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MegC

USA
1321 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2003 :  12:21:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Many thanks to Kirsten Ballard for sending me a picture of her outrageously cool backcountry pulk made by Bernie Willis!

Edited by - MegC on 01/08/2003 12:23:24 PM

n/a

1193 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2003 :  2:48:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
O.K. Enlighten us. What is special about this. I'm new to skijoring and I've never really understood the concept of the pulk myself. Norwegian dog sled right? I just purchase a skijoring belt and line and someday when we get snow I'll try it. But why use a pulk instead of a sled? This looks like a quality peice of equipment but why is it better. Thanks.

May you all find the peace I've found in the wilderness.
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MegC

USA
1321 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2003 :  3:26:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Pulks allow you to both carry gear and ski with the dogs. Right now it's really hard to find pulk in the US... we're stuck having to carry any gear in a backpack, which throws balance off considerably if it's heavy and reduces how much one can carry. The other choice is making a pulk in the garage with your own three hands.

It CAN be done by attaching a regular sled between you and the dogs, but without a hand brake you're stuck having to stop and take off your skis to slow down, which is interesting if you suddenly go down a big hill or the dogs wind game of course. The long tails on the runners also require some coordination to keep from tripping yourself up (although I've done it successfully).

The picture of the Fjellpulken pulk higher up on the page I linked shows a hand brake assembly in detail. Basically it's a prong brake with a driving bow type handle you can ski up to and lean down on. Many other european models are racing pulks made out of fiberglass and without a brake.

For backcountry use, a small sled with 18" runner tails and a hand brake would be much more useful... bounce it off a tree and it would survive. In a pinch you could also load a dog or ride it like a regular sled.

For more about backcountry pulk design pros-and-cons, see Mushing mag Nov/Dec '98 on Iditasport extreme. Bill Merchant mentioned he would rather have a pulk like Kirstin's current setup that overusing the butt- brake as he was forced to do.

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Trevor Braun

Canada
86 Posts

Posted - 01/11/2003 :  1:25:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit Trevor Braun's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Any one have some real good closeup of pulk brakes? I would like to make one. One trip I did I had a piece of knotted rope hooked on to front of pulk and then clipped in at the back. I would then sit on the pulk and the knots would really dig in and the dogs had to pull down the hills. I had a huge load as it was a 10 day trip and it worked well.

Trevor braun
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Mike Callahan

USA
344 Posts

Posted - 01/12/2003 :  06:59:42 AM  Show Profile  Visit Mike Callahan's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Perhaps you should get in touch with Sara Vanderwood at Nooksack Supply. Last year she actually went to Norway and tried a little pulk racing. She was trying to generate some interest in pulk racing in the US. She mentioned a backcountry pulk that I may be interested in since therre are no pulk races within 11000 miles from here. THe norwegians love their pulks and really think that is where it's at. They were spittin mad when the IFSS allowed skijoring for the first time at the worlds in 2001 because they thought it would be the end of pulk racing.
Their pulks have a hoop that has bars attached to prevent the pulk from riding up on the dog. It seems well designed from the people who invented skis.

Go with dog.
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MegC

USA
1321 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2003 :  10:01:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Looks like Keith Conger had the same idea I did on a short runnered sprint sled for a pulk- see this latest Mushing mag for his first hand experience.

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David Lowry

USA
485 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2003 :  12:31:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I saw that too. I immediately dug out a '99 article by the Collins Twins on skiing with a Gee Pole. I need to try that. I have also seen a painting of a French Trapper snowshoeing behind a cariole, and JM mentioned the technique as well- where you grab onto a large loop at the end of a rope tied to the sled and 'ski' along behind. That probably wouldn't work too well with the cleated snowshoes that Prater invented. Need the old fashioned kind. "So many cats, so few recipes"

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MegC

USA
1321 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2003 :  12:51:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Such a small world- we're actually friends with Prater's son Eric, who talked me into contra dancing the night husband played second fiddle with the band at the grange hall.

If you've got something in mind for snowshoes, I might be able to get you hooked up- I think Eric's still got all the pipe benders at the farm and definately likes to tinker. Heck, maybe we can con him into building a metal sled/pulk for us.

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David Lowry

USA
485 Posts

Posted - 02/20/2003 :  1:30:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That is too cool! Prater's guidebooks astound me. Loooong tours in deep valleys. I'm a big fan of his work and I plan to follow some of his routes.

Hmmm, Contra? I did that once at a dry wedding. I prefer polka at the much wetter Wurst Fests and Chech Halls. Too much folk music in Boston Coffeehouses I 'spose.

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jake

USA
1513 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2003 :  11:14:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Meg
thanks for posting this, I am considering both the skijoring and cross country, soon as I learn how to ski :-(

It does seem like a great sport/activity and the more that I look at it the better it looks, I am looking more at the camping/rec run aspects of it, and a pulk makes it all much more doable. A 2-3 dog kennel sure beats a 30 dog kennel also.

