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NOTICE: All material on this website/blog is Copyright © by Midwest Skijorers. All rights reserved. Individual articles or pictures are copyrighted, except where indicated in each post.
Users can link to this website/blog, but users are forbidden to reproduce, republish, redistribute, or resell any materials from this website/blog in either machine-readable form or any other form without permission of Midwest Skijorers.
Our New and Updated "Skijor101" presentation and "RACING 101" presentation are now posted at the  "Training Information" page (in PDF format).
Our Training schedule will be posted on Class Schedule" page.

The 2020/2021 "Race Schedule" will be on the Events page


Welcome to Midwest Skijorers website

I would like to remind everyone that the club membership dues are due.

If you have not renewed your membership, you will be restricted from accessing the "members area" (including the priceless information in the member forum).  Please use our handy paypal button to renew your membership and support our efforts to be an advocate for your dog and for all dog powered sports. A word document copy of the membership form is also available in "files" at the Midwest Skijorers Facebook group.

Insurance is a MAJOR EXPENSE, club memberships and clinic student fees is our only revenue that keeps us afloat and allows us to continue to provide training.

We hope 2020/2021 will be a great year for all of you.

Take care everyone and prepare (train) early, so you and your dog can safely enjoy some awesome Dogpowered-sports-adventures.

Thank You

Jim Benson President-Midwest Skijorers Club


ARE YOU READY TO RACE ? Prior to entering any race you are responsible for reading and understanding race rules, policies, procedures, protocol and etiquette.



Skijorers are responsible for familiarity and knowledge of IFSS and ISDRA rules, policies and procedures as well as etiquette and protocol.

(IFSS is International Federation of Sleddog Sports and ISDRA is International Sled Dog Racing Association)

Skijorers are responsible for knowing the events rules, policies, and procedures.

Skijorers are responsible for safe contact-free passing (passing skills should be practiced extensively prior to entering a race).

Teams must be able to complete the race course in a reasonable time (a maximum finish time may be in place).

Each team will be assigned a start time and a chute time.

Each skijor team shall be at the immediate start area prior to their CHUTE time (Race may specify this time).

Skijorers should provide their own handler (generally 1 handler per dog).

Handlers must promptly exit the start area to make room for the next team.

Skijorers may use either skate or classic ski technique.

Dogs must be treated humanely at all times.

Dogs must be controlled and kept from other teams (before, during, and after event).

Loose dogs are NOT PERMITTED at race site at ANY time (before, during, or after event).

Skijorer should not disconnect towline from the harness except to clear a tangle.

Skijorers are responsible for their dogs’ behavior (before, during, and after event).

Aggressive (or overly reactive) dogs are prohibited from the event.

Dogs may be handled by race staff during inspections, at the start area, or by trail help, so it is very important that your dog is well socialized (not fearful, anxious, or reactive).

Skijorers are responsible for limiting stress (Always be your dogs’ advocate).

Skijorers shall not block, impede or otherwise interfere with another skijorers’ progress at any time. (Interference)

Skijorers’ dog or dogs shall not interfere or impede another skijorers’ team at any time.

If you or your dog is not proficient in passing or being passed, you should train pass proficiency before entering a race (passing is discussed in detail further below).

Skijorer shall follow behind the dog on skis.

Skijorers (or others) may not pace the dog by ANY means.


All dogs must be sufficiently fit and conditioned to be able to complete the course.

Dogs must be vaccinated for Rabies and any other vaccinations specified by the Race Giving Organization. Have a copy of the dog's rabies vaccination certificate available for submission.

Race may require a pre-race vet check (inspection) and dog marking. (All dogs should be socialized to accept this handling)

Purebred entries must provide registration papers to be eligible as a purebred.

Sick dogs or those exposed to communicable disease are not permitted in the race.

ALL dog injuries MUST be reported immediately to the Race Marshal and Veterinarian immediately.

Aggressive dogs MUST be reported immediately to the Race Marshal.


All equipment must be in good working order.

All equipment (and dogs) must be available for inspection at any time. (before, during, and after the race)

Nordic skate or classic skis are allowed.

Hip Belt minimum width:  IFSS= 2.75 inches (ISDRA= 3 inches)

Towline shall include a shock absorber section. (No minimum or maximum amount of stretch in the shock absorber.

Skijor Towline length, as measured from skiers waist or belt buckle to the 1st snap (closest dog), shall be within the specifications. (ISDRA specifications = 7 feet to 12 feet)


Canicross  Towline shall have a shock absorber, be five to nine feet (5-9') in length when fully extended and attach to the runners hip belt.

Bikejoring and scooter lines shall have a shock absorber and be seven to twelve feet (7-12') in length when fully extended from the front tire.

All dogs shall be fastened to the gangline by a neck line and tug line with the exception of the leader(s) who shall be harnessed in the team by a tug line and fastened to each other with a neck line.


IFSS (Skijor Canicross Bikejor Scooter classes) all state: Towline shall be Not less than 2 meters to a maximum length of 3 meters (6.56 feet to 9.84 feet) ...All dog(s) in team must be 18 months old or older....... Necklines required.!

IFSS & ISDRA require a "means" of release within skijorers’ arm reach. It may be a mechanical release, a soft release, a belt hook, or other type of release.

Harness shall be designed/intended for dog powered sports (a pulling harness).

Each dog shall wear a secure dog collar. (It shall be adjusted so that it cannot slip over the dogs head). Buckle collars or limited slip collars are suggested (avoid plastic buckle collars).

Collars, muzzles or harnesses capable of choking the dog are prohibited.

The towline must be attached to the dog's harness. (not to the collar)

Dogs may be harnessed in single file, side by side, or offset formation.

A belly band may be used.

Helmets are required for all youth skijorers. Helmets are allowed and recommended for adults.

