Who knew your dog could also enjoy a day at WI Ski Parks?

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I may have lived under a rock all these years, but I’ve lived in the Midwest all my life and was years old today when I finally heard of “skijoring.” Do you know what this is?

What exactly is skijoring?

According to Merriam Websterski joëring is “a winter sport in which a person wearing skis is pulled over snow or ice“.

For Skijor, all you have to do is strap on cross-country skis, attach yourself to a tow rope, and find something to pull yourself along. (Basically, it’s water skiing on snow).

Ski joëring can be done with dogs…

Loki the Wolfdog via Facebook

Loki the Wolfdog via Facebook

Horses…

…or even cars and other motorized vehicles.

GP Ice Race 2020 in Zell am See

Getty Images for GP Ice Race

Personally, I’m going to remove skijoring behind a car from my list of winter fun for now, but I really like the dog option, so let’s learn more about skijoring with dogs.

Our Bernedoodle Gentry pup is around 9 months old and has plenty of energy to burn, which isn’t too easy to do in the winter months. He runs in our garden and we take him for walks whenever the weather permits, but he needs more fun in his life. Would Gentry be a good candidate for Skijoring?

Doggiesport.com says people interested in skijoring with their dogs should follow these five steps to get started:

  1. Determine if your dog is suitable for skijoring: Ideally, skijoring dogs should be mature, medium-sized, fit, able to withstand the cold and run well in the snow for long periods of time. It’s also recommended that you don’t try skijoring with your pup until he’s about 2 years old, so I guess Gentry will have to wait a bit for his first skijoring adventure.
  2. Work on YOUR cross-country skiing skills – Skijoring is not a sport that you master right away. It’s a team sport that takes as much work as your dog and requires practice.
  3. Get the right skijoring gear – In addition to cross-country skis and poles, you will also need a joring dog harnesstow rope, belt and protection for your dog’s legs.
  4. Teach your dog skijoring commands – To skijor, your dog will need to know certain commands so that he understands what you need to help you do, such as when to start running, directions to turn, slow down or stop. (See a list of commands, here).
  5. Find pet-friendly ski runs for skijoring – Not all ski parks in Wisconsin or other Midwestern states allow dogs, so a little research is essential. Wisconsin trip highlighted some ski parks that accept dogs for skijoring, including:
    • Chase’s Point (orange trail)
    • Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area
    • Indian Lake County Park (pet area)
    • Interstate State Park (Silverbrook Trail)
    • MECCA Trails – Mercer (Dogs are allowed in untrailed areas.)
    • Pike’s Creek and Jerry Jay Jolly Trails
    • Seeley Hills Trail
    • South Kettle Moraine Unit – Lapham Peak (Prairie Path)

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Is the breed of your trusty pup on the list? Read on to see if you’ll be bragging to the neighbors about your dog’s intellectual prowess the next time you walk your fur baby. Don’t worry: Even if your dog’s breed isn’t on the list, it doesn’t mean he’s not a good boy – some traits just can’t be measured.

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