There are going to be 5 basic types of trails that you will run into out there.
Groomed Skate Ski Trails
By far the best trail to find if your skijoring technique involves skating behind the dog. These trails are wide, and smooth. Groomed to look like corduroy, your dogs paws will do just as much damage as your poles to the trail. A great choice if you have permission to use them!
In Winnipeg, various skijorers, led by our fearless leader Susie, have worked together to get the permits required to run on groomed skate ski trails. The trails are located in Bird's Hill Park.
With any shared trail always work to avoid tension tension. Be polite, pick up after your dog, and go with the flow of traffic.
Classic Ski Trails
Classic ski trails look like 2, or 4 lines running through the woods. The lines, or grooves are for the skis to track in, so the skiers can get a good kick and glide. These are unacceptable skijor trails, and should be avoided.
The potential damage your dog will do to the trail is not only unfair to the people who want to ski it, but also to the groomers who have spent a lot of time getting it into good shape.
As a further note, your dog will likely run in the groomed tracks, which will throw off their gait, and make skijoring that much less fun.
Another passable option! Look for snowmobile trails along a river, or next to a wooded section. The idea being, you need room to get off the trail QUICKLY should a snowmobile come down towards you. We don't skijor on any official snowmobile trails, but rather use the tracks made by snow machines along rivers. The tracks are often pushed down enough that there is no break through for the dogs, and some are wide enough to skate ski in.
Another great option for skijoring is service roads through campgrounds, or near parks. They often don't have any salt or sand down, so they are safe for your skis! If the roads have been plowed lightly, they are good to go! Just be careful of workers or machines operating in the area.
Another excellent choice. Some walking paths though parks and wooded areas, are plowed, but not salted or sanded. Which make for a perfect spot to skijor! A tip would be avoid the area during peak times, and attach a bell to your dog, or yourself. To give people walking plenty of warning you are coming. Expect to run into lose dogs on some of these walks, always remain friendly, and explain your dogs are working, this isn't play time.