No one appreciates a snowshoe run more than your canine friend |

No one appreciates a snowshoe run more than your canine friend

Peter Fain
Running on Snow
Submitted to swright@sierrasun.comAuthor Peter Fain enjoys a snowshoe run with his dog Slink in the Russell Valley.

I received so many positive comments after my summertime story about trail running with dogs, I thought a follow-up in the snow is only appropriate. Besides, the only one who will appreciate a good, hard snowshoe more than you is your dog.

There are a few extra precautions I take when taking my pack out for a run. Will there be a flowing stream, snowmobile traffic (or general trail usage traffic), parking, avalanche conditions? My beasts are weathered from living up here, so they donand#8217;t get booties, but if your dog isnand#8217;t used to it, they are a valuable investment.

One trail I enjoy with the dogs is up Negro Canyon. The parking is off the main road enough and the trail options are somewhat numerous. When heading in there is usually a snowshoe-packed trail off the right side of the canyon, somewhat following the Donner Rim Trail access point. Otherwise the middle will be up a well-used snowmobile road.

If youand#8217;re there early enough you can beat the snowmobilers and get up there trail. It makes for good uphill running. Water access is only near the start, so carry something for your dogs. They will eat snow, but they canand#8217;t eat nearly enough if youand#8217;re getting a workout. Try it, youand#8217;ll see. Once youand#8217;re about a half mile up the canyon, avalanche danger can exist, so know your conditions.

Thatand#8217;s just one trail I enjoy. Another is Castle Peak to the Peter Grub Hut. This popular trail has little to no water until you get to the hut, and even there the water runoff could be buried. You wonand#8217;t have issues with snowmobiles here, but you will see many people and many other dogs. To the hut and back is just shy of a 10K (and mostly run-able).

Parking can be a pain. Youand#8217;ll need a Sno-Park permit and youand#8217;ll have to walk along the road about a quarter-mile to the trail head. Make sure your dogs are leashed here because there will be significant traffic heading to Boreal.

A favorite go-to for the dogs is Coldstream Canyon. After the first half-mile or so you will be alongside the creek, so there is plenty of water. Parking is ample and the snowmobile traffic is minimal.

Your dogsand#8217; safety is your priority when youand#8217;re out in the woods. They can easily fall in a tree well if youand#8217;re not paying attention or even through ice into a creek. Keep them close, keep a leash with you if theyand#8217;re not already on it, and watch out for snowmobiles. My dog chases them, so I avoid them at all cost. I used to think I could run fast in the snow with snowshoes and#8212; that was, until Sonny took off after a snowmobile.

and#8212; Peter Fain is a Truckee resident and 2009 National Snowshoe Champion. He may be contacted at

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