Maybe I have been living under a rock all these years, but I've lived in the Midwest all my life and I was today years old when I finally heard about 'Skijoring'. Do you know what it is?

What Exactly Is Skijoring?

According to Merriam-Webster, Skijoring is "a winter sport in which a person wearing skis is drawn over snow or ice".

To Skijor all you need to do is slap on some cross country skies, attach yourself to a tow-rope, and find something to pull you. (Basically, it is waterskiing on snow).

Skijoring can be done with dogs...

Loki the Wolfdog via Facebook
Loki the Wolfdog via Facebook


...or even cars and other motorized vehicles.

GP Ice Race 2020 In Zell am See
Getty Images for GP Ice Race

Personally, I am going to remove skijoring behind a car from my list of winter fun right now, but the dog option is quite appealing to me, so let's learn more about skijoring with dogs.

Our Bernedoodle puppy Gentry is about 9 months old and has oodles of energy to burn, which is not too easy to do in the winter months. He runs around in our backyard, and we take him for walks whenever the weather conditions allow, but he needs more fun in his life. Would Gentry be a good candidate for Skijoring? says people who are interested in skijoring with their dogs should follow these five steps when getting started:

  1. Determine If Your Dog Is Suitable for Skijoring: Ideally, skijoring dogs should be fully grown, medium-sized, fit, able to withstand cold temps, and run well in the snow for long periods of time. It is also recommended that you don't try skijoring with your pup until they are about 2 years old, so I guess Gentry will have to wait a little bit for his first skijoring adventure.
  2. Work on YOUR Cross Country Skiing Skills - Skijoring is not a sport that you can just master right away. It's a team sport that requires you to work just as much as your dog, and it requires practice.
  3. Get the Right Skijoring Equipment - Besides cross country skiis and poles, you will also need a joring dog harness, tow line, belt, and paw protection for your dog.
  4. Teach Your Dog Skijoring Commands - To skijor, your dog will need to know certain commands so they understand what you need them to help you do, like when to start running, directions to turn, slowing down, or stopping. (See a list of commands, here).
  5. Find Pet Friendly Ski Trails to Go Skijoring On - Not all ski parks in Wisconsin, or in other Midwest states, are dog-friendly, so doing a little bit of research is key. Travel Wisconsin has highlighted some dog-friendly ski parks to go skijoring that include:
    • Chase’s Point (Orange Trail)
    • Chippewa Moraine State Recreation Area
    • Indian Lake County Park (Pet Area)
    • Interstate State Park (Silverbrook Trail)
    • MECCA Trails – Mercer (Dogs are allowed on untracked areas.)
    • Pike's Creek & Jerry Jay Jolly Trails
    • Seeley Hills Trail
    • Southern Kettle Moraine Unit - Lapham Peak (Prairie Path)

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Does your loyal pup's breed make the list? Read on to see if you'll be bragging to the neighbors about your dog's intellectual prowess the next time you take your fur baby out for a walk. Don't worry: Even if your dog's breed doesn't land on the list, that doesn't mean he's not a good boy--some traits simply can't be measured.

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