Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Pros

Young Jack & Rudy's first season with over 1200 miles skijoring (1202.1 miles as of this morning). Woo Hoo!
The flying kids surprising me and pulling out a 1200 mile season!
I expected 1000 miles from the kids this season, I entertained thoughts of 1100, but I never thought we'd surpass 1200! Keep in mind this is Jack & Rudy's FIRST season skijoring without training wheels (i.e., we held them back for training and growth in the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 seasons). Wow, these youngsters have grown into quite the professionals!!!

We returned to the same groomed track as yesterday near Walton Peak at Rabbit Ears Pass. We figured the trail could not deteriorate too much in 24 hours and we got to the trail early in the morning. What did we find? PERFECT (especially given that it is May 27th)!

We started the day doing a short & fast lap with elder Zorro. Catching air with the threesome:
Whee - the triple hover huskies.
Look closely at the shadows to see that all 12 feet are off the ground in unison!
As usual, all smiles as we completed the initial leg with Zorro to then drop him off with Nancy:
All smiles, all power! Wheeee!
After dropping Zorro, the kids and I went out for an extended run with the goal of surpassing 1200 miles for the season. The groomed trail from yesterday was still in excellent condition; but we could not leave the set trail as the conditions "off trail" were too bumpy to ski safely (for ME especially). So, I was wondering how I was going to convince Jack & Rudy to repeat the same trail multiple times. Well, all it took was a little flirting to keep them entertained.

We encountered a handful of other kindred spirits doing laps on this same perfect trail. There were about 8 people doing laps with us on the same trail. Few enough people to keep our social distance but enough people for Jack & Rudy to have a ball play "chase, follow & pass" with all the other skiers :)
Flying along as we flirt with and entertain an oncoming skier.
But, here is the most impressive story from the morning. One of the other skiers we encountered was wearing a "U.S. Ski Team" jacket. As I watched this guy skate ski, I said to myself, "Wow! He is GOOD! That jacket is real!" Seriously, this guy flew over the trails with absolute perfect and effortless looking strides. He looked just like what you watch in the Winter Olympics!

Now, here's the real impressive part. We got behind this pro for 4 laps on the trail (out, back, out and back). Whenever the trail was flat, Jack & Rudy would match his pace. Whenever the trail had an uphill grade, Jack & Rudy would close the gap on the pro!!! Whenever we hit a downhill dip, he would open up space between us as downhill skis are faster than dogs can run. But, with the flats & uphills mixed in, we kept pace with a member of the U.S. Ski Team for 4 laps! He even looked back at us a few times (on the uphills) and smiled and shook his head in disbelief that he could not shake us. He was lapping all the other people on the trail repeatedly while Jack & Rudy simple kept pace. Wow, these kids are impressive!
Uphill grade so we are closing the gap on the U.S. Ski Team pro in front of us!!!!
Now on to today's video highlight. We have a fun "combo video" for your viewing pleasure today. Come along as we start the clip with Zorro as the team tows me to the finish of Zorro's leg of the outing. Then the video transitions to fast Jack & Rudy propelling me along the beautiful terrain as we also come upon a skier to "on by" in the oncoming direction.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Besides showing they are professional athletes this morning, Jack & Rudy had other talents to showcase:
Deer prints in the trail (look next to my right ski for one of the prints).
"Smells DELICIOUS!" states print inspecting Rudy.
"We roll in deer prints, right?" demonstrates goofy and always rolling Jack :)
Finally, reconnecting with elder Zorro to dish out the 'end of run' treats to all my hard working partners:
"Happy and READY!" says the focused trio.
Quite an impressive day from Jack & Rudy as they showcased their professional endurance skills as we flew on by 1200 miles for the season: 8.9 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 175 days on the trails covering 1202.1 miles with 110,700 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Wow

Look what we found early this May 26th - a GROOMED TRACK near Walton Peak atop Rabbit Ears Pass! Wow!
Yes - that is a freshly groomed trail on May 26th! Wow!!!!
How did this groomed surprise happen? Well, the snowmobile trails on Rabbit Ears are groomed by the local snowmobile club, Routt Powder Riders, of which we are members. Now, technically the snowmobile season is over so the official trail grooming has ended. But, the actual snowcat groomer is still parked atop the pass as more snow has to melt before they can load the groomer onto a flatbed to be transported to its summer home. Well, it is healthy for a groomer to be run now and then. So, as a result, the groomer is taken out unannounced occasionally until the flatbed arrives. As I said, the grooming is not announced at this time of year as you do not want to draw crowds of 100s or 1000s onto the pass with little & fragile amount of snow left (plus this would violate COVID-19 protocols this year). So, if you are lucky, you happen upon the pass on a day when they took the groomer out for some exercise. As you see in the photo above, today was one such magical day when we happened upon the trails after the groomer had been out! Wow - what a treat!!!

What did this magic groom enable? Well, young Jack & Rudy ran the longest skijor of their careers this morning: 11.7 miles. If you told me Jack & Rudy's longest run of the year would come on May 26th, I would have snorted and asked what you'd been smoking :)  But, today it happened. Amazing!