If I do have another winter here then cross country skiing classes are for sure in order.The tv here is loaded with both heavy duty competition cross country sking but also all the non compitition aspects of it. But skijoring isnt covered as heavily here in Finland by the media, although some of the best trails in the world are here in the central and north parts.

Anyhow , thanks for the info, keep it coming,
its fascinating.
happy trails
jake
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jake

USA
1513 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2003 :  06:52:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In the FWIW department, the word pulk is from the name of the Lapp sledge that was originally drawn by reindeer, I have half a dozen books around here showing old ones from a hundred or more years ago, they also had sledges but the pulk looked like a boat, double ended and then evolved into the form most often seen today, they were often towed behind sledges or sleighs.

I think a 4 or 5ft model would be great for a weekend trek, probably need 3 dogs to haul it and a skier.

This is a sport with a lot of prospects.
jake

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jake

USA
1513 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2003 :  12:06:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
On pulks,
for US folks, a small sprint sled with the rear runners "bobbed" would probably work, but looking at a couple books here of old Lapi pulks shows 5 to 6 ft "canoes" with at first double ends and then later flat backs for a rider,, looking at the bottoms they usually had rounded botoms with a pair of flat strips for runners, so my guess is they ran these in fairly heavy snowfall areas, they look like a hybrid of a canoe and a tobagon.

I think with a simple frame it would be relatively easy to use ply strips, 3 to 4 inches wide and about 5ft long glued/screwed to "ribs" of ply, then a couple flat strips on the botom, you could then fair it out with some fiberglass on the bottom to stiffen it up a bit more, but I wouldnt get it too stiff. A 4 or 5 footer of this could carry a lot of gear/dogfood. I really dont like the idea of wearing a back pack while skiing. A slight backrest in it would allow a passenger to be carried, I dont think these would be too awfully hard to build, the pictures I have seen in the books show them to be pretty simple. It was the custom to put them on graves so there are a lot of photos in books of the older ones, at first when I saw them I thought they put their boats on their graves until I figured out the Lapi words for them. The resemblence to boats is very strong, both going through water, one liquid and the other frozen.

If I can find a url for a site showing any I will post it.
jake

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Just Askher

127 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2003 :  6:55:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If you had a digital camera pictures would be great. I have a BIG INTEREST IN these pulks and sleds for moving big loads. Thinking of tryingto build a Nansen sled- a large double ended sled used for going to the poles with.
Also very interested in info and closeup pictures of hand brakes as I would like to start producing good pulks in Canada.

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jake

USA
1513 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2003 :  11:19:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
After doing a bit of searching on the sdc equipment suppliers plus some net searches I came up with one NA supplier of pulks, one model, a 52" fiberglass one in california.

Seems there is a vacuum in polk makers. I hope to hear today from several folks here in scandinavia as to where they got their pulks from. But agin the ones I have seen photos of are fiberglass.

And most of them I cant picture using for a weekend campout, barely room for dog food and a sandwish let alone sleeping bag etc.
I think a minimum of a six footer is needed for a decent backcountry camper. The little 4' ones are probably nice for a sprint race or carrying water and snacks for an afternoon rec run, but not a whole lot else.

So, any pulk pics, suppliers etc this is a good thread to post them.
enjoy,
jake

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jake

USA
1513 Posts

Posted - 03/30/2003 :  12:41:41 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
There is a pretty good book on Lapp life and customs with excellent old black and white photos of pulks,sledges and tobaggons,

I dont know if you can get it through the 'interlibrary loan system' but its worth a try,

Titled " SUOMEN LAPPALAISET vuoteen 1945" by T I Itkonen

from Werner Soderstrom Osakeyhtio
Porvoo-Helsinki-Juva
Finland Suomi

ISBN #951-0-12479-6

Its slow going for me, my Finnish is minimal right now although I am studying, but the photos are a treasure trove for those interested, I am particularly interested in the Lapp traditional clothing also, the parkas etc.

On the pulkas, the bulk are of lapstrake construction, have seen ref to birch with pegging and a few nails and reindeer rawhide lashing. Also excellent phtos and sketches for the binding for the towlines. No brakes

I am looking for other books now and expect to find some when I go up to the Nord Musee in Pieterstadt next month. But also got a lady in the main library here in Turku looking for me. She found this one for me.

I am playing with an idea for a 'modified pulk', tobaggon and pulk of birch. Something to do in spare moments. The Sami pulks were much longer then anything I have seen in modern designs, most look 6'-7' long, but, were built to be drawn by reindeer, still looking for one drawn by dogs.
happy trails
jake

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jake

USA
1513 Posts

Posted - 03/30/2003 :  09:42:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi
Antti who often posts on teh race threads and lives in Oulu,Finland gave me this url on a Norwegian pulk mfg, they make serious equipment, including for polar expeditions,

http://www.fjellpulken.no/indexe.htm

nice looking equipment, bars etc for use with dogs I assume is extra. Will post whatever else I can find.

Went browsing in a huge 2ndhand place this afternoon, half a dozen pairs of skis, all looked like they had been through WWIII. Need to find a ski shop.

happy trails
jake
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