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Gear: RuffWear Omnijore Joring System
Mushers, let the fun begin, and sled dogs, start your panting! This is a fun way to get your high-energy pup some serious exercise—assuming that you have strong dog and you are not too big (check with your vet if you’re not sure). This system comes with a harness for the four-legged friend and one for the two-legged friend, as well as a long bungee towline and a storage sack for all these items. The dog helps pull you along on your skis, which can really tire them out (a good thing if you have my German shorthaired pointer’s energy). It’s fun to get pulled along, especially on the downhills.
The dog harness comes in three sizes based on the girth of the dog’s chest. I found it slightly difficult to get the harness on my dog, but the human harness is very simple to put on, and it’s quite comfy. The human harness has two zippered pockets, a water bottle holder, and detachable leg straps. Unfortunately, there is nowhere to store the leash (which is quite long) if you want to quit ’joring for the day, but aren’t quite home yet. You could roll it up and stuff it in the water bottle holder, as long as you’re not already carrying a bottle there.
One nice feature of the system is the quick-release buckle that the towline fastens to, allowing the musher to avoid being pulled through a lattice of tree branches when Lassie runs off into the woods (SQUIRREL!!!). Though the strap is red and obvious, I suggest practicing grabbing it in non-emergent situations, so you don’t have to think when something arises. Overall, with this system, a fun time was had by all, furry and not furry alike. You can use it skateboarding and rollerblading too.
$149.95; Onion River Sports, Montpelier; Eastern Mountain Sports, Rutland; Handsome Hound, Bennington
Gear: Granite Gear Mush Dog Booties
These boots need not necessarily be used for mushing. The unique property of this canine footwear is that the bottom features skins—made of the same nylon used in Genuine Guide Gear (G3) climbing skins—so your pet can have additional traction, just like you. The boots “mimic the natural texture of a dog’s paw,” according to Granite Gear. They are shaped very similarly to human boots, complete with tongue. The Velcro fastening system is not quite burly enough to stay put on a very rowdy dog’s foot. This seems to be a common flaw present in all dog booties that I’ve tried. Still, this brand certainly stays on just as well as any, and the traction did seem to help in icy conditions.
MSRP $24.95 for a set of two; Outdoor Gear Exchange, Burlington; International Mountain Equipment, North Conway, N.H.; Ragged Mountain, Intervale, N.H.
Beer: Harpoon Leviathan Imperial IPA
Upon pouring this brew into a pint glass, I was treated to a lovely electric-orange color and a really nice inch of foam that lasted well after the initial pour. Pine and grapefruit, backed by just a little bit of a dank bud scent, wash over the nose. The flavor is not much different, but that is not a bad thing at all. The liquid feels like silk on the tongue, and the taste is quite bitter, but not unpleasantly so (and that’s an IIPA for you). The lingering feel and flavor at the finish was something that I wished wouldn’t end. This is a really nice beer—at least four of five stars in my book. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Try it on draft at the brewery in Windsor, or in bottles.