Neckline is required in 2 dog skijor teams unless run in single file. (in which case the rear dog is necklined to the towline).

The Race Giving Organization (RGO) has the the right to restrict participation for just cause.


Park in the same parking spot each day, for hygiene and canine health, think communicable disease and illness).

Heat distances need not be identical, but the shortest trails shall be run first. Subsequent days’ heat distances shall not exceed 150% of the 1st days length. (Per IFSS rules)

Shortest and longest possible trail distances for each heat and shall be indicated on the invitation.

CUMULATIVE TIME RACES: Dogs will be marked prior to the start of the 1st heat. The markings must be there on each subsequent day, (do not attempt to remove it). Only the dogs marked for a specific class may be used on any subsequent days’ class.


Interval starts

All teams should arrive at the start area at least 1 minute prior to the assigned chute time. (which is generally 1 minute before the assigned chute time)

Skijorers must provide their own handlers, (1 per dog) in order to maintain adequate control and minimize stress (your dogs’) in the start and finish areas. Handler should be someone that your dog knows and likes and someone that knows dogs. Handler should be advised to clear the immediate start and finish areas as soon as possible. At some races start help/chute help  will hold the skijorer at the waist. Help may or not be provided by race staff. Bring help or exchange assistance from participants in other "classes"

The front tips of the skijorer’s skis must be behind the start line prior to the signal to start.

The skijorer’s race bib must be visible to race officials. Single panel bibs shall be worn in front and above the waist.

Skijorers must remain aware of teams nearby and keep control over their ski pole tips to avoid injury to dogs or skijorers. (Interference rules apply)


Skijorers are responsible for executing good passing (passing should not be first experienced at your first race).

A passing skijorer must execute a pass only when conditions are safe.

The skijorer should call “Trail” before attempting to pass.

Skijorer may pass on either side.

Both skijorers may say “on-by” but that is a very small part of passing. On-by is merely a word. The actions of both passing parties are paramount to successful passing. In the event of a protest for failure to facilitate a pass, the actions, or lack of actions, may determine the course of penal action.

The skijorer being passed should slow down (stop skating) and move inline behind their dog and move to the non-pass side of the trail.

The skijorer being passed should stop poling and hold their poles behind, low, parallel to the trail, and away from the passing team.

The skijorer being passed should be prepared to reel in line and hold the dogs’ harness to prevent any contact or interference with a passing team.

The passing skijorer should move to the off-pass side and should pole on the off-pass side and exercise extreme caution when poling in close proximity to all teams being passed.

The passing skijorer may request you to stop or to control your dog, the skijorer being passed must comply with the request (control your dog means keep the teams apart even it fit means reel in and hold your dog by the collar or harness)

A passed team cannot repass for 2 minutes or ½ mile except by mutual agreement of both skijorers. (No leapfrogging)

NOTE: You will both lose far less time and create much less stress, by concentrating on and ensuring successful passes, than you will with any tangles or leap frog sessions.

Repass rule does not apply in “No Right of Way” or “No Mans Land” zones.

Skijorers must maintain a minimum distance of 20 feet between his/her dog(s) and the skijorer in front. (No tailgating).

Skijorers must always exhibit care, good judgment, good sportsmanship, and fairness whenever passing occurs.

Failure to facilitate an efficient pass will be grounds for a protest and consequences up to and including disqualification. (It is your responsibility to read, know, and follow the passing rules and etiquette)

Failure to control your dog (before, during, and after the event) is grounds for a protest and consequences up to and including disqualification.

All skijorers shall cooperate with others in order to have successful contact-free and interference-free passing.


Timing ends when the nose of the lead dog crosses the finish line. (exception is chip timing)

Keep the finish area free of congestion.(Do not stop and socialize at the finish line, others are coming in behind you and you can be cited for interference). You, your dog and your handlers should proceed to your car or a authorized pre-designated finishers area to care for your dog. (cool down, rest, praise, water, treats, massage inspect) Your dog will experience much less stress at the car than at the finish area).

Only race officials and race authorized persons should be in the immediate finish area. Spectators will be near the finish are and should be managed by crowd control measures.

Personal dog handlers are welcome at the finish area but must stay clear of all finishing team traffic. Handlers should be position so as not to distract or interfere with other teams finishing.

Obviously everyone (skijorers, handlers, spectators, etc) is prohibited from distracting any and all timing officials.

Skijorers and their dogs shall exit the finish area promptly. The handlers should assist in promptly clearing all teams out of the finish area (includes completely clearing the exit corridor). This is an interference issue. It also to remove your dog from the stress of the finish area and encourages participants to  administer prompt dog care and praise to their well deserving partner.

Skijorers and their handlers are encouraged to help others get to and from start and finish areas.

Upon finishing your heat, the skijorers’ concern is your dogs care. (check feet, massage, feed, water, etc)

Water or feeding of dogs shall only be done at skijorers’ respective vehicles or RGO approved and designated areas (this is both interference and an anti-doping issue).

Dogs shall not be brought back to the start or finish areas at any time.


Any protests shall be presented verbally to the Race Marshal immediately after the heat of the incident or infraction.

Any protests shall be followed up with a written report (preferably using Race Protest Form) to the Race Marshal with in 1 hour after the heat of the incident or infraction. Protest form is available online, should be available at race site (from the race marshal) If no protest form is available submit details in writing on available paper.

A protest jury meeting may be held to gather and assess information from parties involved, any witnesses, trail cameras and trail reports and if necessary impose penal measures.

OFFICIAL TIMES: Times are not official until any and all protests, incident reports, anti-doping results are addressed, investigated, and resolved.

Awards should not be presented until after times are declared "Official".


video from 2011 Arctic Fever race

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Video from sport class 4 dog sprints at Snow Bowl