Sunday, January 6, 2013

Leo's First Backcountry Ski Trip

Today we took Leo with us to Skibowl.  We met Holm at the resort around 11am and took some Upper Bowl runs with him until about 2pm when we headed down for some sandwiches and to take Leo for his first trip on snow.  The conditions weren’t that great at the resort so we didn’t hesitate to put our energy towards testing out Leo rather than continuing to ride the lifts.

We left from the parking lot at Skibowl and headed down the trail along the road around 2:45pm.  We kept him on leash just because we didn’t dare risk the chance of him darting out into traffic.  We quickly found out that he was better off behind Emily chasing her and in front of me.  Otherwise he preferred to walk alongside us and our skis which was awkward on the narrow path.  I kept a close eye on him and made sure my skis didn’t run into his back legs in front of me as he pulled me along.  When we got to the trailhead we put on our skins and headed across a narrow bridge over a stream that clearly made Leo very nervous.  

Once over the bridge we let him off leash to test him out on a trail and as usual for Leo he did great!  Not only did he keep an eye on us and stay with us but he also came directly back to us on every call!  As before, he did very well with all the other dogs he encountered on the trail.  What he didn’t do so well with, at least initially, was his footing in the snow he wasn’t used to.  He would often sink in and later while running would faceplant hard with each misstep.  

When we got to mirror lake he learned to his delight that he could eat the snow he was running on and started chompin down mouthfuls until I brought some water over for him.  That was when he also learned the joy of chomping snowballs I threw at him!  After resting for a bit we pulled off our skins and headed down the trail with our heels locked down in alpine mode.  I took the lead as I was faster and to my disbelief Leo kept up with me the entire way down the trail, often at a full run behind me with tongue hanging out and looking extremely happy.  At the bottom he showed no sign of a limp, was free of snow in his fur and actually didn’t look too tired.  This dog IS AMAZING IN SNOW,  We are so happy that he liked it, stayed with us, and kept up with us easily.  Next test: Mountain Biking.

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