We’re having a mild spell here on the coast and during the weekend we took the chance to go skijoring for the first time this winter. The fun but rather unsteady first run of the season always makes me think of Diane Gayer’s wonderful article about skijoring, “Communing with Raw Energy”, which was published in Mushing Magazine March/April 1998. In Gayer’s words: “The rush, the lack of control, the immediacy – these are what make skijoring worth doing.” During the first few minutes at least, you do feel out of control. But gradually your balance is restored and you start moving in synch with your dogs, rather than being dragged behind them. It makes for a magical experience when it all comes together.
Fredrik took Tuisku and Lyra for a premiere 5 km run – pure joy for the dogs!
When Lyra was a puppy, Tuisku set the pace and showed her what fun it is to work in harness. In the coming years, when Tuisku gets older, it will be the other way around – Lyra will set the pace and make sure his enthusiasm doesn’t fade. As skijoring dogs, they are a perfect match!
We normally introduce our dogs to skijoring when they are pups, to make sure they get accustomed to the equipment during their important first formative year, but this winter the weather hasn’t cooperated and Wilder turned 13 months on Sunday when I took him skijoring for the first time.
Luckily he’s the kind of dog that doesn’t bother to look what’s behind him – he just takes off and keeps his eyes focused on the trail ahead. I think I will need to use a Nordic sled with a handbrake when training Wilder, as he doesn’t respond 100% to left and right yet and is so strong that I can’t slow him down by snowplowing or by pulling the line. I should probably work on the Whoa! too!!
There’s a lot of power in this package!
Hopefully the mild weather will continue for a couple of days so that we can pack the trail with the snowmobile and make it wide enough for our skate skis. If you haven’t tried skijoring with your dog yet you must do so this winter – most Malamutes love it!