Sunday, October 9, 2011

Season Opener

At the Hoosier Pass trailhead. Patiently
awaiting our "end of run" hotdog rewards!
The 2011/2012 Skijoring Season is officially ON!

We had an early October storm the last 2 days - starting with rain and then improving to snow. Not much accumulation in town (maybe 2 inches); but Max, Zorro & I decided to test the upper elevations for better accumulation to begin our 2011/2012 Skijoring Season.

We attempted to skijor Bemrose Ski Circus at the top of Hoosier Pass (between Breckenridge and Alma). The elevations would start at 11,500 ft and extend into the mid 12000s if the conditions permitted. We knew we were "pushing the envelope" to go skijoring this early in Fall with this mild of a storm. But...

We haven't skijored since mid-May, our bones are rotting, we need skijoring. So, push the envelope we did!

Was there enough snow for skijoring? "YES!" for the up routes, "no" for most of the down routes. The highlights:
  1. The first 2 miles had 1100 feet of elevation gain with about 3-4 inches of powder below 12,000 and up to 8 inches of powder over 12,000. Our top uphill speed was 10mph! There were many rocks exposed through the shallow powder below 12,000 feet - letting me know it would be an interesting & risky route down...
  2. First outing of the season - the human was not in top form... I made a wrong turn in the upper parts of the trail (there were no tracks, it was up to me to lead us "on trail"). After skijoring up a pretty steep ravine, we came around a blind right to find a fully exposed rock wall to continue up. There was not enough snow in the ravine to skijor back down (you can avoid exposed rocks going up, not when going down with Siberian propulsion), so we had to remove the skis and hike (and crawl) up the rock wall until the terrain leveled out again and had good snow cover.
  3. First outing of the season - the Siberians were not in top form... Zorro forgot the meaning of "right" at one point and was convinced that "right" meant "sharp left, sprint towards the pack of deer" - it took much explanation to re-introduce Zorro to the proper "right". Max had a slight issue with "leave it, let's go" meaning to "ignore all those deer tracks and keep going forward" - he is an expert listener/leader once he gets back into form.
  4. Below 12,000 feet, going down was impossible. There were far too many exposed rocks to surprise and annihilate the human at Siberian downhill speeds. So, we had to carry the skis and hike/run down.
  5. Above 12,000 feet it was WONDERFUL! We were breaking trail in 5-8 inches of fresh powder - if only we didn't have to come back down...
All in, fun for a season opener, but we pushed the envelope a little too far and had to spend more time hiking & climbing than we did skijoring. But - the 2011/2012 Skijor Season is ON - bring on the snow!

Vital Stats: 4.1 miles. 90 minutes total time: a measly 35 minutes skijoring time, 40 minutes hiking & climbing over non-skiable terrain, 15 minutes stopped/trail evaluation time. Top speed of 13mph and total elevation gain of 1,100 feet.
Cruising up the lower section of Bemrose. Note the deer tracks on the trail in front
of us. First outing of the season lead the Siberians to forget that we ignore tracks that
go "off trail" and keep going forward. We'll be back to top form soon.
Taking a break to survey the trail in the upper elevations of Bemrose.
Bemrose trailhead at Hoosier Pass on the Continental Divide.
Nice scenery from the upper elevations of Bemrose. Note that we are past all the
shrubbery at this point and breaking trail in up to 8 inches of fresh powder. Max & Zorro
wondered "why" we had to go back down, it was so peaceful and skiable above 12,000 ft!

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