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A skijorer uses a modified skateboard. (Darryl Leniuk for The Globe and Mail/Darryl Leniuk for The Globe and Mail)
A skijorer uses a modified skateboard. (Darryl Leniuk for The Globe and Mail/Darryl Leniuk for The Globe and Mail)

Let your dog take you cross-country skiing Add to ...

What’s the deal?

Glide down winter trails with the help of your dog.

Where’s it at?

Few things beat skiing a snow-covered trail with your canine companion in tow, except perhaps when you’re the one in tow. Skijoring, literally “ski driving” in Norwegian, is a sport in which a skier travels with the help of one or more dogs. Traditionally done with cross-country skis, skijorers can also use downhill skis, snowboards or even skateboards without wheels, and most larger dogs will do.

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Book a two-day skijoring clinic with Mad Dogs and Englishmen Expeditions (maddogsexpeditions.com), a Canmore, Alta., outfitter specializing in dogsledding and skijoring. After going over gear and commands, you’ll be fitted with a harness and your dog will be introduced to the sled dogs. The course takes advantage of two things that dogs love: running and chasing other dogs. Depending on the terrain, you may use short lines, which will give you more control over your dog, or long lines, which will give your dog more control over you. Your ability to ski and communicate with your pooch is paramount, or you could find yourself bashing into a tree, but once you’ve mastered it, skijoring is great exercise for you both. For those who are truly keen, and masochistic, there’s the Road Runner 100, a 160-kilometre skijoring race held in the Yukon each winter.

Who’s it for?

Those who like dogsledding, on skis instead of a sled.

A two-day skijoring clinic with Mad Dogs and Englishmen costs $395, including all equipment. Guided skijoring tours using sled dogs are also available.



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