Did we really have 11.7 miles of groomed terrain? Well, no, the groomer had been out for a few miles, but not 12. But, what happened when the groomed track ended? Well, we found a solo snowmobile track to continue following for miles and miles and miles. This was also a product of Routt Powder Riders as they had been out on the pass yesterday collecting trailmarkers as the official end of snowmobiling at Rabbit Ears this season. So, this solo snowmobile had gone on for miles yesterday collecting markers and giving us a wonderful packed track to follow as well!
Not as nice as the perfect & wide groomie zoomie above, but still a comfortable
and welcome snowmobile track to follow for miles and miles!
How much more entertaining could the morning have become? Well, how about some fresh smelling bear tracks to inspect?
Jack & Rudy's noses in bear tracks as you see another huge bear footprint to
the left of Rudy's left foot. Big!
Not to fear, though, we were in a vast meadow when we encountered the bear tracks. So, I could see all around us and verify there was no bear in sight. But, still fun for the kids to sniff.

Anyway, back to the groomie zoomie. If you are part of the "grooming team", then of course you know when the groomer has been taken out for some exercise. There was a group of about 6 who were "in the know" and enjoying the groomed track they had built this morning. We encountered them, one by one, as we cruised around the perfect terrain:
Passing by and entertaining one of the recipients of this morning's
perfect trail!
Finally, we came upon 4 of the skiers meeting to run the trail together. Jack & Rudy had a blast following this group for a few miles. We would give them a big headstart and then run and catch them from behind. Once we got close, we'd pause, give another headstart and repeat the fun follow and chase :)
There's four of our kindred spirits out this morning.
"Here we come!" demonstrate fast following Jack & Rudy.
Today's video highlight is one of our fun "follow & chase" moments. Come along as we have given the group ahead of us a headstart and are running fast to close the gap on them in front of us. These guys were VERY talented skate skiers. The video demonstrates just how (more) impressive Jack & Rudy are at running the groomed terrain!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Almost done with the incredible May 26th outing for Jack & Rudy and time add elder Zorro on to the team for a short finish to enjoy the groomie zoomie. Here we come, wheeee!
All smiles as we fly by Nancy with super happy Zorro leading the way!
"Hi mom, bye mom!" as we fly on by and continue the fast & final lap of the morning:
Flying on by we go. Zoom!
What an incredible May 26th. Finding the perfect "exercise the groomer" track atop Rabbit Ears, finding perfect snowmobile track to continue far past the groomed track, sniffing a delicious set of bear tracks and putting smiles on our faces to end the day on the perfect track with Zorro: 11.7 miles traveled with 1100 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH!!!!

2019/2020 Season to Date: 174 days on the trails covering 1193.2 miles with 109,900 feet of elevation climbed.

Look at that - 1193.2 miles for the season. I did not think we had a chance of hitting 1200 given the recent warm temperatures. But, here we are at 1193.2 with a real chance of surpassing 1200 tomorrow. Stay Tuned!!!!

Monday, May 25, 2020

May POW

What an incredible POW, POW, Powder Day atop Vail Pass this May 25th! Woo Hoo!
"What a GREAT May 25th!" states ecstatic Zorro.
"Oh my - fresh snow as FAR as the eye can see!" adds impressed Jack & Rudy.
We got a wonderful late May dump of snow overnight and knew the snow would be the best the higher up in elevation we could get. The plan? Head to Vail Pass to enjoy an amazing morning of late May powder!

We started the morning doing a short "out & back" with elder Zorro - laying fresh tracks on the way up and then riding in the tracks we set on the way back. The trail was a bit bumpy under the powder as it had been melting quickly before last night. But, the 3-5 inches of fresh snow on top made for a very fun glide up/down with Zorro in team:
Smiles all around! Look at that late May Powder!!!!
After the quick out & back with Zorro, we dropped the fun elder off with Nancy and Jack, Rudy & I went out for a longer "out & back". The higher we went, the better the conditions became. As we crested at Shrine Pass, it was INCREDIBLE! Check out this photo for May 25th!!!!
Upwards of 6-8 inches of fresh snow all to ourselves. What a treat!!!
POW, POW, Powder Fun!
What fun, right kids?
"Oh my - back on fresh powder! What a LONG summer the last
four days had been!" state the super happy kids hoping that the
last four warm/snowless days was the entire summer :)
After turning around, we used the tracks we set on the way up to glide back down - wheeee!
Reusing our "up tracks" to open up the throttle on the way back down.
What a pretty morning too!
Today's video highlight is a fun "combo clip". We start with the fun down low showing Zorro, Jack and Rudy towing me along the fresh powder over the bumpy trail underneath. We then transition to Jack & Rudy up high towing me through untouched "smooth & deep" powder as far as the eye can see. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

What a fun morning! Unfortunately, it really is May and the new snow was already melting to melted the last 1/2 mile or so by the time Jack, Rudy and I got back to the trailhead! Oh well, still fun had by all and last night's snow should have us set for another 1-2 outings this week. Stay Tuned!

5.7 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 173 days on the trails covering 1181.5 miles with 108,800 feet of elevation climbed.