Skijoring mean translates as “ski driving”. This fast and fun sport involves a skier being pulled along by a horse, dog, or motor vehicle. The Scandinavian sport has gained popularity all around the world…and for good reason!
I skijor with our husky, Bubbles, every winter and this is something we both look forward to as the snow begins to accumulate. I started doing this with her in 2010 when she was about 2.5 years old. Being a Husky, all she wanted to do was pull, and pull, and go fast! I was having a hard time walking her in the slippery winter conditions and often getting frustrated. My boyfriend, Mike, in the summer would have her pull him on his long board and one day suggested I try the same thing on skis. We’ve been doing it ever since.
It was pretty easy to get started. I already had classic skis, a dog harness, a climbing harness and a leash. I added my whitewater pig tail (a bungee inside webbing with a carabiner on one end) to reduce the jarring on both of us. A bit of a creative set-up, but it works and I still using this exact same system today.
I was lucky having Bubbles to ski with because she already knew Gee and Haw (her right and left), Hike! (run/go fast), Whoa (slow down) and “On By” (go past, keep moving). It was me who had to learn to ski with her really, and I took many a good fall learning to ski drive (and often still do!)
Fast forward to today. We head out a couple times a week to hit the trails, regularly doing 5-10km. I have had to find places over the years to go with her because dogs aren’t allowed at the local cross country ski parks and trails. The snowmobile trails work well but I don’t like being in the way of zooming skidoos, so we tend to stick to logging roads with Lady Slipper Road and Wild Cove Road being two of our favourites.
This arrangement of Bubbles running and pulling with me skiing along behind her is the best solution for both of us. She gets to do what she was born to do (run, pull and generally go fast) and I get to actually keep up with her! We have so much fun in the winter exploring the backroads outside Corner Brook, zipping along together, enjoying the snow and fresh air. And it has brought us closer – I have learned to work with her and she with me. We trust each other more and I am certainly more patient. The best part of all is at the end of the ski drive and run, we are both good and tired!
Here is list of resources for skijoring gear, dog training etc. that I have found helpful over the years and hopefully you will too. If you have a resource to addd, please share in the comments below:)
- www.canadog.ca – This is a Canadian company specializing in dog gear! I bought a new harness for Bubbles from them and I love it (it’s purple and yellow!). They also sell a skijor starter kit which includes the dog harness, bungee tow line and hip harness. Very good prices and quality stuff.
- www.sleddogcentral.com/skijoring.htm – An all in one place for winter dog sports based in Washington, USA. Resources for dog training, trails, clubs etc. I found this site helpful mostly for the training tips (dog behaviour and physical fitness training to avoid injuries).
- mushlarose.ca – I just like to dream about having a place like this in Corner Brook!
- Google Map of Skijor Clubs in Canada – Very cool, but none in NL…yet!
Do you skijor or have you tried it? What did you think?
Leave a comment below with your thoughts on this post and skijoring in general!