Winter fun: try skijoring with your dog

by Kira Garrett | February 06, 2014

Most people know what dog-sledding looks like, but what about skijoring? Skijoring is a mix between cross-country skiing and mushing. Residents of icy climates have long practiced this winter sport, and it’s now gaining popularity all over the world.

When skijoring, a dog connected by harness, pulls a person on cross-country skis. Whether you are a competitor or just trolling around the park, skijoring is a great way to have some fun with your pooch during the frigid winter months. Almost any dog breed can try this sport, but should be over 30 LBS.

Here’s what you need to know before you and your four-legged friend hit the trail:

The equipment

Winter wear: dress for the elements and think about your pooch, too. There are many dog booties that will keep your pet’s paws free from snow and rough terrain.

Cross Country Skis, Boots, Poles: check with a winter sport outfitter for recommendations, but any set of cross-country skis should work well for skijoring,

Harness: there are a few types of harnesses that will work for your dog, but most common is the x-back harness, which fits just like it’s title, in an ‘x’ across your dog’s back. Look for a harness with enough padding to keep your dog comfortable while pulling.

Belt: the skijorer wears a belt around his waist that connects to a tow-line.

Tow-line: select a line with a bungee, so it can help absorb some of the shock of sudden starts, stops and turns.

Ruffwear, one of our favorite pet companies, makes a line of skijoring equipment that’s great. Check it out here.

Choose a trail, to begin, that’s relatively flat and free of obstacles. Bring water, snacks, poop bags and anything else you’d typically bring along on an outing with your pooch. It’s also a good idea to bring a buddy along the first times or consider joining a skijoring group so more seasoned members can show you and your dog how to start out.

Although it may take some time for your pooch to learn the ropes, skijoring is sure to be fun for both of you!