wow BORN TO RUN - a 2008 dvd release

From the "Outdoor Adventure Canada" Series

"Outdoor Adventure Canada" is a series of 26 programs celebrating Canada's outdoor heritage that were shot all across Canada. Programs for the series won an astonishing 80 international television awards, including 29 Gold & Silver medals, at leading American Film & Television Festivals.

All programs are available only from Goldi Productions Ltd

Show Me All 26 Programs in the Series
The Joy of Running Dogteams
Dogteams date back to the earliest times in Canada and played a major role in opening up remote parts of the country. Today enthusiastic Canadians are actively trying to keep that tradition alive with competitive dog sled racing (as shown in Minden, Ontario) and for expedition sledding (as shown in Quebec). (DVD Cover, left)


"What a refreshing concept for a television series!"
>- Sylvia Cademartori, Montreal, PQ

A dogteam at Dawson, Yukon in 1898 where French-Canadian dog owners were so numerous, that their shouted commands for their teams to "marche", entered the English language forever as "Mush" and "Mushers." So dogsled rides behind huge malamutes are a big yearly feature at Quebec's Winter Carnival (below).

Dogteams are a very old form of winter transportation in northern countries, developed by native people, and adopted by European explorers and trappers as the most efficient way to haul goods across snow-covered terrain. However, with the advent of cheap motorized transportation in the form of the snowmobile in the 1960s and 1970s, the use of sled dogs declined rapidly, and some breeds almost disappeared. Happily, many people have re-discovered the joy of working with dogteams in recent years, and the survival of these delightful animals has been assured. A dogteam at Dawson, Yukon in 1898 where French-Canadian dog owners were so numerous, that their shouted commands for their teams to "marche", entered the English language forever as "Mush" and "Mushers." So dogsled rides behind huge malamutes are a big yearly feature at Quebec's Winter Carnival..
In this program, we explore two different ways in which people share their lives with dogteams. The first group love to race, and they travel long distances every weekend to try their teams against others. The second group are those who prefer to go on wilderness expeditions with their teams, so they can enjoy the quiet of the winter woods, with only the sound of their dogs.
When most people think of sled dogs, they think of the handsome Siberian huskies bred for endurance and resistance to cold that run in long distance races, like the Ididarod. However, as you'll see in this program, most racing dogs, affectionately known as Alaskans, are bred for speed, not for looks. Whichever breed they are, they have at least two things in common: they are all born to run, and their owners dote on them.
Owners tell us about the tremendous amount of dedication and work that is involved in running dogteams. After all, these are not like a motorcycle or a car that you can just put in the garage and throw a cover over it. It's a year round commitment to look after the dogs, feed them, train them, keep them fit both physically and mentally. They also tell us that once it's in your blood, it's simply not a habit you can shake. Most of these families have been racing dogs for years.
At the annual Minden dog Derby, the largest dog race in Ontario, we meet mushers from all over eastern Canada and the United States. They introduce us to their dogs, which are mostly "Alaskan huskies", a motley looking mixture of Siberian husky and hound, with various other breeds such as collie, English Pointer, Labrador in varying proportions. As the owners tell us, they are bred for speed, not for what they look like.
These dogs are sprint racers. They run short races of from 4 to 8 miles at high speeds. The Minden race is a particularly difficult one, because the start and finish are on the main street, which is lined with distracting crowds. The dogs have to be trained to pass other teams coming from the opposite direction, without breaking stride.

André (left) does not like dog racing. He says his dogs may be slow but they are the most beautiful which is why he and his family drive Siberian huskies in a park far from the noise of civilization and where skidoos are banned (below).

Dogteams are especially popular in Québec, where sled dogs have played a major role in French Canada's history. When the early French colonists arrived in North America, they learned from First Nations people how to use dogs for winter transport in the northern forests. French Canadian coureurs de bois used sled dogs for transporting furs all over Canada in the winter, and dogteams were widely used in rural Quebec.

During the Klondike goldrush in 1898, many French Canadians went north and drove dogteams in the Yukon. That's where the word "musher" came from. The French Canadians used the command "marche", which became corrupted into the English "mush". Today, "musher" is the word used internationally for a dogteam driver.

Today, many people in Québec are once again raising dogteams, and are using them far more for expeditions and outings than for racing. Out of a total of over 600 teams in Quebec, only about 60 are for racing.
We join André Pilon, a Québec outdoor writer and broadcaster who is well-known among mushers for his book on sled dogs, for an expedition in the Reserve Faunique de St. Maurice in northern Quebec. It is the only park in Québec which is set aside entirely for mushers. There are 267 kilometres of groomed trails, on which snowmobiles are not allowed, and cabins every 15 km. along the trails where mushers can spend the night. André explains why he thinks that expeditions are the real future for dogteams, and tells us how the quiet pace of riding through the winter woods with his team makes him feel free of the city. The visuals are very appealing, with teams of handsome Siberian huskies pulling people on sleds through the beautiful winter scenery of northern Québec
André explains why he has chosen his Siberian huskies, and reflects on how the dogs are far more than just transportation to him. They are part of his life, part of his family. He has seen them born, he has raised them and trained them for a year before putting them in front of a sled. When you work with dogs, he tells us, it's not a machine, it's your friends you are collaborating with.


         - North American Outdoor Writers Film/Video Awards, Chicago, IL   
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