IOLA (AP) – The Iola Winter Carnival has added skijoring – a Norwegian sport in which a dog pulls a cross-country skier along a track – to this weekend’s festivities.
Competitors will ski with their dogs on a 3-kilometer course wearing special harnesses that attach to the dogs’ harnesses with a rope, Stevens Point Journal Media reported.
“It’s just been something people have done and an interesting Norwegian tradition,” said Mary Schwartz, a spokeswoman for the Iola-Scandinavia Chamber of Commerce. “I just think people asked to do it and that’s why they came up with the idea.”
Many of the carnival’s events have Norwegian origins, she said, and adding skijoring (pronounced skee-JOR’-ing) could help attract new audiences.
The free event generally draws about 4,000 people from throughout central Wisconsin, she said. Participants often wear traditional Norwegian dress and speak Norwegian.
The carnival begins Saturday at 8 a.m. with an ice-sculpture contest, followed by a lutefisk meal at 1 p.m. The skijoring 3K will be in the afternoon, and a twilight snowshoe race kicks off at 6 p.m.
Sunday will feature a cross-country race and a ski-jumping event.
Iola is about 20 miles east of Stevens Point.