New Skijorers Have a Howling Good Time by: Diana Roberts

23 Jan 2017 3:11 PM | Anonymous

Participants in SNSA skijor clinics come in all sizes and colors, with names like Bo, Chester, and Aki. The dogs, that is. We’re not good at remembering their humans’ names.

Some of the dogs are vocally excited about being out in the snow, while others want to roll in it, or run circles around their human. But after several entanglements with the tug-line, everyone is pointed in the right direction and the dogs take off down the trail, their humans gliding along behind. Yay!

Inevitably, nature calls 100 yards down the trail. Whoa! Cognizant of the recent discussions on trail etiquette, the humans pull out poop bags, pick up their dog’s waste, and untangle their tug-lines once again.

We’ve been offering skijor clinics at the Mount Spokane Nordic Center the last five years, and we’ve seen consequent growth in skijoring on the mountain. We emphasize trail etiquette, dog-on-dog safety, and the importance of having fun with one’s pet.

There’s nothing like on-snow practice for learning how to remain upright behind a racing dog while remembering the difference between “Gee” and “Haw.” So we keep the indoor session brief, and hook up the dogs as soon as possible.

While it’s an amazing bonding experience to fly along the trail behind one’s furry friend, some days the pup’s focused interest in pee-mail is akin to a two-year-old child saying, “I won’t.” At those times, it’s important to chill out and inhale the fresh mountain air. Literally.

At our most recent skijoring clinic, however, all the dogs were eager to pull, from the two mini-Schnauzers to the athletic black Lab. Comments from several participants were along the lines of, “That was fantastic, we had so much fun!”

There are still spaces in this season’s final skijor clinic on January 29th. You may register online for the clinic at

You can learn more at

While most of us who enjoy the Mt Spokane Nordic trails with our dogs are recreational skijorers, opportunities are increasing for those with a competitive spirit.  There are now many skijor and sleddog races across the Pacific Northwest. And beginning on January 23rd, a local skijor team will represent the US at the International Federation of Sleddog Sports World Championship in Ontario, Canada!

See a TV feature about Dan Hanks and his three dogs at Have a howling good time, Dan, Lucky, Louie, and Mountie…

Spokane Nordic is committed to creating, developing and delivering programs to foster Nordic skiing
within the greater Spokane Community through efforts of organization, advocacy, and communication.

Spokane Nordic Ski Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

P.O. Box 501, Spokane, WA, 99210

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