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What is Skijoring? A Complete Guide for CrossCountry Skiing

What is Skijoring

It’s hard to think of a more exhilarating experience than skiing down a hill at top speed, the crisp winter air whipping through your hair. But what if you could add another level of excitement to your skiing adventures? Believe it or not, there is a way to turn an already unique experience into something even more thrilling – and that is skijoring. Skijoring (pronounced ski-yor-ing) is a winter sport that involves being pulled along on cross-country skis by a horse, dog, or motor vehicle.

So what is skijoring exactly? And how can you get started? Keep reading for all the details.

1. What is Skijoring and How Does it Work?

1. What is Skijoring and How Does it Work

Skijoring is a winter sport that combines cross-country skiing with dog sledging. It’s a popular activity in Scandinavia, and it’s also gaining popularity in North America.

The name skijoring comes from the Norwegian word “skikjøring,” which means “ski driving.” In skijoring, the skier is pulled by one or more dogs, usually Huskies or other strong breeds. The dogs are harnessed to a towline attached to the skier’s waist belt.

The skier uses ski poles for balance and steering and to give the dogs directions. Skijoring is a great way to enjoy the outdoors in winter, and it’s an excellent workout for both the skier and the dogs. Skijoring is a fun way to explore the winter landscape, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced cross-country skier.

2. The History of Skijoring

2. The History of Skijoring

The history of skijoring is a bit of a mystery. Some say it originated in Norway, while others claim it began in Alaska. What we do know is that skijoring has been around for centuries.

It was originally a means of transportation, and it wasn’t until the early 1900s that it became a popular sport. In recent years, skijoring has experienced a rebirth in popularity, thanks in part to the growth of winter sports and the popularity of dogsledding.

3. How to Get Started in Skijoring?

3. How to Get Started in Skijoring

If you’re interested in trying skijoring, there are a few things you need to know.

First, you need to be a strong cross-country skier. Skijoring is more challenging than regular cross-country skiing, so you must have a good fitness level.

Second, you need to have a well-trained dog. Huskies, Malamutes, and other strong working dogs are the best breeds for skijoring. If you don’t have a dog, you can often find skijoring clubs that will let you borrow one of their dogs.

Finally, you need to invest in some quality skijoring equipment. This includes a towline, waist belt, harnesses for the dog (or dogs), and ski poles. You can often find skijoring kits that have all of the necessary equipment.

4. The Benefits of Skijoring

4. The Benefits of Skijoring

There are plenty of reasons to try skijoring, and the benefits extend far beyond the physical. If you’re looking for a way to get active with your dog, make new friends, and explore the great outdoors, skijoring may be the perfect activity for you.

According to Werywell Fit, during a 30-minute workout, a 150-pound person is likely to burn about 286 calories during a moderate skiing session. You’ll also increase strength and endurance in muscles throughout the entire body.

Here is a list of more health benefits that skijoring has to offer:

  • Burn calories
  • Improve muscle strength and endurance
  • Inverse association with all-cause mortality
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Reduce the risk of adverse cardiovascular events
  • Deep bond with your dog
  • Accessible to anyone.

5. The Types of Equipment you Need for Skijoring 

5. The Types of Equipment you Need for Skijoring 

If you’re new to skijoring, the thought of strapping yourself to a dog and taking off down the trail can be daunting. But don’t let that stop you from giving it a try! With the right equipment and a little practice, you’ll be hitting the trails in no time.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • A skijoring harness for your dog. This will help distribute the pulling force evenly across their chest and shoulders, preventing injuries.
  • A towline. This is attached to the harness and binds you to your dog. Make sure it’s long enough to allow them some freedom to move, but not so long that they could get tangled up in it.
  • A belt. This goes around your waist and attaches to the towline.
  • Skis, of course! If you don’t have your own,most ski resorts rent them out
  • Ski poles. These are optional but can help with balance, especially if you’re new to skiing.
  • A helmet. This is for your safety, and we recommend that you always wear one when skiing.

With the right equipment, you and your dog will be ready to hit the trails and enjoy all the benefits of skijoring!

The Cost of Skijoring

A complete skijoring kit which includes a harness, towline and belt can cost anywhere from $150 to $300. If you’re looking to rent, you can rent them for about $30 per day.

In addition to the kit, you’ll also need to buy cross-country skis and a helmet. Skis can costanywhere from $50 to $200 depending on the quality and brand.

So overall, the cost of getting into skijoring can range from $120 to $600. But the benefits are definitely worth it!

So, is skijoring expensive? Not necessarily. When you compare it to other winter sports like skiing or snowboarding, skijoring is actually quite affordable. And once you have the equipment, there’s no limit to how much you can enjoy it!

6. How to Stay Safe While Skijoring

6. How to Stay Safe While Skijoring

Skijoring is a relatively safe activity, but there are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure you and your dog have a fun and secure experience.

It’s important to start slow and build up to longer distances and faster speeds. This will help you get used to being pulled by your dog and prevent you from getting too tired too quickly. It’s also important to be aware of your surroundings and watch for hazards on the trail.

