After months of training, Rossland resident Dana Luck and a few of his best friends are on their way to compete in the International Federation of Sleddog Sports (IFSS) World Championship in Haliburton, Ont. that begins on Tuesday.
Luck has been preparing for the event all year, running his dogs daily on back trails and logging roads of the Cascade Mountains, and he hopes the months of dryland and snow training pays off with a podium finish at the Skijoring World championship.
“Training has been going good,” Luck told the Trail Times in an email. “A few minor setbacks but the dogs are happy and having fun, which is the most important part. We are ready as possible and very excited leading up to the event.”
The event includes skijorers and dog sledders from across the globe, and is hosted by the Haliburton Forest and Wild Life Reserve, that boasts kilometers of pristine trails and 100,000 acres of protected wilderness.
The Big Red Cat Skiing employee is entered to race in four events at the Worlds: the 1-dog skijor, the 2-Dog Skijor, the Pulka, and the 4-dog mass start, and has worked hard on his skate-skiing technique in readiness for the championship. In races, the skate-skiing technique is almost exclusively used, and the skis are hot waxed from tip to tail to avoid slowing the dog team down. Luck will have to be at his best in a field that includes world-class skijorers from Scandinavian countries who are virtually born on cross-country skis.
“You start doing the nine-mile one-dog stuff, there’s guys that can ski around there faster without their dogs, the guys from Norway, so how do you compete with that, their dogs aren’t getting tired like mine so it makes a big difference,” Luck said.
Luck also worked on conditioning and race discipline so his dogs aren’t distracted by other competitors or spectators. Closer to the race, however, the regimen changes and distances are reduced so the team is healthy, rested, and ready to go.
“Leading up to the event I try to keep the runs shorter and fun for the dogs with more play time,” said Luck. “Both me and the dogs have lots of miles and the goal this close to the event is to already be conditioned and in shape. Shorter runs keep the dogs excited and give them time to play and have fun.”
Skijoring is an intense competition with the skier, in Luck’s case, tethered to 1-4 dogs that race between 12-to-15 kilometres depending on the event.
Luck is currently driving to Haliburton with his dogs and expects to arrive this weekend, get settled in and accustomed to the track, before starting early Tuesday morning with the Skijoring Men 1-Dog Elite race.
While, he hopes for a podium finish, the Courtney native would be happy with a top-five performance in his first World Championship on snow.
“Our most important goal for the event is to have fun, meet some new people and old friends,” added Luck. “Also make sure the young dogs have a fun experience and gain confidence.”
To help Luck and his team in their quest for the World Championship go to www.gofundme. com/26p3muxw.