Skijoring in Maine – A Growing Winter Sport
Lots of people go skiing or snowboarding on their trip to New England, but if you really want a story to tell, go skijoring! The word “skijoring” means “ski driving” in Norwegian. This unique sport began in Scandinavia, where it has involved reindeer and horses as well as dogs, and it’s becoming increasingly popular in this country.
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Basically, a skijorer is a cross-country skier harnessed to one or more dogs.
Skijoring requires a team effort; skiers don’t simply ride around while the dog does the work. It isn’t just for huskies, either– skijoring can be done with active dogs of any breed as long as they’re not too small (under 30-40 pounds).
Done right, skijoring is a great way for you and your best friend to spend time together, enjoy the outdoors and stay in shape. And kids can do it, too!
If you’ve already mastered the basics of cross-country skiing, all you need is a suitable dog and a few pieces of equipment. You should train the dog to use the harness before there is snow on the ground or skis on your feet. You can also take lessons with experienced skijorers in the New England area.
As with snowmobiling, don’t assume that any trail will do; make sure you have permission before you take off skijoring on someone’s property.
If you’re interested in Maine skijoring but don’t want to try it yourself, you can still watch! The New England Sled Dog Club and the Down East Sled Dog Club both sponsor skijoring races in New England, and spectators are always welcome. Visit our Maine Ski Areas section for information about every Maine Ski Area and Ski Resort. When your ready for outdoor winter fun, Maine is ready to you!
Special thanks to photographers Randy Brickell and John Sandberg and www.skijornow.com.
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