Skijoring Made Easy

No one really knows how or where skijoring started, but suffice to say a shot or two of whiskey and a friendly wager was involved.  Skijoring is a sport in where a person wearing cross country skis is attached to some sort of animal or machine and pulled around.  It is popular in Scandinavian countries such as Norway. In fact the word skijoring is a Norwegian word that roughly translated means ski driving. So grab your best friend, harness them up and hang on for the ride of you life.

Equipment Needed
The equipment needed for skijoring is rather simple. All one needs is a pair of cross country skis, a belt, a harness for the animal, some rope, and a total disregard for ones own safety.

Skis
Ask any Norwegian what type of cross country skis to use for skijoring and you are sure to get a wide variety of answers. (Norwegians tend not to agree upon much.) However, if you persist in asking them the ski type they will finally tell you that either a pair of classic skis or skate skis will work.  If you are serious about your skijoring and wish to race, skate skis are what all the top pros are using.  Classic skis might suit you better if you are just out looking for an afternoon of exercise.

Skijoring belt
Attend any major skijoring race and you are bound to see a wide variety of belts around the skier’s waists.  These belts range from specifically design skijoring belts all the way down to simple rope belts.  Rock climbing harnesses are a popular option and are often used as a skijoring belt especially in mountainous regions.

Animal Harnesses
The type of animal harness you will use will depend upon the animal you intend to drive.  Dogs are the most popular animal to skijor behind and there are a wide variety of commercially available dog harnesses on the market.  The harnesses used in skijoring are the same ones used for dog sledding.

The Line
People who participate in skijoring have a hard time meeting members of the opposite sex so they are in need of a very good line. Not only do they need a good pickup line, but they also need a good line to attach themselves to their dogs.  The lines used in skijoring are typically 8 feet long and contain some type of bungee chord.  The bungee chord helps to absorb the shock of the dogs starting and stopping.  The length of the line will vary depending upon the number of dogs being driven, the more dogs the longer the line.

Technique
Either skate skiing or classic skiing is used when skijoring.  The driver harnesses themselves to the animal ahead and then drives the animal through commands.  The skier can, for the most part, enjoy the ride as the animal is the one doing all the work.  To properly enjoy skijoring one must first harness their dog, put on your skijoring belt, attach the line between the dog and the belt, clip into your skis, and finally enjoy the ride.

Skijoring is a fun winter sport and is a great way to get your best friend out of the house this winter.  While the same can’t be said for Lutefisk (a fish soaked in lye and eaten like mush) the Norwegians were onto something when they popularized skijoring.  So this winter when you head out skiing grab your dog and explore the wonderful world of skijoiring.

By Daniel Undem

 

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