festival on Saturday is a mix of activities aimed at creating a little fun in the middle of Wyoming’s long winters, said Reggie Gaylord, who created the event with some of his friends.
“It’s kind of a mixture of what others do out there,” he said. “You know how winters are in Wyoming, they’re cold and boring. We were trying to come up with a fun idea to bring life to Sundance.”
The best known event of the festival, now in its sixth year, is skijoring, where a skier is pulled by a horse and rider along a snow-covered track featuring jumps, slalom gates and rings to be captured by the skier.
In Sundance, after the opening rounds are of competition are completed, the track is changed to make things more challenging, Gaylord said.
“We’ll start building that track on Thursday and by Saturday afternoon, we’ll wipe the track clear and build it again,” he said.
In barstool racing, competitors ride on a downhill track while seated on a barstool with skis attached. Each barstool racing team consists of two members — a rider and a person to push him or her at the top of the track. Competitors are encouraged to make unique sleds and wear costumes for the event.
“That’s all about the costumes and the entertainment,” Gaylord said. “We had some young guys from Laramie build a whole tugboat kind of thing with all-UW colors. We’ve even had saddles put on barstools.”
And what’s the use of having a skijoring course that’s used only for skijoring? The Sundance Winter Festival sees that course used as well for “wild horse and tube races.”
Two people on inner tubes are pulled down the skijoring course — jumps and all — while carrying a cup of their favorite beverage. The winner is determined by the amount of liquid left in the cup at the end of the race.
All of the festival’s events are free to watch, Gaylord said. Food trucks and vendors will also be present.
Activities begin at 9 a.m. Saturday with skijoring and continue through the day. People wishing to register to compete in events can do so from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Sundance’s Longhorn Saloon and Grill. Registration will continue at 7 a.m. Saturday.