Pulka is a winter sport popular in Scandinavia that involves a sled, dogs, and a skier. It requires cooperation between people and animals and can be used for recreation or moving supplies. Dogs of various breeds can be used, and the skier must contribute to the climb. Pulka is recognized as a sport by the International Association of Dog Sledding Sports and is most popular in Scandinavia.
Pulka is a type of winter sport popular in Scandinavia which has recently spread to other parts of the world. Pulka can be a lot of fun and requires a high level of cooperation between people and animals for success. It integrates dogs, a sled and a skier. Pulka can be performed with one or more dogs, depending on the amount of weight being pulled. In addition to being a competitive sport, pulka is also used by some winter adventurers to move supplies.
Pulka begins with the dog or dogs, which are placed in a harness attached to a small sled called a pulka. Commercial pulkas weigh about 16 pounds (7.5 kilograms) empty. In competition, the pulka is loaded with a set weight, which is approximately 40 pounds (20 kilograms) for male dogs and 33 pounds (15 kilograms) for females, who tend to be smaller and less capable of carrying loads heavy. When used for recreation, the pulka may be left unloaded or used for tools and supplies.
The skier attaches to the pulka using a strap. Technically, the skier is not being pulled by the dogs, even though the flat terrain offers an opportunity to rest. The skier must work with the dogs to be successful, contributing to the climbs rather than acting as dead weight. Pulka requires more coordination than traditional dog sledding, because in addition to managing the dogs, the skier also needs to stand upright and control their skis.
A wide variety of dogs are used for the pulka. There is no need to use heavy breeds like those used in dog sledding. Labradors, German shepherds, pointers and giant schnauzers are all popular dogs for pulka in addition to huskies and more traditional sled breeds. When selecting dogs, sportsmen look for obedient and loyal breeds that can work well with other dogs and humans.
Pulka is most popular in Scandinavia and not as well known in the United States, where dog sledding and skijoring are the most common winter sports with dogs. Pulka is recognized as a sport by the International Association of Dog Sledding Sports and competitions are also regulated by that organisation. In 1952, pulka was demonstrated at the Oslo Olympics, raising public awareness of the sport. In Scandinavia, regular pulka races are held at varying distances, usually as little as six miles (10 kilometres) but ranging up to 18 miles (30 kilometres), with race distances for men usually longer.