Monday, February 17, 2020

Fresh to First

Happy kids looking back at me during a quick pause on the trail this morning!
"We are having a BLAST!" declares the happy, happy kids.
We gave Zorro most of this morning off as he came with for full runs the last two days. So, I took the kids, Jack & Rudy, on an extended run with some aerobic trail breaking mixed in.

We started the morning on lesser used backcountry trails and found ourselves breaking trail and laying fresh tracks in 8+ inches of fresh snow.
Kicking up Powder all around Jack & Rudy as they break trail in
over 12 inches of powder at this point on the trail.
Come along for the impressive powder pair. I've spliced together two short clips of the powder plowing kids into one video highlight. I love riding behind the trail breaking masters!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We broke trail in deep snow for just over 1 mile. The reward for this aerobic trail breaking?

Well, rolling snow angels, of course!
Cooling our jets rolling in the snow after serious trail breaking.
"You expected something different?" asks goofy Jack.
"Yum, snow angels AND snow cones!' demonstrates talented Rudy :)
Ok, let's try that again... The reward for breaking trail over 1 mile?

Ah, here we go - the reward was being first tracks on the freshly groomed trails at Gold Run Nordic Center for over 6 miles!
Now this is more like it. What a reward for trail breaking work!
Then, the reward for dropping onto the trails at the nordic center? Well, we got to meet up with fun Zorro for a short run to the finish as a happy trio:
Wheeee! Smiles all around from the flying trio!
No need to stop for Nancy on the side of the trail as we fly on by with Zorro to the trailhead.
Flying Zorro alongside fast running Rudy & Jack!
A little of everything today: breaking trail, laying fresh tracks on backcountry trails, topping 23 MPH on nordic trails and adding Zorro for a fast & furious finish to the day: 7.4 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 98 days on the trails covering 668.3 miles with 61,350 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, February 16, 2020


Fun skijor in the morning's new snow - did everyone have a good time?
"You bet! Such fun!" says the 'all smiles' trio at the end of our outing.
Today we get to showcase just how far along young Jack & Rudy have come. They are really maturing into perfect sled dogs with a wonderful politeness towards older Zorro.

We planned an out & back trip in French Gulch and got out early to be first on the new snow. We found a couple of inches at the trailhead and it gradually got deeper and deeper as we went out & up the gulch. At 11.5 years old, we know Zorro is not really able to break trail any longer. As the snow started getting deeper in the gulch, the trio automatically moved into the configuration below. This is just PERFECT - Jack & Rudy setting the trail while Zorro trots behind them using the trail they are setting. Using the youngsters to set trail while preserving the elder. What a team!
Jack & Rudy setting the trail while Zorro happily trots behind
them and uses their trail. What an amazing "teamwork photo"!
Ok, ready to be impressed again? Well, once we turned around and headed back, here's the team configuration for the entire return leg: Zorro running in the track we set on the way out while Jack & Rudy make their own trail in the fresh snow to the right. Once again absolutely PERFECT teamwork as we let elder Zorro have the easier part of the trail while polite & young Jack & Rudy take the hard terrain!
Which "teamwork photo" is more impressive - this one or the prior? I'm still
Now for the video showcase of polite Jack & Rudy. Come along for a glimpse of the return leg in French Gulch as Zorro runs in the track we set on the way out while Jack & Rudy take the untouched snow to the right of the trail.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Eventually the snow got too deep for Zorro to continue (even behind Jack & Rudy), so we turned around sooner than usual. As a result, we got back to the trailhead with enough time to jog down unplowed French Gulch Road to finish the day. So fun to be up ahead of the plows and get a fast road all to yourselves!
Zorro, Jack & Rudy jogging in tire tracks on French Gulch Road while
I ride in the deeper snow on the shoulder. Fun!
An absolutely perfect day with Jack & Rudy leading the way so older Zorro could come along too: 5.2 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 97 days on the trails covering 660.9 miles with 60,850 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, February 15, 2020


Happy fellas watching a dog sled team from Good Times Adventures run on a trail parallel to us.
"Hey friends! Love watching you run!' says the happy watching trio.
We went out to the trails at Swan Valley to do one of our favorite skijor activities: run alongside the dog sled teams from Good Times Adventures. It was a very fun day with lots of excitement on the trails.

Here we are executing a perfect pass by a team stopped on the side of the trail. You can see the 2 lead dogs of the 8 dog team next to the snowmobile. Notice the leader on the right is talking up a storm as we go by :)
"Hi... Bye!" says my trustworthy 'on by' partners.
Unfortunately, that is the best photo of the day. Unknown to me, the camera on my chest got shifted to the left of my body during the day's excitement. It was just after this photo that the camera got misaligned. You can see a team coming down the trail in front of us as I get my partners under control on the side trail. But, notice Zorro is lining himself up to go too. I had to kneel and keep ahold of the gangline to keep us from taking off as this team went by. In all the "control work" by me, I accidentally moved the camera far left on my chest and did not notice the rest of the day.
"I'm coming too!' says powder plowing Zorro getting ready to join!
"We are ready too!" says Jack & Rudy getting ready to join.
How misaligned was the camera after the prior photo? Well, here we are paused on a side trail watching another team go perpendicular. I am lined up straight but the camera is on the left of my body so you can barely make out Rudy on the right.
The misaligned camera getting only a smidget of Rudy's mouth but a nice, full
view of Zorro & Jack watching the team go by.
Just how misaligned? Well, here we are executing another perfect pass yet all you can see is Rudy. Trust me, Zorro & Jack were executing a perfect pass out of view of the misaligned camera.
"Coming through!" says trotting Rudy.
Oh well, sorry for all the misaligned shots. But, back to the originally aligned camera. Here we are executing our first pass on by a paused team on the trail. We start in a quick jog along the open trail until I see a stopped team around the bend in the trail. So, we slow, shorten the gangline for safety and then perfectly pass on by. Once on by, I need to call out a little encouragement to my partners before we restart going fast along the trail again.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

A very fun day with, unfortunately, a lot of misaligned footage: 6.9 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 96 days on the trails covering 655.7 miles with 60,450 feet of elevation climbed.