You Never Forget Your First Time

As you may know, we got some snow here in Minnesota last week. I was thrilled to take up my skis but forced myself to practice solo several times before bringing along a dog. I re-learned how to coordinate my arms and legs and skis and poles, to go up and down hills and around curves, and most importantly I practiced a bajillion snowplow stops (which, by the way, is an awesome inner thigh workout). By the end of the week, I was ready to add a dog but decided to skip the weekend since the parks tend to be pretty busy on the weekends. Better to wait until Monday morning, I thought.

As it turns out, the parks probably weren’t actually very busy over the weekend because it was raining. It wasn’t enough rain to eliminate the snow, but it was enough to slush it up a bit and refreeze it into a bit more slippery state. Still, I was determined. So off Maisy and I went.

I am incredibly proud of Maisy for a number of reasons, but to start… it wasn’t icy enough to either be really treacherous or dangerous for dog feets, but the top of the snow was icy/crusty enough for the skis to be REALLY REALLY LOUD and crunch a lot which initially made Maisy very nervous. Especially since we were on multi-use rather than groomed trails with ski tracks.

At first, she didn’t line out well and winged over to the sides next to me instead of staying in front. When she was in front she kept pausing and looking back at me suspiciously so I had to keep stopping or run over her towline, and she even occasionally circled around behind me.  But we just kept going with a lot of happy talk and true to form, before too long she settled in, got out in front, and got down to business. At first she was more just trotting in front of me instead of actually pulling but when we got to some less popular (and therefore in better condition) multi-use trails she really cut loose. For a few stretches I just had to pole along (which, by the way, is an awesome upper arm workout) while she galloped.

And also… despite being weirded out by my noisy foot-sticks, she followed directions like an absolute dream. I was especially fond of her stellar “easy” and “whoa” today, but really she did it all. She even went “on by” an oncoming person walking. And she’s picked up “gee over” and “haw over” which have nothing to do with today specifically, I just thought I’d throw that in there while I was gushing about what an amazing and awesome dog she is.

I won’t be brave enough to go out with Squash until we get some fresh snow and it’s less slippery out there. In some ways, I think I’d almost be better off going with the two of them together than him alone, since she keeps him focused, but that is a decision I will make on another day. For now, I’ll just bask here in the afterglow of finally being able to say “I skijor” without the “will be” and “-ing someday”.

This is the crummier trail… we did ok on the side but there was no using the middle.

IF

Here’s a trail in much better shape.

IF

And for your viewing pleasure… I lost part of my GorillaPod AGAIN so I was holding the camera in one hand and both poles in the other… I’ll either find it or get sick of looking for it and replace it soon and then I can take longer videos.

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