Displaying good manners with a well trained dog(s) makes skijoring one of the most enjoyable winter activities in the Fairbanks area. Proper skijoring etiquette conveys a positive impression to other trail users.
Trail Etiquette and Safety with Dogs
The following tips apply to the Fairbanks area’s multi-use trail systems. Other trail rules may apply in different regions, so ask before traveling.
- Do not skijor on trails maintained for only Nordic skiing. In the Fairbanks vicinity, the University, Birch Hill, Chena Lakes River Park, Salcha and other similarly well maintained ski trails are not open to dogs.
- Do skijor on trails maintained for dog teams and other users. In the Fairbanks vicinity, the Jeff Studdert, Creamers’ Field, Chena Lakes (Lake Park Mike Agbaba Trail), and White Mountains Trails are a few examples. There are many more kilometers of trails on which dogs can be used than dogs are excluded from. Click here to visit ASPA’s compilation of maps and trail descriptions of Fairbanks area skijor trails.
- Skijor in the normal direction of travel. Most trails open to skijoring are also open to dog teams, skiers, mountain bikers, snowmachiners, etc. Also be on the alert for moose.
- Stay alert and plan ahead for any trail obstructions or hazards such as road crossings or driveways, turns, skiers, mushers, wild animals, or motorized vehicles.
- During poor light periods, be sure to turn your headlamp on and wear reflective material on your gear and clothing–and your dogs–so that other trail users can see you.
- Control is extremely important. The person with the most dogs has the right-of-way. Keep maximum control.
- Stay on the same side of the trail as your dog(s). Do not ski on the opposite side, as this is unsafe for you, your dog(s), and others.
- When approaching or overtaking another trail user, give them plenty of warning by yelling “Trail!” before you pass. Be polite and kindly announce to the person your intentions. Remember, not everyone has seen skijorers before and they may not know what to do. Be patient and in control.
- After being passed by someone, wait awhile to allow some distance between you and the team that passed you.
- Bring a helper/handler to events at which you may need assistance. Coordinators and volunteers may not be able to attend to your specific needs while also conducting the event.
- Do not turn your dogs loose, no matter how well behaved they may be.
- Take extra precautions if your dog has a tendency to growl, bite or attack other dogs or people. “Alligator” dogs may cause endless grief for you and others if not properly attended to. Many times it is suggested that these dogs attend some form of obedience training and guidance prior to participating in events with others.
- Be courteous to others, and leave the trails and parking area as nice as you found them. A plastic grocery store bag works well for this chore if you don’t want to carry a shovel. Keep some bags handy and use them.
- Pay the daily trail use fee and write a thank-you note to the organization that made the trails available to you and your dog(s).