Ruff challenges ahead! Lindsey Vonn is hosting a new dog competition series, The Pack — and she’s bringing her “diva” pup Lucy along for the ride.
The Amazon Prime series rounds up household dogs and their owners as they compete in games while traveling the world. The new show took nearly eight weeks to film in nine different countries.
“I’ve obviously traveled a lot skiing, but most of these places have nothing to do with skiing so I was able to actually travel and be with Lucy and go to places other than mountain towns,” Vonn, 36, exclusively told Us Weekly. “It was a lot, but it was kind of a nice route. We kind of were able to fly and then drive and went to Central Europe for most of it. It was pretty easy to travel. They made everything pretty smooth with Lucy and for all the other dogs as well.”
The furry contestants had a “three-month orientation in Los Angeles” before filming began. “None of them have been trained,” Vonn explained. “So they kind of got adjusted to all of the different skills that they needed. [They’re] your normal house pet. These dogs turned out to be able to achieve these crazy feats. So it’s really interesting because I think we underestimate our dogs all the time.”
The dogs compete in a variety of obstacles on The Pack, including scent, fetching, tugging and balance training. “Pretty much anything you can think of we did it. We went zip-lining, we repelled down a waterfall. Some crazy stuff. But they always had dog safety on hand. That, plus all of these people taking care of the dogs. We felt very safe,” the Olympic gold medalist told Us. “But for me it was an incredible adventure because Lucy and I got to test all the challenges beforehand. I loved it. So did Lucy, to be honest.”
Indeed, Lucy — the athlete’s 4-year-old Cavalier King Charles — was a pro on set. “She’s used to traveling because I actually got her when I was still racing. So she traveled with me on that circuit for about two years. She has two passports,” Vonn added, laughing. “She’s got more miles than I do. She’s been to Korea and Chile and Norway, Sweden, Canada. She’s been pretty much everywhere. So for her this was a walk in the park. She had no problems with it whatsoever. She’s really become quite the diva.”
For Vonn, hosting was a new adventure to take on after nearly a year since her retirement. “It definitely feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve raced. It’s kind of a weird feeling, but it’s been really exciting to try new things and to have new challenges,” she told Us. “I feel like I’m still trying to get my bearings here in this second chapter of my life, but I really enjoy it. And I also never sit still so I feel like even though we’ve had this pandemic I’ve been able to explore new things and be able to start new business ventures. … I feel like I have a lot going on and this is a really exciting time. So I’m just trying to live in the moment and take it all in.”
Mitra Najibeh Yosri, who competed alongside her dog Bozely, loved having Vonn as the host. “We all felt really grateful to have a host not only be so great at what she does, but also so incredibly cool and down to earth. She has had such a successful and amazing career as a professional skier so to see her go from that setting and so naturally become the head of this whole thing was really cool,” she told Us. “And we all just adored her and her dog Lucy.”
Joining the show was a no-brainer for Vonn. “The dogs were pretty much the selling point for me,” she noted. “For me, filming was obviously kind of similar to competition because you have to perform in the moment on the spot. While it’s still a filmed show it’s basically live when I’m talking to the cast because of the competition and everything is right then in the moment. So it’s very exciting and a lot of adrenaline. And the competition itself was incredibly challenging. I was surprised by the way the dogs handled it. They were calm in the face of different challenges as far as where they were and how many people were watching them. I know that my dogs would not have been able to succeed at most of these tasks when we’re in private let alone in front of a lot of people. I have to hand it to the owners and their dogs. They were truly amazing. It was cool to watch them not only accomplish these things but grow. They got better and better as the show went on.”
And bonus: The Pack also has a charity component that Vonn was happy to get behind. Amazon Prime gave away $250,000 worth of supplies and food and infrastructure support throughout all of the countries they visited. The winner also gets $250,000 to give away to the charity of their choice in addition to $500,000.
“It was really impactful. I think for me that was the best part of the show. I think we really had a substantial impact on dogs around the world. It’s not just a competition show,” Vonn said. “I think it’s pretty incredible.”
She added: “If you don’t love dogs I hope you love them after the show. I hope that people adopt dogs after this and I also just hope that people find a little bit of joy with it. I know things are tough right now and we can’t travel. This is a really happy, uplifting show that really kind of lets you travel the world while being in your living room. It has a lot of slow mo video of dogs running and I think that will cheer pretty much anyone up.”
As for a season 2? “I definitely hope so,” Vonn told Us. “I for one would love to see it. So fingers crossed!”