6 Types of Urban Mushers You’ll Meet on the Trails
As a seasoned skijorer, Kevin Roberts has seen all kinds of people on the snow-laden trails. If you’re taking up the sport, you’ll get a kick out of these sledding stereotypes!
And since I’ve been involved in the sport for many years, I’ve come up with a definitive – and comical – list of all the types of people you’ll meet out on the trails.
Do It Yourself-er
A Do It Yourself-er (DIYer) with a kicksled has never met a roll of duct tape he/she didn’t love. These are the most common snow-trail blazers you’re most likely to come across if you participate in the sport. They have room in the garage and access to some pretty fun power tools. The DIYer has spent some time putting together sled they use, and you can spot it a mile away. Plus, they love to talk about their kick-ass sled modifications (and rightly so), so take notes!
Bonus Tip: The DIYer is someone you want to see on the trail. No matter if you’re dealing with a broken ski, a bent sled, or a busted headlamp, they always have duct tape to fix the problem.
Dressed for Success
There’s popular saying: “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” The same applies to the mushing world.
From helmet top to ski tip, these skijorers pride themselves on outfitting themselves in top-name branded gear. Whether they’re recreational racers or big time pros, the Dressed for Success crowd wears all the right gear proudly. These are good people to talk shop with – if you’re planning a purchase, these peeps are on point with the latest brands and trends that mushers should know about.
You can tell a Grizzled Veteran by the way he stands. After spending so many years hunched over putting on dog booties, they can’t stand up straight anymore (well, not without some serious cracking noises).
The Grizzled Veteran can be further recognized by missing body parts. Expect a few less teeth than the average person, and you may be in for a treat if he’s missing finger tips or toes from frostbite as well.
The Grizzled Veteran boasts hard won battle scars and the awesome stories to go along with them. Be forewarned – be careful when comparing scars. Some of them are located WAY below the parka line… if you catch my drift. But always listen to their advice, because they’ve seen it all and lived to tell the tale.
There’s a special place in my heart for GREAT Grandmas! These frisky fitness fanatics are out on the trails, showing us kids how it’s done. Now that they’ve retired, GREAT Grandmas have the time and energy to get out there and be active. After years of managing a household, raising kids, and holding down a career, these ladies of leisure channel all that energy and come out kicking. Be warned if you share the trail with one of these women, you’ll be eating their snow dust.
The Lone Wolf is an elusive one. A solitary creature, he prefers the company of his dogs to that of other people. Leaving little of a social media trail, this loner is only spotted by the tracks he leaves in the forest. The Lone Wolf is friendly when approached, but will avoid long conversations. He lives to run dogs, and is always up to date on the best trail conditions. Lone Wolves have a deep connection with their dogs, and a great knowledge of their sport. If you are lucky enough to befriend a lone wolf, their advice is more valuable than gold.
Now this is a fun group! Party Animals hit the trails in groups as a social activity. Their dogs all know each other and run happily as one big pack. Party Animals are a loyal and friendly bunch. Their presence can easily be identified by laughter and a strong presence on social media. Party Animals are always happy to add more teams to their pack – they’re great for getting you motivated on the trails. Because they are such a happy bunch, members often include Great Grandmas and Grizzled Veterans. If you can run with the Party Animals, you’ll have friends for life!
No matter who you meet out there on the trails, they are all there for the same reason. They love their dogs, they love this sport, and they are always happy to share their passion with a newcomer. Who knows – you may even be recruited into one of these groups!