March Dog Tale of the Month – Cross-country Skiing at Wanoga Sno Park

from: Amber, Ruff Wear Social Media and Marketing Research Analyst

location: Wanoga Sno Park

There are two things that make Ruff Wear a particularly great place to work.  The first is two “field days” a year, in which each employee is given a paid day off work to recreate in the outdoors with their dog while testing out Ruff Wear gear.  The second is “Lunch and Learn” seminars—an hour long, hosted lunch seminar once a month presenting topics of importance to our company, such as the environment, the outdoors, nutrition…you name it!

It was at one of these Lunch and Learn seminars that we had a presenter from the DogPac (an off-leash access advocacy group) who spoke about cross-country skiing with his dog at Wanoga Sno Park in the Deschutes National Forest.  His stories about his cross-country adventures with his dog inspired the Marketing Team to embark on a tail-wagging snow day on skis.

Despite our lack of experience on cross-country skis, we anticipated a fall-free day due to our downhill skiing skills and the assistance of Greg, a ski instructor at Mt. Bachelor and seasoned Nordic skier.  I learned that was a bit of an overzealous assumption within the first five minutes of the trip when I fell while trying to grab for my runaway dog, Jack.  A QuickDraw™ leash attached to his WebMaster™ harness proved to be invaluable solution to maintaining control of the wolf, and the adventure continued.

Greg led the pack around the tracks, teaching us along the way.  The dogs must have sensed his competence on skis, because all three stayed close by his side, as if he had filled his ski pants with dog treats.  In fact, the dogs followed Greg so closely they kept stepping on his skis, which was probably the only way the rest of us managed to keep up with him!

Susan also seemed to have the hang of it.  She helped us rally, dress, and call the three dogs throughout the day.

Leanne brought along the oldest member of the pack, Sage, an overstuffed yellow lab.  Sage had a blast going along for the ride, and in true Lab fashion, immediately stuck his face in the snow and rolled around making snow dogs (the canine version of snow angels)—backpack and all!

Sage managed to stay out of Leanne’s away most the way, however I did not.  While racing down one of the declines, Leanne yelled “Left” and so I moved to the left, rather than letting Leanne go the left, causing a collision.

Despite the unanticipated learning curve, our cross-country ski day was fun, inspiring, beautiful, and a perfect way to spend a Friday.  Being given the opportunity to try out a new sport with the resources to do it and ski instructor at our fingertips keeps us active and willing to try new things in the outdoors.  It was a great, tail-wagging experience.