Archive for the ‘ACTIVITIES & WORK’ Categoryby Northernmost on March 31, 2013 in ACTIVITIES & WORK, Equipment & Gear, Lyra, PRODUCTS WE LIKE, Skijoring & Sledding, Titan with No Comments
Fredrik’s new skis arrived just in time for Easter so he’s been trying them out on daily trips along the coast this long weekend. After having skijored with a pair of budget combo skis (mix between cross-country and skate) for the last few years, Fredrik decided it was time for an upgrade. His new skis, Breidablikk from Norwegian Åsnes, are especially made for skijoring with a dog in backcountry conditions. They are wider than ordinary skis and lack the metal edges that most other touring skis have, and that could potentially injure a dog in an accident. They are also very cool looking – even though I would of course have preferred a Malamute on the front rather than a blue eyed husky
Maybe we should ask Åsnes to create a Malamute edition of Breidablikk for 2014?
We had a nice picnic by the coast on Easter Eve – wearing sunblock is a must this time of the year!
Titan enjoyed his one-on-one with Grandma.
Lyra found a mermaid. Who do you think is prettier?
A snow roll before it’s time to go home.
With the goal of keeping my mum company on the trail, Fredrik and I brought only one dog each on this picnic trip. I still had to stand on the brake not to overtake my mum (who was skiing without a dog) but for the most part we were able to keep the same pace. Lyra and Fredrik travelled faster so they did some exploring on the ice while waiting for us to catch up.
Lyra is always eager to go…
It’s been a BEAUTIFUL Easter here on the northern coast of Sweden.
We woke up to fantastic weather today and hurried to change into skijoring gear and hit the trail. I Skijored with Tuisku and Fredrik with Thunder and Lyra. A fast, fun and sunny day with the wind at our backs. I fell over once and dropped the camera in the snow (glad it’s waterproof) but apart from that we had a fab day!
After an unusually mild February, March has been a more normal month with morning temperatures around nippy -25C (-13F). Since a couple of our girls are in season we try to get the boys out as much as possible, so that they can relax and think about something else for a change. Having bitches in season is stressful for everyone, but most so for the males. We give Johnson’s Bitch & Deodorant Tablets to our girls when they are in season and that seems to minimise odours and reduce the interest from the boys at least a bit. In Sweden you can buy these tablets from Häromi.
Notice the length of Tuisku’s tug line – we decided to extend it to see how it would affect the rhythm and speed of the team. Tuisku seemed to enjoy the “freedom” up front and put in an extra gear this morning. I think we’ll extend all tug lines from now on, as it seems to increase their pulling power.
On this strech we usually see two elks by the trail, but not this morning.
Tuisku was in a hurry – bet he worried about the girls at home ;)
♥ Best buds – Tuisku & Fredrik ♥
Now and then, and especially when the girls are in season, we take our dogs skijoring one by one. For our younger dogs it’s good training to work independently without having another dog to rely on for decisions and speed. Lyra has no hesitations about working alone, she keeps the line tight and is always eager to go. We don’t take this quality for granted though, as even though a pedigree may show a lot of promise, you never know how a puppy will turn out as an adult. Lyra, however, is turning out to be a great sled and skijoring dog, even though she’s still very much a teenager in body and mind.
Lyra at 19 months of age.
Lyra starts off with plenty of power and speed…
…before settling into a nice, steady trot.
My mum and my aunt were also out skiing on the village trail but we said goodbye to them early on, as Lyra wasn’t very keen on waiting for them to catch up ;-)
Our neighbour has created an excellent skiing trail for everyone to enjoy. While the
village is small, the people who live here are very active and outdoorsy.
Heading home – our house is behind the trees at the end of the trail. I’ve been skijoring
a couple of times this winter and so far my back is coping really well. So, fingers crossed,
it looks like the operation was a big success! :-)
It’s been a beautiful week with calm weather and clear blue skies. We’ve been making the most of every day as we’ll soon need to take a brief break from sledding due to our girls coming into season. This week we’ve also been busy thinking hard about what to name our puppy who will be joining us later this spring. After writing down a long list of options, we ended up choosing the name that came first to us. But more about our puppy news later, have a great weekend everyone
Fredrik has travelled many miles on the Skidoo this winter, working hard to keep our trail open in between snowfalls. Right now the trail is in great condition so fingers crossed we’ll have no more snow this winter! I think what we have right now is PLENTY!!
We went on a trip along the coast yesterday, skijoring on the ice of the Bothnian Bay with Gemma, Thunder and Tuisku. We call this stretch of coast our own “Little Greenland” and each time we visit we’re surprised there are no other visitors there, as this beautiful world of snow and ice is a fascinating place to explore. Skijoring on the ice can be tricky though, as in some places the ice is covered in a deep layer of snow and in other places the slippery surface is exposed which makes for a rather uneven ride. Since the ice can break up quickly due to strong currents we make sure always to stay on the landfast ice closest to the shoreline. Adventures are fun as long as they are safe.
On our way to “Little Greenland”
The snow covered chunks of sea ice in the distance look like the stiff peaks of a meringue pie.
Tuisku & Gem kept a good pace.
On the icier sections it was best to just stand on our skis and let the dogs pull us forward. None of the dogs slipped during our trip, seems they can handle ice pretty well.
It’s fun to run!
We found a sheltered spot where we stopped for a quick lunch break. Tuisku watched closely as we unpacked the picnic to see if there was something there for him :)
Thunder in front of a beautiful ice formation.
