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Personally, I find this depressing, but what the heck:

But a lack of reliable snow cover in the East and Upper Midwest the last couple of years has prompted a
cancellation rate of more than 30 percent for
Isdra-sanctioned races. Dryland competitions have gained prominence as racers realized the situation could be permanent.
Used to be that December meant snowfall; you took it for granted, but not anymore, said Steve Knight, a
59-year-old bus driver from Cambridge, Minn., who has raced dog sleds since 1976. He came as a spectator to the East Meets West race. Some of the biggest names in the sport now race dryland, and its turning into a whole other season before winter comes.
http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/12/01/travel/escapes/01dogs.html?ref=travel

There's going to be a fairly large dryland race at Fair Hill, MD next weekend. Details at
http://www.pennsleddogclub.com/events/2006-2007/fairhill.html
Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Prouder than ever to be a member of the reality-based community
() Personally, I find this depressing, but what the heck:

I think that, while it's depressing for mushers, and it's depressing for anyone who gives a *** about the planet, it is also kind of cool that folks who don't live in traditionally snowy areas can participate in dog activities they might not otherwise consider.

Shelly (Warning: see label for details)
http://www.cat-sidh.net (the Mother Ship)
http://esther.cat-sidh.net (Letters to Esther)
I think that, while it's depressing for mushers, and it's depressing for anyone who gives a *** about the planet, it is also kind of cool that folks who don't live in traditionally snowy areas can participate in dog activities they might not otherwise consider.

The problem is that they often don't know about them. But you're right, and it's also worth pointing out 1) that the distances involved (usually under 2 miles for canicross, 4 or 5 miles for bikejoring) are something that most people can do (i.e. you don't have to be particularly fit), and 2) unlike dogsledding and carting, they're something you can do with only one or two dogs.
But being out in ths snow in the woods by yourself with the dogs and heading down the trail is an amazing experience and one that you really can't duplicate with dryland stuff.
Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Prouder than ever to be a member of the reality-based community
The problem is that they often don't know about them.

That will likely change over time, though.
But you're right, and it's also worth pointing out 1) that the distances involved (usually under 2 miles for canicross, ... be particularly fit), and 2) unlike dogsledding and carting, they're something you can do with only one or two dogs.

Also, they're things you can do with dogs that aren't well suited to cold weather.
But being out in ths snow in the woods by yourself with the dogs and heading down the trail is an amazing experience and one that you really can't duplicate with dryland stuff.

I wouldn't think so. Just the being in the woods by yourself with your dogs is something I don't think that all that many people get to experience, period. I'm going to miss having the woods right outside my door. The dog-sledding aspect is something I can only imagine (I doubt I would ever have the quantity of dogs required for that). I expect it's a wonderfully free and exhilarating feeling, assuming, of course, that everything is going well.

Shelly (Warning: see label for details)
http://www.cat-sidh.net (the Mother Ship)
http://esther.cat-sidh.net (Letters to Esther)
But being out in ths snow in the woods by yourself with the dogs and heading down the trail is an amazing experience and one that you really can't duplicate with dryland stuff.

Damn that sounds great.

Lynne
Damn that sounds great.

There are lots and lots of touring outfits that offer packages ranging from short rides in the basket to multi-day excursions where you care for the dogs and drive the sled. Backpacker magazine had a nicely-written article about going on a longer trip last winter:
Once you go, you go. There is no buildup. Arleigh's sled is moving off ahead, and my dogs leap to the traces. The dogs left tethered in the yard set up a howl and holler, and just as quickly-zip-it is just you and your team whooshing through a tunnel of spruce. The runners hiss against the snow, and the cargo bay grunts and creaks as the straps ease and the load settles. I keep my right foot on the studded rubber flap of the drag brake, but the dogs are flat-out flying. The first corner
approaches, and now I realize why Arleigh puts your focus on that tug line. Any more responsibility at this speed this early, and you'd bail out at the first
bend. "Slow 'em down on the straightaways and let 'em go on the corners," he'd said. It's counterintuitive, but if you brake on the corner, the dogs drag you straight into the brush. I step off the brake and hope for the best. The dogs stream around a tree trunk and out of sight. I dip, lean, and shift my weight. The sled tail kicks out and sweeps through the corner in an arc, tracking neatly in the dogs' wake. The tree is scarred by beginners who gave in to the temptation of braking.

http://www.backpacker.com/article/1,2646,10207 P,00.html
Melinda Shore - Software longa, hardware brevis - (Email Removed)

Prouder than ever to be a member of the reality-based community