This weekend, for Ben's birthday, we went backcountry skiing in Butler Gluch. This is a new trail for us and we followed the road most of the way up. Just as we were about to turn around to ski down, we got the idea to cut through the woods to what looked to be a bit of a clearing. This is where most of the photos/videos were taken. We couldn't believe our good luck. Untouched snow, a beautiful gentle rolling hill, too perfect. Talus and Luka were in heaven.
Most backcountry skis have skins that are the width of the ski to help with the assent. If you're not familiar with skins, they are like little re-usable adhesive carpets that you stick to the bottom of your skis. Because I am using the skins on my "new" skis that belong to my old skis, they do not fit properly and are far too narrow. This is fine on the flat, but when the incline goes above about 10 degrees, I start sliding backward. Not fun!
So, in the interest of keeping me from sliding backwards and to keep our dogs from chasing after everything that moves in the forest (particularly Talus), I tie them to me for the uphill and I get a bit of skijoring in. They seem to love it and we love not having to chase after them. Plus it helps even out my fitness level with Ben's.
Then for the downhill, they're off-leash. This seems to work fine since we go so quickly they have no time to be distracted. It would be quite dangerous and difficult to have them on-leash and be skiing so close behind them. Though sometimes they decide to stop short any we crash trying to avoid hitting them. Skiing with dogs definitely keeps you on your toes. (That's part of the reason you'll notice in the video, that I'm skiing pretty slowly with wide turns).
Backcountry skiing is such a phenomenal workout and so much fun. Especially with dogs. We just went yesterday, but I already cannot wait to go again!