Maggie, my 2-year-old golden retriever, is about 10 yards ahead of me on a wide, freshly groomed cross-country trail. Gliding alongside her on skis is Jane Carpenter, a quintessential lover of dogs and skiing, who keeps telling Maggie she’s a good girl and encouraging her to go.
Maggie loves to go — on car rides, on hikes, on runs around the neighborhood, and on ski treks through the woods. But this is the first time either of us has tried skijoring. Maggie is wearing something akin to a dogsledding harness, which is attached to a long, stretchy blue leash, which is clipped into a belt around my waist.
I’d heard about skijoring and seen photos of racing dogs with their Lycra-clad, fast-skiing human counterparts. I wasn’t looking for speed, necessarily — although going fast on skis is something I love to do. I was just looking for another type of adventuring Maggie and I could do together.
When I learned Gunstock Mountain Resort offers skijoring lessons at its Outdoor Center, we headed to New Hampshire’s Lakes Region to check it out. By the end of our hourlong lesson with Carpenter, Maggie and I were hooked on this sport. Turns out we aren’t alone.