Friday, March 23, 2012


Today we invented a new twist to skijoring: buttjoring (explained below)...
Our high point over 11,700 feet in between Boreas and Baldy mountains. A nice
hard layer of "top snow" to keep us from sinking in the 2-3 feet of snow under
the top layer. 
The "spring conditions" at the lower elevations (below 10,500 feet) are getting really sketchy with ice and/or exposed dirt & rocks. So, we decided to go up, way up, today. The goal was to skijor to Bakers Tank on Boreas Mountain then go straight up Boreas until we intersected with the power lines that would guide us back down onto Baldy Mountain. We knew the up route would be steep - that's not a problem, skijoring up any incline is easy & fun. We knew the down route was also steep; but we had done this down section earlier this season (when we had fresh powder) and had a great time. Oh, how conditions can change...

Instead of a nice powder route down, we found an extremely hard, almost ice, top crust over the snow. The layer was so hard that neither Max, Zorro or myself on skis would break through to the deeper snow. That was ok at first, then the steep down incline started - far too slick for me to be able to keep the speed under control and not be launched down the mountain by my pals. I decided to shed the skis and hike down this steep area; plop - without my skis for support, my weight broke through the top crust and I sunk into waist deep snow. "Well, now what?!?" I contemplated: the terrain is too slick to ski down, the top crust is not thick enough to walk down - now what.....

Then the lightbulb went off in my head - if I am on the skis, I do not bust through the crust - how to be on the skis without skiing? I put both skis next to each other and then sat on the bindings facing forward. I put both legs forward as well so they were parallel with the skis. I told Max & Zorro to "go forward" and we started moving down the hill. I quickly learned how to use my feet to steer and act as brakes and off we went: sitting on my skis, buttjoring down the slick & steep terrain! Success!

You might wonder what Max & Zorro thought of this new configuration. At first they kept glancing back with looks of "Huh, what are you doing?" Then I started getting comfortable with the setup and letting us go a little faster - speed is the remedy to all Siberian concerns. As I opened up the speed, Max pranced back at me, tossed out a "Woo" and then turned around and started sprinting downhill with Zorro. Zoooooom - buttjoring down the mountain we went.

Eventually we got back to the lower (and less steep) elevations. We were able to resume skijoring for a little while; but eventually had to shed the skis and hike down the rest of the trail due to conditions.

Vital Stats: 9.7 miles; 135m total time; 90 skijoring time (75m up only 15m down); 25m buttjoring time; 15m hiking time; 15 MPH top speed; an exhilarating 1650 feet of elevation climbed!
A sample of the conditions below 10,500 feet - occasional "no snow" patches
to approach slowly and carefully navigate over. 
We just finished our downhill buttjoring; the human is resting and putting
the skis back on. The Siberians? Well they show no signs of sprinting and
jogging for 2 hours without a break!
"Old abandoned mine" or "fascinating squirrel fort"?
Depends who you ask ;-)

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