Thursday, January 20, 2011

Deep Powder Day in French Gulch

Max & Zorro surveying the
surrounding landscape of DEEP
untouched powder!
Monday & Tuesday left over 2 feet of snow in the Breckenridge area. Wednesday we woke to more snow falling - Max, Zorro and I said, "we gotta skijor this big powder event!" So, we headed out to French Gulch Wednesday morning.

Given the ton of fresh snow, we could ski the road to French Gulch before heading into the French Gulch trail system. Thus, we started at the BnB Trailhead skied to & through the French Gulch winter trailhead and up French Gulch to the last of the private backcountry cabins. From here we skied back down French Gulch and hung a left on the Sally Barber Mine trail - then up to Sally Barber Mine and down to the Sally Barber trailhead at the top of the Barney Ford trail (see image below).

The conditions: did I mention we got over 2 feet of snow (with it still snowing as we headed out)? So, there you have it - the conditions: powder, powder and MORE deep powder. From BnB to French Gulch trailhead was a fast, packed powder road; from French Gulch trailhead to the Little French junction was 6-12 inches of powder on established cross country tracks; from Little French to the last cabin was untouched 1-3 feet of pure powder! Wow... The Sally Barber mine section (up & down) was again 6-12 inches of powder on established cross country tracks. That section from Little French to the last cabin was a doozy - so deep that Max & Zorro needed their energy to propel themselves and I had to do a lot more uphill cross country skiing than normal (usually, my Siberian pair propels up and I am lightly skiing - today I was pushing hard as we climbed the powder path)!

Vital Stats: 8.4 miles; 2.5 hours total; 2 hours moving; 4.2 MPH moving average; 14 MPH top speed. Given the deep powder - that's an impressive 4.2 moving average and an amazing 14 MPH top speed!
Starting up after a quick break in the deep powder.
Zorro says, "weeee, let's go bro!"
A look at the "untouched path ahead of us".
We are slogging through 1-3 feet of powder at this point!
A later look at the "path ahead" - still untouched and deep!
The trail goes up the middle of this image and then bends to the right as we get into the trees.
The last backcountry cabin (our turnaround point) is just a short distance from here.

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