What Is Skijoring, and What Kind of Equipment Is Needed?


Quick Answer

Skijoring is a centuries-old winter sport in which a dog or dogs pull a cross country skier on a rope. Typical gear includes a belt or harness for the human, a harness for the dog, tow line, quick-release hitches and cross-country skis, boots and poles.

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What Is Skijoring, and What Kind of Equipment Is Needed?
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Full Answer

A skijoring towline consists of a piece of nylon rope, 7 or 8 feet in length, for one dog. About a foot of each end of the rope is made of cold-weather bungee cord. This bungee cord helps to absorb the shock of quick starts or stops. A standard sledding harness for the dog and a rock-climbing harness for the skier are commonly used in place of more specialized equipment. Combi-type cross-country skis are recommended for their versatility and stability. The ASCPA strongly recommends using skis without metal edges to avoid injuring the dogs.

There are numerous variations on traditional dog powered skijoring. Equestrian skijoring, where the skier is towed by a horse, is said to have begun as a practical form of travel, and was even a demonstration event in the 1928 Olympic games. Skijoring using snowmobiles has become a professional sport. Steamboat Springs, Colo. holds an annual winter festival which includes a skijoring competition.

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