|Coming down French Gulch.|
Skiing "in the rough" off the trail to
avoid getting locked into an ice chute
on the trail.
Background: it has not snowed since Sunday and weather has been "spring like" (highs in the upper 30s/mid 40s, lows in the 10s/20s). So, the trails have been melting in afternoons and then freezing overnight.
THE GOOD: We skijored up French Gulch in record time. 2.6 miles up 600 feet of elevation gain in just 25 minutes - a 6.24 MPH uphill moving average!
THE BAD: Snowmobiles had been all over the French Gulch trail the last few days. The problem this presents: a heavy snowmobile's front skis make deep "ski tracks" in the afternoon slush that then freeze into 3-5 inch deep "ice chutes" overnight. Try skijoring down a skinny trail (like French Gulch) that has been overrun with 4 inch deep ice chutes and ... if your ski catches a chute, it locks into the chute and you are now a trapped & frictionless device attached to 2 sprinting Siberian Huskies! Seriously, getting your one ski out of the chute requires putting all your weight on your other leg in a snowplow position and then trying/praying/hoping the weightless chute leg can pop out of the trap - all of this while being propelled by 2 Siberian engines who think, "what great conditions, let's try for 30 MPH!" As a result, I spent most of the down route in an extreme snowplow trying (and not always succeeding) to stay out of the ice chutes - a slow 25 minutes down 600 feet over 2.6 miles.
THE UGLY: In full skijoring sprint ... my left ski gets trapped in an ice chute ... throw my weight to my right leg and watch it catch into an ice chute before I can react. Both skis in an ice chute, the Siberian engine is accelerating, OH NO - right turn ahead.... BAM - fly off the trail and face plant into the thin layer of ice covering the deep snow. The damage: (1) busted, bleeding lower lip; (2) scratched, bleeding nose; (3) scratched, bleeding left cheek. Ow... But, on the bright side, this was my first injury of the season - not bad...
Vital Stats: 5.2 miles; 75 minutes total time; 50 minutes moving time; 6.2 MPH moving average; 18 MPH top speed; 600 feet of elevation gain (and then loss). 25 minutes of "stopped time" you ask (so did Max & Zorro ;-) - realigning my nose after the face plant plus 2 episodes of stupid loose dogs no where near their owners equals 25 minutes of down time...
The pictures: Sorry, no uphill pictures - flying uphill at 6.24 MPH does not leave you with a free hand to get the camera out. Sorry, no downhill pictures - holding on for dear life while dodging ice chutes does not leave you with a free hand to get the camera out.
|Max, after sprinting uphill, "So hot, must roll around in the snow!"|
|Zorro, "SO HOT, must roll around in the snow in the shade!"|
|Max, "Really, is it cooler in the shade? I'll wiggle and roll that way!"|