Miniature fells or meringue pie?
When travelling on skis, the ups and downs of the pack ice can be a real balancing act.
We spotted a lonely cabin on the easternmost point of the coast.
Wonder if this cabin is available for rent? Would be nice to stay here overnight to admire the sun set and rise over the sea while the wind is blowing outside. That’s my idea of a romantic weekend ;)
Gem and Thunder teamed up on our way home.
We had a great day by the coast and will be going back for more adventures later this spring. Judging by the conditions today, it looks like the ice will last well into April.
A lovely mild day today with huge snowflakes falling from the sky. A perfect day for skijoring! While soft trails are bad for sledding, this type of trail is ideal for sailing behind two eager Malamutes. Powder on the trail means it’s easy to brake (if you have to) and the soft snow means you’ll have a smoother ride. Skijoring is so much fun and the dogs love it!
Fredrik hits the trail in the heavy snowfall.
Lyra is like a younger version of Tuisku – there’s only one direction in her head and that’s forward.
Breaking trail in the forest is a perfect opportunity to train left and right commands.
Heads down and ears turned back to listen – good dogs!
This winter, snow has become our worst enemy. We are trying to maintain our 42 km (26 mile) trail but each time the trail is starting to look decent, we receive a new big dump of snow and have to start all over again. Of course, Malamutes don’t need a groomed trail to go sledding, but anyone who has experienced the difference between sledding with a small team on a hard packed and frozen trail vs. on a soft trail, with an unpacked powder base, appreciates the difference. Yesterday, I went on one of the toughest runs of the season with Tuisku, Thunder and Leia. Saturday’s storm had brought 30 cm (11 in) of fresh snow and the trail had only been packed once with the snowmobile on Sunday morning so it was still really soft. When I tried to help the dogs by kicking I sank to my knees in powder so I quickly gave up trying. But the dogs did well and we enjoyed a well deserved snack break to recharge our energy at mid trail.
Maybe it’s time we put a lead dog title on Tuisku? I think he has earned it, many times over ;)
Some pics from today’s outing with two 2-dog teams. What’s nice about Malamutes is that you don’t really need a big team, as two dogs, and sometimes just one, is enough to get some action on the trail. Today’s run was 18km (11 mi) with a rest break at midway point – a suitable distance for our youngsters Hilary and Lyra who are now 18 months of age. We try to vary their training as much as possible, working them individually and on teams of 2-4 dogs, and exploring new trails as often as we can to make the training more exciting for everyone. As soon as my back is stronger we’ll also be skijoring more, as skijoring is really what we enjoy most.
Tuisku and Hilary in front and Titan and Lyra behind.
Our Sledog Kids work really well together.
And they play well together too ;)
It’s clear that Lyra has inherited her sire’s lead dog ability, we’ll be trying her in lead position soon.
This girl always has full focus ahead.
The goal of today’s excursion was a lean-to by the coast where we stopped for tea and a sandwich.
Tuisku looking dreamy in the snow.
Hilary looks sleepy too – maybe it’s the fresh sea air that is making us all a little drowsy?
Two fuzzy butts getting ready to go home.
Love our winter weekends!
These photos are from yesterday when the sun came out for a while during our morning run. Today when I went sledding with Lyra and Titan the weather was grayer than gray. It was so cold and windy that I think the dogs were almost happy to return to the cosy calm of their dog houses. According to the termometer it is only -15C (5F) outside but the wind chill must have added at least another ten to that, brrr! Now I’m going to cuddle up under a blanket with a big cup of chocolate and finish the book I’m reading.
I’m expecting Fredrik home later this evening with news from the Swedish Alaskan Malamute Club’s annual general meeting in Jämtland which he has attended this weekend. Always interesting to hear what’s been said and what’s been decided. Fredrik is now on the club’s board, hopefully that will help us move the club in the direction we hope for – towards a stronger focus on preserving the Breed Standard, highlighting health issues, and making the club more democratic for all involved. Since it is my birthday today, these are my three wishes!
We had a big dump of snow this week and had to spend Friday evening and all day yesterday “rediscovering” our snowed over trails. Maintaining and grooming trails is time consuming, especially when you’d rather spend time with the dogs, but it’s nice to have decent trails to sled on so we try to keep them open the best we can. This morning our hard work was rewarded as we woke up to clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine. I took four of our dogs out on a fun ride while Fredrik went ice fishing. A perfect start to February!
Hilary, Thunder and Lyra wait while I get the sled and the lines ready.
And off we go!
Hilary and Tuisku in lead, Thunder and Lyra in wheel.
Few things are so beautiful as nature on the first sunny day after a storm.
We stopped for a break in a sunny spot to practise “settle down”. We try to include a brief rest stop on every run to make our youngsters, Lyra and Hilary, accustomed to the stakeout. This type of training will come handy when we go on overnight trips and need to secure the dogs at night. Thunder, good boy, already knows how to settle down.
Sledog Dream Leaper, aka Lyra, will be 18 months of age next week.
Flirting with the camera or just sun in her eyes?
Hilary, also 18 months in February, with some sugar on top.
Tuisku looked sleepy in the sun, I think he was still a little tired from Saturday, when he ran off leash alongside the snowmobile while Fredrik was grooming our trails.
Going home in the afternoon, the sun was still visible above the tree tops.
February means longer and brighter days and more time to spend on the trail.
Oh happy days!! :)