Sunday, February 26, 2012

Breckenridge to Como

At the summit of Boreas Pass - very wind blown terrain.
The plan for the day sounded perfect - sometimes reality sucks! ;-)

We were going to start on the Breckenridge side of Boreas Pass and skijor up to the summit and then down the other side of Boreas Pass to the town of Como. This would be a 15 mile route climbing a total of 1850 feet in elevation - a fun workout for all. Skijoring from Breckenridge to Como - it sounded so perfect...

It even started perfect...

(1) The "up route" was incredible. We ascended up Boreas in about an hour and 20 minutes - 7 miles of "all up" and 1600 feet of elevation climbed. When you factor in the elevation, we were flying! Everyone was in top skijoring form!

It even started perfect on the Como side of Boreas...

(2) The first 2 miles starting down from the Boreas Summit towards Como was awesome. No existing tracks on the trail (except for the occasional fox or snowshoe hare tracks) and we were breaking trail in 8-12 inches of untouched snow for 2 miles. "This is going to be a fun, wild ride down!" I thought. Silly me...

Then disaster set in - the final 6 miles of the route to Como was a wind blown mess!

(3) Over the next 2 miles, I had to take the skis off twice and hike down as the trail had every trace of snow blown off it. We were skijoring for at most 1.5 miles of this section and hiking over exposed terrain for over 1/2 a mile. "Ugh, we want to skijor not hike!" I moaned. Little did I know...

(4) The final 4 miles to Como was horrendous! We skijored at most 2 miles in this section and had the skis off hiking over completely snowless terrain for over 2 miles. To make matters worse, it was not as simple as 2 miles of snow then 2 miles without. Instead, we had what seemed like a million short sections of snow and then short sections of no snow: repeated "on & off" of the skis and repeated hiking interruptions - never a chance to open up the "skijoring vehicle" for some downhill speed! The Como side of Boreas Pass was indeed a wind blown disaster with so much exposed terrain you would have thought it was October or May, not February.

Anyway... We did complete the entire 15 mile route with a nice 1850 feet of elevation climbed (1600 on the initial up and then 250 of occasional upswings on the way down). But, we had the skis off for about an hour of the route to hike over snowless terrain - BOO! Oh well, it was still a fun workout for all even with the extended hiking interruptions.

Vital Stats: 15 miles; 200m total time; 120m skijoring time (60m hiking time; 20m of repeated equipment "on/off" time and route planning time); 16 MPH top speed (we never had an extended down section to open up the throttle); 1850 feet of fun elevation climbed!

It was quite windy with big gusts atop Boreas Pass. Usually we stop and take
a break at the Summit. Too windy today, I just snapped a shot of the "Summit
sign" as we skied on by to get back in the cover of some trees to escape the wind.
We stopped for a quick break about 1 mile down from the Boreas Summit towards
Como. Look at this beautiful, untouched terrain in front of us! Breaking trail in
8-12 inches of snow. Little did I know we only had about 1 more mile of this pure
bliss before disaster terrain set in...
A 180 from the previous shot - looking back at our trail breaking tracks coming
down from the Summit.
At our break point - there is a squirrel in the trees in front of us. You cannot see
the small squirrel in the photo; but the "crouched hunting" posture of Max should
tell you all you need to know about what is in the trees!

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