Monday, January 2, 2012

False Report

Funny Max doing his usual "snow angel cool off" at our
high point before returning back down the trail. "Never been
so hot, it must be a 20 degree oven!
" says Max.
Yesterday morning the Breck Ski Resort reported 3 inches of new snow. "Great!" though Max, Zorro & I - if the Ski Resort has 3 inches then so do all of our backcountry trails (usually more). So, on the Ski Resort's report, we set out to skijor Sally Barber and French Gulch and enjoy 3+ inches of new snow.

Despite having only a trace of new snow at our house, I blindly listened to the Ski Resort report and brought my "fast skis" to the trail. Now, Sally Barber and French Gulch are 2 of the most used trails around Breckenridge. I stay away from these trails unless there has been fresh snow and I never bring my "fast skis" unless it is the morning after fresh snow. These trails get so trampled and worn down, it is hard to skijor with my 2 sprinting buddies unless there is a layer of fresh snow to add some friction.

So, off we went - fast skis on a system of trails needing some fresh snow for skijoring comfort. What did we find???? NO NEW SNOW ANYWHERE! Total False Report! Both Sally Barber and French Gulch had been so over-skied the last few days that the trails were closer to ice than packed snow! We all understand that ski resorts like to report new snow from the most favorable spot on their mountain; but, come on - they somehow extrapolated zero into 3 inches somewhere!

Argh... What happens with "fast skis" and "near ice" trails? Aaaaaahh, how to slow down!?! Needless to say, it was a trying outing on my knees - trying to keep our speeds under control on a frictionless surface! I will not "open up" our skijoring team to full speed sprints unless I know I am on terrain upon which I can slow down. Well, frictionless ice is not a terrain amenable to slowing down; so, I kept the skis in a snowplow most of the day. Despite snowplowing, we still hit 17 MPH. We still had a blast out touring Sally Barber and French Gulch; but I needed today off to rest my overused knees. We will not be listening to the Ski Resort's new snow report again anytime soon!

Vital Stats: 8.6 miles (of snowplowing over near ice conditions!); 100m total time; 85m of skijor snowplowing time; 17 MPH top speed; 1000 feet of elevation gain.

"Small, furry rodents live under trees. I am on the prowl," declares Zorro.
"How many rolls in the snow does it take for a Siberian to cool off?" wonders Max.
A look back down French Gulch and our skijoring tracks. Do *not* be fooled
by the powder and sucken tracks in this shot - 99.5% of the route was hard packed
to icy conditions!

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