25 October 2013

Clean Passing Commandments

Members of Snow Motion at Shannondale Ski Club.  Club members know that communication is important for a clean pass!

Clean Passing Commandments

There shall be no contact between passing teams.

 Dogs shall move to one side of the trail or another, as directed by the driver.

 Dogs shall continue to move forward and shall not look back at passed team. 

The handler with the passing team shall help the dogs, by skiing.

 Unless thou are in a race situation, the team being passed shall slow and move to the side, or pull over and stop.

Thou shalt not leap frog-ith.  A team that has been passed, will remain passed. 


How do you get a clean pass? 



There are three basic scenarios in which you might ask your dog to pass.  Multi-use trails, other skijoring teams, and races. 
The young guns passing a jogger on the multi-use river trail in downtown Winnipeg.  


Multi-Use Trail

The first scenario, on a shared or mutli-use trail.  You might be passing joggers, dog walkers or people on snowshoes.  These people are most often slower than a skijoring team, and may not be expecting you to come along quickly behind them.   Sometimes this can be fun!   (If you run on a multiuse trail consider adding a bell, such as a bear bell to your gangline or belt). 
So give them some warning.   Call out early and call out loud!  The more time they have to compose themselves and move off to the side, the cleaner and smoother the pass will be.  If the people have a dog with them, be sure to pull your own dogs in. 
Even if you have to stop skiing, and slide past them, do what it takes to have control over our own dogs.  You can't control the other persons dogs, but you should be able to control yours.  
When I am passing someone on a shared trail, I call out to my dogs, loudly "WHOA!" or "EASY".  This often lets the other person know that I am coming up behind them.  In most cases they will leash their dog or gain control of it for the pass.  If they don't, I slow my team right down.  A fast moving team might be too tempting a target for a lose dog to chase.   So I don't take any chances.  I also tell them that my dog is not friendly with other dogs.   Something most people understand, and we ski past.  If I have to resort to the white lie that my dogs aren't friendly, I always make sure I am super friendly as I pass.  I don't want a call to Animal Services!   

Passing Another Team

If you are out with a group of friends, on a club run, or on a popular skijoring trail, you will run into the situation where you must pass, or be passed by another team. 
Communication is key.  Call out trail, or passing, let the other team know you intend to pass.  If they don't move over, yell louder, it's hard to hear with winter gear on.   If they still don't move over, don't risk it.  Passing an unsuspecting team can lead to injury and certainly won't win you any friends.  
If you are being passed, you are the slower team.  Once you are passed, stay passed.  They were fast enough to not only catch up to you, but pass you.   They are the faster team.   Leap frogging the team that just passed you will teach your dogs bad habits.   If your dogs are suddenly excited by the prospect of having a team in front of them to chase, snow plow a bit, or pull over for a breather.  Or follow them to the finish line, but maintain your distance. 
Always be sure to pull your team in, and stop them if you need to while being passed.  Dogs who are allowed contact while passing pick up bad habits.   Watch your poles as you pass by, as depending on your ski style, your poles are are eye level for the four legged or two legged team members you are passing. 


Passing in a Race

Rad the race rules.  Each race has it's own sets of rules for passing, designed to keep everyone safe.  If you are unsure of the rules, check with the race organizer, or someone who has run the race before.  Know and understand the passing rulers for the race BEFORE you should up to the race site. 



Your dog won't pass?  Click Here.


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