In the wake of the second winter storm of 2014, dog sleds are running in Windsor and Essex County, the southern most region of Canada.
"We don’t get the snow very often. When it’s here, we’re out. We get the sleds out and the dogs love it," musher Lori Lee said. "We hit the trails wherever we can."
She and several others are running dogs at Point Pelee, Ojibway Park and the Chrysler Canada Greenway.
Windsor received 32.2 cm of snow the first two days of January. An estimated additional 19 cm fell on the weekend.
"It’s not usual," Lee said of the snowfall. "We take advantage of it when we can.
"There’s not enough of it for my liking."
To find enough snow for a training run in late December, Lee had to travel to Bancroft, 250 km northeast of Toronto.
"We can’t count on snow for planning a race [here] because it has to be done so far in advance," Lee said.
Normally, Lee and fellow dog owners are relegated to "dryland mushing." They use bikes or three-wheeled "sleds" towed by dogs.
In November, the Sleddog Sports Association of Southwestern Ontario hosted a dryland urban mushing race in Essex County. The purse for all classes combined was over $6,000.
Lee said urban mushing can be done by anyone — and any breed of dog — in Windsor-Essex.
"You don’t have to own a team to do this," she said. "It's not a competition, it's just for fun."
Lee said some owners share dogs and sleds if one person doesn't have enough to make a team.
Julie King-Bray races her golden Labrador retriever, Bella.
"We started mushing with her when we met a bunch of huskies with friends at the dog park," King-Bray said. "She loves it and we keep doing it for her.
"I’m not a fan of the cold. But, Bella loves it. That’s why I do it."