Here are some things to keep in mind for you and your dog’s safety:

  • Make sure your dog is well-trained
  • Use caution on icy or slippery trails
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks for you and your dog
  • Don’t forget first aid supplies
  • Start slow and build up to longer distances
  • Be aware of your surroundings

7. Skijoring Commands for Your Dog

7. Skijoring Commands for Your Dog

Below are the main commands for skijoring dogs. Of course, if your dog doesn’t understand them, you can always use standard dog commands that he’s used to.

1. Hike:  This is the command to get your dog moving forward. It can be used when you first start out or when you need to get your dog moving.

2. Easy: This command tells your dog to slow down. It can be used when you need to take a break or when you come to a difficult section.

3. Whoa: This is the command to stop your dog. It should be used when you need to take a break.

4. Haw: This is the command to turn your dog to the left.

5. Gee: This is the command to turn your dog to the right.

6. On-by: If distracted, this command tells your dog to get back on track.

7. Line out:  This command is used at the beginning of your run to get your dog straight.

With these commands, you and your dog will be ready to hit the trails and enjoy all the benefits skijoring has to offer!

8. Where to Find Trails for Skijoring?

8. Where to Find Trails for Skijoring

When I first started skijoring, I didn’t know where to find trails. Luckily, there are many resources available that can help you find trails near you.

The best way to find skijoring trails is to search online. Many websites list skijoring trails around the world.

Here are a few other ideas to get you started:

-Local cross-country ski trails are usually well-groomed and perfect for skijoring.

-Ski resorts: Many ski resorts have particular areas for skijoring.

-Dog parks: If there’s a dog park near you, it’s likely that there are trails nearby that are perfect for skijoring.

9. How to Choose the Right Cross-Country Ski Bindings for You?

9. How to Choose the Right Cross-Country Ski Bindings for You

Backcountry skis come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: they don’t have metal edges. This makes them ideal for deep snow expeditions, as they float on top of the powder rather than cutting through it.

Skate skis are another great option for backcountry adventures, as they are designed for speed and agility. However, if you’re looking to compete in skijoring races, you’ll need a pair of racing skis.

These specialised skis are designed for speed and precision, and they can make all the difference in a competitive race. No matter what type of backcountry skiing you plan, there’s a perfect pair of skis for you.

10. What Kind of Clothes do You Need?

10. What Kind of Clothes do You Need

Skijoring is a great way to spend a day in the snow, but it’s essential to dress for the occasion.

First and foremost, you’ll need a good pair of warm pants. Ski pants are ideal, but any windproof, waterproof pants will do.

You’ll also need several layers of tops, including a base layer, a mid-layer, and an outer layer. Be sure to choose fabrics that wick away sweat, as you’ll be working up a pretty good sweat skijoring.

And finally, don’t forget to stay warm and dry from head to toe by wearing a hat, scarf, gloves, and boots. With the right gear, you’ll be able to enjoy hours of skijoring fun.

11. Some Fun Ideas for Winter Activities With Your Pet Besides Skijoring.

11. Some Fun Ideas for Winter Activities With Your Pet Besides Skijoring.

I love my dog, and I absolutely love to have fun together.

After a long day of skijoring, you and your dog may be ready for a break. Luckily, there are plenty of other winter activities that you can do with your furry friend.

You can throw snowballs for your dog to catch, go for a hike in the snow, or even just take a brisk walk around the block.

12. How to Get Started in Competitive Skijoring?

12. How to Get Started in Competitive Skijoring

Competitive skijoring is a thrilling sport that combines the excitement of skiing with the speed and power of a horse.

If you’re interested in getting started in competitive skijoring, there are a few things you need to know.

First, you’ll need to find a skijoring club or association. These organisations can help you get started in the sport and connect you with other skijorers in your area.

You’ll also need to do proper training before you compete. This training will help you and your dog learn to work together.

Once you’re properly trained, you’ll be ready to take on the competition. Skijoring is a sport anyone can enjoy, so don’t be afraid to give it a try.

With a little bit of planning, you can be on your way to enjoying this unique and exciting sport.

13.  How to Make the Most of Your Skijoring Experience?

13.  How to Make the Most of Your Skijoring Experience

Skijoring is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but there are a few things you can do to ensure you have the best experience possible.

First, be sure to dress for the occasion. Skijoring can be strenuous, so you’ll want to wear comfortable, moisture-wicking clothing.

You’ll also need to choose the right equipment. If you’re planning on racing, you’ll need a pair of racing skis. However, if you’re just looking to enjoy a day out in the snow, any type of cross-country ski will do

And finally, don’t forget to have fun. Skijoring is a great way to spend time with your dog and get

14. Some final thoughts on skijoring…

14. Some final thoughts on skijoring…

Skijoring is a great way to get outside and enjoy the winter months with your dog or horse. It’s a low-impact workout that has many health benefits, and it’s also a lot of fun.

If you’re thinking about giving skijoring a try, be sure to do your research and choose the right equipment. With the proper preparation, you’re sure to have a great time skijoring with your furry friend.

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Picture of Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.
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