12 April 2014

Book Review: A Guide for the Serious Musher

Dog Driver

A Guide for the Serious Musher 

 by Miki Collins and Julie Collins


I came across this book while in Alaska.  I am so happy I picked it up!  The Collins are twin sisters, who live on a trapline in Alaska.  They have been running dogs since they were teenagers.   They take a no nonsense, no BS approach to everything related to running dogs.   The main focus of this book is sled dogs, which they branch into recreational, freight and racing teams.   Miki and Julie Colins also write for Mushing magazine.    
The Collins know dogs.  Spending winters on isolated traplines in Alaska, they have to rely on their dogs, not only for their livelihood, but for their very life.     So  well trained, confident dogs are key to their operation.  

The book is full of black and white glossy photos that will take your breath away.   The book reads in part like an adventure story and a how-to mush manual. 

They have an extensive section on medical problems with dogs and how to treat them. This may be beyond some of us, but it's written in a straightforward style, and is easy to re-read.  

The Collins mix a good amount of story telling with facts.  This book will not only entertain you, but it will steer you in the right direction on many sled dog related issues. 

I love this book because there is no attitude.  They tell it like it is, and their vast knowledge is laid out in an easy to understand way.  They live this everyday, and their knowledge and know0how is second to none.   An excellent read!   

5 Paws Up! 

6 April 2014

Ski Storage

Sadly, it's that time of year that we start to think about putting the skis in storage for the summer months.     Taking some time now to care for your skis, will ensure you are ready to go when the snow comes back!

Whether you are storing classic skis, or skate skis, hot wax them before you put them away, then find a nice cool place to store them.  We store ours in an interior closet, on the main floor of the house.  It does not get too humid like the basement, and don't heat up like the garage.

Wax On

Use a nice soft glide wax, we often use yellow for this, and apply a generous amount.  We don't scrape it, or polish it, as the thicker wax protects the ski base from dust or scratches while in storage.  We remove this wax at the start of the season, by scraping it down, and rewaxing the ski for the right conditions.      

A little dab will do ya

We give the bindings a quick squirt of silicone lubricant, and put the skis in a breathable ski bag.   Don's store them in a plastic bag, as it will trap any mositure that was on your ski.  

Tie em up, or Leave em lose?

There is some debate over whether or not to use ski ties when storing your skis for the summer.  We do, but we leave the ties fairly lose.  We have a fair number os skis, and leaving them all lose is just not feasible or convient for us.    

Some people advise against it, as putting the skis together too tightly, may result in them sticking together when you go back to use them again.  Some people use a piece of parchmen paper to keep the skis seperated.   I would only see this as being an issue if you are keeping your skis somewhere that is will get hot enough for the wax to soften or melt together.    

We do bind our classic skis together, and we leave the skate skis lose!  How's that for indecision! 


Good bye skis!  See you in the fall!  

Dear Readers, what do you do with your skis at the end of the season? I would love to see comments on how you put your skis away for the season.