During the Hakadal Mushing Seminar this September, Hundekjoring.no had the opportunity to try out the Norwegian Made Troll Cart. For those of you who have never seen a Troll Cart, it has shocks on each of its four 10″ ATV wheels, a seat for a passenger, as well as putting the driver between the front a back wheels. The weight is then evenly distributed between the front and back wheels, making the front of the cart less bouncy than some traditional carts. We contacted Troll Mushing, and two mushers who train using the newest model, for more information about the cart.
By: Barry Siragusa. Photo: www.troll-hundefor.no
The Troll Cart is one of Norways most popular dog training carts. There are of course other carts on the market here; everything from homemade wheelbarrow-wheeled carts to the Dyck Carts that are also popular. However, in Norway, Troll Cart has become ubiquitous with «cart training with a BIG team».
Since the first Troll Cart was sold in Norway, Troll has worked hard to improve their design. The color is the same (bright yellow), but the driver is now standing solidly towards the middle, between the front and back wheels, and the suspension system has become good enough to give even the most sore-kneed musher hours and miles of comfortable cart training. Hundekjoring.no tested hopping up and down «checking the suspension» thouroughly and with great zeal, at the Hakadal Mushing Seminar. The passenger seat is made of hard plastic and the steel plate welded under the seat make the risk of sudden «surprises» low. It appears that the development of the Troll Cart has been deliberate and thought out.
During the Hakadal Seminar we spoke with Rune Olesen, the brain behind the Troll Cart, about his cart and according to Rune the idea behind the cart was to create a Cart that could be used as an alternative to training with a motorized vehicle on gravel roads. There are many places in Norway where motorised transport is not allowed. The Troll Cart was created as a vehicle for training in these areas, which are among Norways most breathtaking and beautiful.
According to Olesen and the Troll Website, the Troll Cart has the following standard equipment:
-ATV tires on steel rims. Hydraulic brakes on all four wheels. Two seperate braking systems for extra security and the possibility to switch between the systems to avoid overheating when running down hill and both brake handles have a locked position that acts as a parking brake. The cart also has, Independent suspension on all four wheels, removable seat for a passenger or equipment storage, and a welded gangline attachment point.
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We called Troll Mushing this past week to get an update on the cart and a little more information from Roar Wolden, owner of Troll Mushing.
-Yes, the cart has become very good. Many people use the Cart instead of ATV’s now and we like that. It shows that we are developing in the right direction. Said Wolden.
We asked if it really was possible to drive the cart offroad as the advertising claims.
Have you seen the Youtube video? Asked Wolden.
For those mushers out there who train endless hours with an ATV, freezing our way through fall training, the video is like something out of a dream. However, reality and youtube often differ, so we asked two mushers who have used the Troll Cart from the beginning; Nina Skramstad and Didrik Sand, to talk about the Troll Cart from a mushers perspective.
Skramstad and Sand train with the Troll Cart in addition to their ATV to variate the training, and to give the dogs a break from the weight and noise of the ATV.
We asked Nina Skramstad what she thought of the Troll Cart and what she uses it for. We were specifically interested in how many dogs she runs on the Cart when training alone.
— We use the Cart a lot: Dryand racing, dryland training, sponsor meetings, long trips with the young dogs to give them a break from the heavy Polaris ATV, speed games/interval training with 8 dog teams, harness breaking puppies and training leaders on directional commands. Says Skramstad.
–I really like the Cart because it is quite solid. Our model has bigger tires so that it has better clearence off the ground and we can run offroad. I like having the possibility to have a passenger, (my mother, who is 70 years old, drove a 14 dog team with Didrik as a passenger a few weeks ago!) and it is a quiet break from the Polaris. Skramstad adds.
As to the question of how many dogs she would run on the Cart training alone, she answers:
— I like to run 8-10 dog teams with the Troll Cart so that I have full control and can run «where I want to». Didrik is comfortable running 14 dogs, but adds some extra weight.
We chatted also with Didrik Sand, and asked him if he needed to do anything special to run such a big team on the Troll Cart.
– I put a 40 liter (10 gallon) water container over the front axle. That maintains extra weight on the wheels when I set the parking brake when I stop. Says Didrik.
-Otherwise I turn the wheels towards the left or right when I stop. It’s not a problem, but I never walk backwards from the team when I stop. It’s the same rule as with a sled. I always tie off the Cart when I start. I am super satisfied with the Troll Cart and it is a good variation from ATV training.
For more info on Troll Cart’s click her.
For more info on Nina and Didrik click her.