Thursday, January 13, 2011

Ride on a dog sled and learn to skijor with your own dog

Snow Bound Adventures in Grayling
This sounds like a really cool event, and your dogs are welcome.
From noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 30, Oakland County Parks and Recreation will host dog sledding demonstrations at the Orion Oaks County Dog Park (located on Joslyn Road just south of Clarkston Road).
You can pay a nominal fee to be taken for a ride on the dog sled and, you can bring your own dog and take part in workshops teaching you how to sled and skijor with your pup.
Snow Bound Adventures, a Grayling business, will be giving the presentation.
The Rileys, who own and operate the business, look like a relatively young couple who have been able to make a decent living from their kennel, breeding dogs, and alternately getting the dogs involved in events like the one coming up at Oakland County. From what I see, it looks like they also host groups frequently and do some canoeing in the summer. Oh, the life.
It sounds like they genuinely enjoy what they do. In a blog post from earlier this week, it was written: “Glad to see so many folks interested in getting out with the dogs. Truly fun to watch someone get on the runners and experience this for the first time. I wonder if anyone will jump right into the lifestyle like I did so many years ago after Russ and Sherry hooked up that first team for me.”
Will you be one of those to take the jump? Find out for yourself by heading to the event and giving dog sledding a try.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re going to go:
The workshop — where you’ll learn how to team up with your own dog to take part in sledding and skijoring — will be from noon to 1 p.m., followed by sled rides from 1-2 p.m. Another workshop will be from 2-3 p.m. and the day will wrap up with more sled rides from 3-4 p.m.
If you miss the event on the 30th, don’t worry — the same event, same schedule and all, will come back to Lyon Oaks County Park from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 13.
And, this is the same group that does the demonstrations at Rochester’s Fire and Ice festival on Saturday, Jan. 29.
Another need to know: Even though the events are being held at the dog park, your dog needs to be on a six-foot leash for the event. Another area of the dog park will be available for your dog’s off-leash needs.

What the heck is skijoring?
I’ve heard a lot about this sport in recent years. If I had the money to buy a pair of cross country skis, you can bet Sensi and I would be a skijoring like mad. I can’t imagine anything he’d like more (OK, actually, I can think of lots of things — swimming, juicy dog bones, tanning on the deck ... but whatever, he’d still love to skijor!)
Basically, skijoring is when you use an appropriate harness on your dog, strap a leash to it, pull on your cross country skis and go — your dog pulling you, of course.
Doesn’t that sound exhilarating?

One more event at Lyon Oaks in Wixom
If you’re not so keen on the dog sledding and skijoring stuff, check out the Lyon Oaks Dog Park in Wixom for a more laid back outing at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22.
Dogs and their owners are invited to take part in the “Happy Trails Dog Walk” — a group fitness walk heading through Lyon Oaks. Meet at the small parking lot near the park office.

What does it all cost?
A daily pass to Oakland County Parks costs $5 or you can pay $30 for an annual pass.
Other than that, the event is free with the chance there may be a “nominal fee” to ride the dog sled.
Equipment, training and practice will be provided during the workshop, so don’t worry about dragging out your own skis.


  1. Can't wait to see my Sibe hooked up and doing what she was bred for!