How to include Fido in your snowy fun.

Heading outdoors in the winter months requires a few essentials, like your parka, your poles, and now, even your pup. Because the latest winter fitness and fun craze includes man’s best friend. Skijoring, a Norwegian word meaning “ski driving,” is a combination of cross-country skiing and dog sledding, and it has Nordic skiers and nimble canines cruising along snow-packed trails like never before.

Traced back to thousands of years ago, skijoring started as a quick means of transportation. When it made its way to North America in the early 1900s, the sport – and its four-legged participants – took off.

Wearing special harnesses, both owner and dog (or dogs for that matter!) hit the trails tethered by a rope. While the skier wears a simple belt, furry friends are outfitted in harnesses designed for weight-pulling activity without restricting their normal gait.

With the power of momentum from the skier, however, the brunt of the exercise doesn’t fall solely on your husky, lab or retriever. It’s truly a joint push-and-pull activity, terrific exercise for all, and as long as your pet is able, willing, and weighs at least 35 pounds, almost any breed can participate. All you need is some basic equipment and a few snowy trails – which there is no shortage of this time of year at The Ranches.

In addition to private and group cross-country skiing lessons, the Nordic Center at Devil’s Thumb Ranch offers specific skijoring clinics so you can learn a lifelong activity with your beloved housemates.

Thinking about life at The Ranches with smaller lap dogs? Fear not. With eight kilometers of pup-friendly trails outside your door, the underdogs can still have their day!


Our first custom home, The Homestead, is well underway. And our homesites, priced from $750,000, may be developed by the builder of your choice or Devil’s Thumb preferred builders.

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To sample the lifestyle with a resort visit or to schedule a personal tour, contact Rob Cyman, President of The Ranches at Devil’s Thumb: