For the skier:
Almost any skis will work for skijoring. Skate skis work well on groomed trails or with fast dogs. You can use diagonal stride skis on narrow un-groomed trails. ASPA does not recommend metal edged skis because of the possibility of serious injury to the dog.
Poles should fit the skier, snow conditions and the type of skis being used.
Boots should fit the ski bindings and type of ski being used. Over-boots or insulated boots are recommended in cold weather. Picture of skis, poles and boots.
For the dog:
A standard sled dog racing harness works well for skijoring. The harnesses are sold by the weight of the dog, but try the harness on and check for proper fit. Put the harness on the dog and pull on the loop at the tail end of the harness. The dog’s breastbone should meet the harness just beneath where the neck straps come together. If the harness is too big, the breastbone will stick out the neck opening. If the harness is too small, the breastbone will be below the joining of the neck straps. If the harness is the proper length the end of the webbing should land right at the base of the dog’s tail when the dog is pulling. Make sure the side straps don’t fall over the dog’s hindquarters, but run up from the belly just ahead of the hind legs. Sizing varies between brands so check different brands of harnesses if you are having difficulty finding one that fits properly.
See the Harnesses page for more information about some of the various types of harnesses available.
Booties, dog coats, crotch bands or belly blankets can increase the comfort of your dog if he has a light coat or you travel over rough trails or during very cold weather.
The skijor belt should be at least three inches wide and most are padded for comfort. Many belts have leg straps that go around the upper thigh to hold the belt in place. The belt is connected to the skijor lines by a “quick release” or caribiner.
The entire skijor line set up should be between 7 and 20 feet depending on the number of dogs you have in front of you.
The bungee section of the skijor line is between 14 and 20 inches in length and absorbs the shock (of starting, stopping and rough terrain) for both you and your dog. There is a loop at either end of the bungee section.
The tug line has a loop at one end and a brass swivel snap at the other end. It connects the bungee to the dog harness. Tug lines may be split in a Y-shape to connect two dogs running side-by-side.
The neckline is a 6-8 inch line with small brass swivels on each end. It connects the collars of two dogs running side-by-side or connects a single dog to a main line when dogs are running in tandem. Neck lines can be made of bungee material.
Pulks are sleds that are pulled by the dogs while the skier skis behind the pulk or in between the dogs and pulk to steer and brake if necessary. All three (dogs, pulk and skier) are attached by lines.
The ASPA Beginners’ Clinic is usually given in November. See the ASPA Events page for information.
One of the best resources we know of for learning to skijor is the book Skijor With Your Dog. You can purchase it from Amazon.com or from various locations in Fairbanks:
Cold Spot Feeds
910 Old Steese Highway #A
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Alaska Feed Company
1600 College Rd.
Fairbanks, AK 99701