Happy December 10th! Today we had a failed attempt at skijoring. Unfortunately a failure on a few different levels. First off, I forgot that the cross country ski shop that I always rent my skis from doesn't open until 9am on the weekdays. They open at 8am on the weekEND, but on the week days. So I showed up an hour early and didn't really feel like waiting around for an hour to get the skis and figured that we'd just hike around. Once we got up to the snow park area, I first checked out the snow to see whether or not I was going to need to booty the dogs or not. "Thankfully" because it's been so dry and hasn't really gotten above freezing, the snow was still nice and pretty loose. No ice crystals to cut up pads. However, the temperature was hovering right around zero, so the dogs got their coats on. Once we got going, I was glad that I hadn't attempted skiing on the snow. There were patches of the trail that were down to the bare pavement. I don't know where all the snow we got went to, but there wasn't a whole lot to be found at the 4,000 ft. level! There were even bare patches in the forest! After a couple of hours of me walking and them running amok, we loaded back up and headed back down the mountain so that I could pick up my skis. When I got there, it turns out that the guy who does the binding mounting wasn't in and even if I had showed up at the right time, I still would have been ski-less. I'll be able to pick up my skis next week when we head back up to the mountain for some actual skijoring. We're supposed to get some precipitation over the week too, so there should be fresh snow!!
My pick for Book of the Month is "Skijor With Your Dog" by Mari Hoe-Raitto and Carol Kaynor. I can't help but go with a skijor theme. It really is a fun sport once you get going!!:) This is another book that's great for the person just starting out. It goes into a little bit of the history of skijoring and the (obvious) difference between it and mushing. There is also a brief section on teaching yourself to cross country ski! Hopefully if you don't already know how to ski, you'll have someone who can help you out BEFORE you get hooked up to a dog!
There's the standard section on the different styles and pieces of equipment. Training tips and suggestions on how to start training your dog for the sport. There's also a pretty important section on trails and trail etiquette. If you're going to skijor, you should DEFINITELY know a little something about trail etiquette. What to do when you're coming up on another team. Which trails to pick. And the biggy. How to avoid ticking other people off when you're on the trail. Things like avoiding trampling groomed cross country trails. You definitely don't want to tick those people off! That's a good way to get dogs banned from a multi-use trail.
The interesting thing about this book is that it goes into feeding and maintaining a dog similar to how mushers with large kennels do. A lot of people would be appalled at having their family pet live outside in a wooden dog house attached to a stake all the time. This book goes into the planning behind a dog yard and how to go about constructing the necessary pieces.
There's also a really interesting section on touring and winter camping!
This is great book for the beginner interested in getting the total education on skijoring and the many possibilities there within.