25 February 2008


Skijor = to ski while being pulled by 1 to 3 animals

Pulk = to skijor and then also pull a sled behind you

Well, due to all the questions on my mushing posts about whether or not the Disreputable Dog pulls, I thought I should address skijoring. Of course the Disreputable pulls! Not only that but if you were to google my real name many of the top posted items would be skijoring races. Now, the Disreputable Dog is not a very fast dog but he's not supposed to be; he's more along the lines of what you need to pull a heavy sled and believe me, he can pull twice his body weight all day if need be. He's a great skijorer (see pictures) on long skis especially overnight trips or hut trips. He's game for racing too but he's never in the top league because he's too big, he's not a sprint dog but a dog built for stamina. He's the type of dog the post office would have used to haul the mail across the tundra.

He's never been part of a mushing team but has raced together in two dog teams in skijoring. And done trips. Once when we lived on a sandbar on a tributary to the Yukon River (umm...we were doing field work) some of the locals (meaning they lived in a town upriver from us, about 4 hours by boat) tried to steal him because they thought he would be the perfect trapline dog. And he would. Except he is extremely loyal and wasn't having anything to do with being abducted. When a 120lb dog digs his feet into soft river sand you can bet that no one will get him to budge, but I digress.

The point is he loves to pull and I love to ski and we spend lots of time every winter hooked up into a harness with me skate or classic skiing behind him as he pulls. That makes it sound easy but it isn't. It's a lot of work for both of us. It is important for the skier to maintain a rhythm that doesn't work against the rhythm of the dog. It's great fun and it's particularly useful when you are on a trail that requires your dog to be leashed because he is, and yet you have your hands free.

When we first took up skijoring (in Fairbanks of course, where else?) I happened to mention it to a relative of mine who is one of the original Marlboro Men (seriously) and he mentioned that in his youth they used to do it down Colorado ski hills pulled by horses! Now that, sounds a little crazy to me. A dog, at least, will notice and stop if you fall down.


  1. Teamwork!

    I'm guessing disreputable cat keeps the home fires burning in your (meaning you and disreputable dog's) absence.a

  2. you reek of adventure. i love that about you.

  3. you're magnificent! that snow just pulls me in. i fear missing ski season this year!

  4. I wanna I wanna!

    Just need to get a dog and learn how to cross country ski.

  5. work schmurk...I think you should just continue have great adventures and write about them for your voyeuristic readers.

  6. I would love to try skijoring with the Boy, but I am afraid if he saw something he would like to chase, I would be face down in the snow.

  7. this whole thing sounds impossibly cold and dangerous to me. But, thankfully, it is your adventure, not mine! Love reading every word you write!

  8. A horse? Did they wind up in Kansas?

    That looks like a lot of fun. Very cold fun... but good times!

    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

  9. ms chica, indeed she does! She gets quite upset when we're out without her so when it's warm enough she goes by backpack.

    jen, awww...thanks :)

    liv, no worries, we have tons of snow so it shouldn't be melted off for ages yet.

    cae, learning to ski yes, as for dogs, there is always borrowing. The Disreputable Dog gets borrowed all the time.

    doris rose, wann pay me? ;)

    seeking solace, oh, you should try. The thing is you almost always go down on your butt and that stops them in their tracks. I've had to do that with moose in our paths before.

    orangeblossoms, always here for your armchair adventure!

    sciencegirl, it is. So much fun.

    Scarlett, amazingly they didn't although some ended up in the hospital as you can imagine! BTW, I'm not in Denver but my sister is and I need to visit soonish...will email.

  10. Never heard of skijoring before, but it sounds brilliant - Love the idea of DC in the backpack (bless!)

    Ps. Hope you find your ideal research group - good luck...

  11. Hahahaha. Yea, being pulled by horses is crazy. Dogs? Not so much. I like where you draw the lines.

    There's a big skijoring community here in Duluth. The Phy Ed at my college is waaaaaaaaay superstar into it.

    But I bet you could whup him.


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