Sunday, November 18, 2012

Wolf Creek Weekend

Max: "Doing my favorite thing - rolling a snow angel to cool off during our break."
Zorro: "Rodents under the snow, rodents under the snow! Dive, Dive - Bombs Away!"
Classic Zorro doing his patented "head first rodent dive" into the snow. Notice the back legs
up in the air - a perfect form dive from Zorro!
We had a great Friday & Saturday skijoring at Wolf Creek Pass (near the Wolf Creek Ski Resort). If you are not familiar with Wolf Creek, it is the Colorado Ski Resort that gets the most annual snowfall. The snow has been a little lacking closer to home, so we decided to pack the jeep, hit the road and spend two days skijoring around Wolf Creek.

There are a ton of cross country ski trails to skijor around the Wolf Creek area (both groomed and ungroomed); but even Wolf Creek is still in "early season" conditions. This meant we had to stick to trails above 10,000 feet elevation. Our best option was Fall Creek Rd - a dirt, forest service road about 5 miles down from the top of Wolf Creek Pass. This trail is lesser used by snowmobiles (so not a lot of traffic to avoid), is groomed early season and has a few ungroomed side trails to explore and get some good powder. The details of the two super-fun days below:

Day 1 - Distance Day:
The first day we went for "distance" by staying on the main trail (Fall Creek Rd). We found ourselves skijoring up & down the following terrain: (1) 3.4 miles up 1000 feet of groomed terrain; (2) 2 miles down ungroomed terrain; take a quick break then (3) 2 miles back up the ungroomed trail; and (4) 3.4 miles quickly down the groomed terrain. The hilarious photo above (with "dive bombing Zorro") is from our break on this day. Some more highlights from the day:
Cruising up the groomed section of Fall Creek Rd. Really nice snow with pretty snow covered
trees all around us.
Coming back up the "ungroomed section" of Fall Creek Rd. The ski tracks we are following
are the tracks we laid on the way down this section before returning. We were laying fresh
tracks this entire section of the trail!
Vital Stats for Day 1: 10.7 miles with 1400 feet of total elevation gain - top speed unknown as I forgot to reset the GPS before starting the run...

Day 2 - Exploration Day:
The second day we went for "powder" by exploring the side trails off the main trail. As with Day 1, we started on the groomed Fall Creek Rd trail. But, unlike Day 1, we decided to explore a few of the side trails and get off the beaten path. We love getting off road to really enjoy unpacked snow - here's what we found:
Getting off Fall Creek Rd and following a single set of existing ski tracks into the woods. We did a
2-3 mile loop on this side trail before returning to go further up the main trail.
"Ahh - untouched snow!" Getting off Fall Creek Rd again onto an untouched side trail! Nothing in
front of us except untouched snow to break trail. We did another 2-3 mile loop laying fresh tracks
through this pristine wilderness.
What happens when you return to a groomed trail after working hard breaking trail or hopping through slightly touched terrain? Well, you find the groomed trail to be a Siberian Speed Track - how easy compared to exploring the side trails! Fun video below of the Siberians hitting some good speeds once they got back on groomed conditions:

Sprinting on Fall Creek Rd.
Notice the shadow of the human throughout the video. I am
simply "standing on the sled runners (skis)" letting the Siberians
do all the work. There's nothing quite like standing on the skis
when the Huskies "get going" and tow you around the trails!
[watch on youtube if the video is not shown below]

Vital Stats for Day 2: 8.3 miles, 1100 feet of elevation gain, 19 MPH top speed.

We are hoping for more snow soon to keep us on the trails closer to home. But, this was an extremely fun 2-day getaway to enjoy the snow Wolf Creek had to offer in the meantime!

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