The new Sled Dogs Snowskates 2016/17 range
This 2016/17 season sees the introduction of an exciting new look for Sled Dogs Snowskates, with the models that make up the core product range now boasting the names of hardy Norwegian dog breeds. We catch up with owner and co-creator, Tommy E. G. Syversen, aka ‘Alpha Dog’, to find out a little bit more about the inspiration and backstory behind this latest development.
SD: Hi Tommy, first of all I think many of our readers would like to know if this new range totally replaces the previous models?
TS: Hello! First I want to reassure everyone that this new range keeps all the features that we and our Sled Dogs Family love so we haven’t done anything crazy here! We leave the crazy stuff to the pro-riders! Of course, most seasons we introduce new styling and important developments anyway. The K9 series in particular is in its own special category regarding continual evolution so you can certainly see loads of new innovations on the new K9 Rabid for 2016/17.
SD: So – physically – the typical kind of modifications and tuning you’d expect for a new season, then… but what about the new names?
TS: That’s it: so the new names are about acknowledging how far Sled Dogs has come in the development of these models over the past few years – it’s been a long journey from concept to reality but it’s even more than that: the different ‘Dogs have really started to take on their own different characters and we wanted to do that justice by giving them some proper Norwegian dog names!
SD: Awesome! So these are real Norwegian dog breeds? Can you tell us more about them?
TS: They are 100% genuine, proud-to-be Norwegian pedigrees! Like all Norwegians I’m proud of our heritage, our winter sports culture, and our tradition for no-nonsense quality. In fact these qualities are essential to everything we do here at Sled Dogs. You’ll be pleased to hear that these Norwegian dog breeds: The Halden, the Lunde, and the Hygen are suitably tough, reliable working dogs specially adapted to the demanding Norwegian outdoor environment – so perfect for describing the ‘personalities’ of our Sled Dogs Snowskates.
SD: Can you ‘walk us through’ (hehe) the different breeds?
TS: Good one… So: The Halden is a scent dog named after its original home in the South of Norway between Oslo (the Capital) and the Swedish border. The Halden is a very hardy dog with dense fur and great health but it’s also known for being a very friendly, family dog and its good temperament and open nature mean that the breed is also very easy to train. So you can see why we chose this breed to represent our entry-level, all-round model: it’s practical, friendly, and great for beginners.
SD: And then you chose the Lunde for the women’s model – any special reason there?
TS: That’s right. I should clarify here that every one of the models in the range is used by female professional riders so it’s not that ‘we only have one model for women’! We have this particular model purely because we had a lot of women ask us for extra insulation and padding, as well as an alternative colour scheme more in line with some of the women’s ski apparel you see. As for the Lundehund, as it’s known, we chose it for this model because of its distinct pedigree – it goes back to at least before the last ice age and was used by the Vikings – and its luxuriant, dual-layer coat. It’s also known for it’s extraordinary agility – enabled by its six fully-jointed toes and a uniquely flexible shoulder joint. Actually the Lunde has become quite a popular breed internationally over the last few years. It’s sort of half-tough, half-soft with kind of the look of a cute little wolf. It’s an intelligent and playful breed – It’s quite hard not to like the Lunde!
SD: Wow! A real piece of living Norwegian history, by the sound of it.
TS: Definitely! I’m a dog owner myself and they are like royalty in their own way – you do sometimes wonder who’s boss! Talking of boss-types, the Hygenhund is definitely that. The Hygen is bred for arctic endurance and if you check out a picture of this dog you’ll see it has that poised, ready-to-go streamlined look with alert eyes, a long, muscular neck and fast, powerful legs that can carry it for days at speed across the snow. It’s a tough, reliable dog with an energetic and free-spirited temperament. With it’s sleek look, speed, and reliability, the Hygen was a natural choice for our upper-range model which – likewise – is built for speed and reliability.
SD: We noticed that the K9 is still the K9 – no plans to change the name?
TS: The K9 is in its own special category – up there at the top, international competition level and actually the K9 name is perfectly suited because it’s taken from the ‘K9’ élite dog units found in the police and military around the world. It’s a numeronym – that is, you pronounce the letter ‘K’ and the number ‘9’ to make ‘canine’ – the scientific term for ‘dog’ from the Latin canis. If it all sounds a bit technical, that’s fine because the Sled Dogs K9 is absolutely our most technical model! The élite dog units are based on that unique historical partnership between human and dog, with the addition of special training, tools, and tactics that enable these dogs and their handlers to perform in the most technically demanding, hostile situations, frequently in inhospitable environments. It’s this innate symbiosis between human and dog, coupled with extreme performance and technical innovation, that defines our K9 range. It’s where natural instinct meets precision engineering and where passion meets discipline. We won’t be changing the K9 name anytime soon!
SD: Great stuff. When can we get our hands on the new models?
TS: Right on! This is all for the 2016/2017 season so the Halden, Lunde, Hygen, and the new K9 Rabid will all be available very, very soon! Keep checking the website and your local distributor because they are arriving any day now!