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Skijoring: Not your typical cross-country skiing


Cindy Burgess, reporter
January 24, 2012 — Take one cross-country skier…attach a dog or two…and you’ve got skijoring.


Kristi MacDonald skijores five times a week, and says it’s not hard.

“If you can cross-country ski, you can skijore,” she says. “The only difference is the centre of gravity comes from your stomach because you’re being pulled by your belt. But it’s basically cross-country skiing with an engine.”

That engine can be a dog, a horse, or even a snowmobile. But most people prefer to take their pets.

“It’s good for me and my dog. If I were to just go skiing, then it would just be exercise for me and he has to stay home,” says skijorer Corey Connelley. “So this gets us out together.”

The key to enjoying skijoring – or any other outdoor activity in the wintertime – is to dress for it. Not a problem for the dogs – they’ve got thick fur coats. But what about us?

“You want to dress the same as you would if you came cross-country skiing,” says MacDonald. “You don’t want to be too hot, so layering is a good idea.”

When it comes to the weather, most skijorers agree that the ideal conditions are -10°C to -15°C, so the dogs don’t overheat. It’s also convenient if the snow is hard-packed.

“If [the dogs] are in deep, powdery snow, they burn more energy trying to gain momentum,” says Matt Todd, another skijorer. “So the harder [the snow] is, the faster you go and the faster the dogs go. It’s easier for everybody.”

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