What is skijoring? It is the action of being pulled over snow or ice on skis by a horse, dog, or motor vehicle, as a sport or recreation activity. It is derived from the Norwegian word skikjøring meaning ski driving. Definition from wikipedia where you can read more about skijoring.
Here I’ll talk about it as it relates to dogs. We have 2 Siberian Huskies who are the prefect breed of dog for this sport (I think) although any dog who has a desire to run down a trail and pull could do this. In fact before we got out second Husky we had a beautiful chocolate lab named Caya, who did skijoring with my hubby, Dan. She wasn’t the greatest at staying on trail, but she seemed to enjoy herself. Our dear Caya passed away in November of 2013, the following year we decided to rescue a Husky (Duke) to keep our older husky (Bandit) company.
Now I have never done this fun sport but my husband Dan has. He’s been doing it with the dogs for many years now and has much better control of them than me. I’m in charge of taking the pictures, more my speed then being pulled by our dogs. My luck I would probably break a leg or get dragged face down for miles, LOL!
Unfortunately here on the east coast we don’t get as much snow as they do up north or west so on a recent winter vacation to West Virginia we got the dogs out for some skijoring with our new Husky, Duke. I did a short video – see below. My first attempt at video so bear with me 🙂
This is one of those outdoor activities you don’t see often so when my hubby did this one year, when Caya was alive, in our neighborhood we got priceless looks from people who stopped what they were doing to stare, point and take pictures. It was tons of fun that day!
If you’re interested in trying this sport here’s a few tips and equipment you’ll need to get started.
I’m assuming if you want to try this you already do cross country skiing, but if you don’t you may want to learn cross country skiing first before adding dogs to the mix. May make for a scary experience if your dogs take off racing down the trail with you clipped in. Although, I guess that’s one way to learn how to cross country ski, or maybe not!
– Pick a trail that is cross country ski designated, or one you feel comfortable going down. Our dogs don’t do well on an open field, they need a trail to follow so pick one that’s suitable for you and your dogs.
– You the skier will need a wide hip belt. Make sure the hip belt is comfortable for you, should sit nicely on your hips and have a quick release so you can disengage from your dog or dogs quickly for your safety and the safety of the dog. Check out the Ultrapaws Skijoring hipbelt from Anamzon here.
– Next the dog or dogs need a harness which you may already have one but you should use one that’s an adjustable pulling harness for the dogs comfort and ability to pull easier.
– Last is the the straps that connect you to your dog or dogs such as the Bungee dog line. This needs to be at least 8′ long and strong enough for your dog to pull without ripping.
We’ve also done this with a scooter which was introduced to us by the foster parents of our second Husky, Duke. We rescued him almost a year ago in March of 2014. See the picture below.
You are being pulled with a scooter rather than with skies so this sport can be enjoyed in spring and fall when there isn’t snow on the ground. We don’t do it in the summer, too hot for our Huskies.
Something new and fun to try with your dog. doesn’t take much and you’re dog will love it, ours do!
Enjoy and get OUTSIDE!
P.S. Below is a roundup of gear you’ll need for you and your dog over at Amazon. Referral links apply 🙂