Ellie’s Furcast: learning how to skijor

Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 5:17 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - In the cold winter months, it can be hard to find the motivation to get outside and enjoy the subzero temperatures waiting just beyond the door. Dog owners know that the need for exercise waits for no perfect temperature, which is why Kimberly Wells likes to Skijor with her Alaskan huskies.

“It’s a nice relationship where the dog inspires you to get up, get outside and get some exercise,” Wells said. “It’s healthy and low impact when you’re skiing, so you’re not as inclined to get injured. "

If you own a pair of cross country skis, boots and poles — the only other thing you need is your dog, a harness and a skijor belt. However, skijoring is not as easy as it sounds.

“First off, knowing how to ski is really important,” Wells says, “You don’t have to be an Olympic skier, you don’t have to be incredibly good, you just have to know how.”

Other important first steps when learning to skijor are finding a harness that does not go around a dogs neck, making sure the dog hasn’t had a big meal right before running them, and ensuring their booties aren’t cutting off blood circulation to their paws.

“It’s not about being towed down the trail, you’re actually a team,” Wells said. “The dog is pulling and you are skiing, so it’s a team effort, and it’s a great sport to do with your dog.”

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