Originally Posted by therusty
Here's a couple of stupid questions:
1) The one time I ran down a dry ski slope, I noticed the incredible strain on my calf muscles. Are dogs at risk from over-exertion/over-use muscle injuries when following skiers/riders down the slopes?
2) Every dog that I've seen running down a slope has been obviously having fun. But why do they have to have a human to follow to get them to do it? I know part of this is from domestication. How often do dogs "have fun" when we're not around. I've heard reports from our park and pipe manager that he has seen deer running the jumps and vultures sliding the rails in the morning. I've also seen an ermine "surfing" in powder snow. But every dog that I've seen left to its own devices on snow, although they may run around on flat ground, they will only walk or trot on pitched slopes. Do they wait until we're not looking, or is it something else?
Regarding question numero uno, you definately have to wait until they are strong and ready. You can damage a pup if it's too early. They should have fully developed hips, usually at least a year old. But after they are a year, most dogs I've seen do just fine. Some snow conditions are better than others. A foot and a half powder seems to be best on thier joints. They are tired after laps after a foot and a half day, but the pow acts like a cushion and they don't seem quite as sore. But it doesn't seem to affect them too bad anyway.
(overly posted pic #1)
This ol' girl has been riding for 9 years, and still cranks. She's gotten used to a lot of the places we go, and tends to know the easier ways down for old dogs. I did an internship monitoring snowmobile trespass in the wilderness areas for a human powered advocacy group. We were up riding in a particular location so much that she ended up finding her own way down and we could pretty much meet back up at the car. She's a little slower now, but she still goes out on big dumps and big vert days. She just hangs a little further back, she and the girlfriend cruise down together.
(overly posted pic #2)
And question #2. This guy is only a year and a half, this was his first season. He is hilarious. He is really fast and seems to keep up on everything except the steepest deepest things we ride. When he's keeping up he jibs the whole way down. One ride we do has a lot of rollers and pillows and a few good tree trunk rail rides and he jumps off all of 'em, even if I don't. But he does wait for people because he likes hangin with the crew, and he just gets a real kick out of seeing us slide down the hill.