Monday, January 6, 2014

Complex Terrain

It was a day of "complex terrain" all over the trails, leading to quite the Siberian Workout!

"Time to head back? But we've got miles of untouched trail breaking in front of us!"
say the trail breaking pair when I suggested it was time to head back to the trailhead.

(1) The "easiest" terrain we encountered was laying fresh tracks in 3-4 inches near the trailhead.
"Trot, trot - we are going to get some serious mileage today on this terrain!" we all
thought at the lower elevations...

(2) The lower meadow had a wind-swept layer of hard snow making for "punchy conditions". Punchy snow is difficult because you cannot glide forward like you would in fresh powder. Instead you have to punch in/out of the snow, lifting your feet high to make forward progress.
"Punch, punch - punchy snow really slows you down!"

(3) Occasionally the "set track" was wide enough to jog shoulder-to-shoulder; but barely wide enough.
"Ok, this is better! Out of the punchy meadow and laying fresh tracks into the forest!"
we thought...

(4) Most of the terrain after the lower meadow was a narrow single track with extremely high snow walls. Only enough room to skijor single file and take turns running in lead.
"Whoops - snow walls as tall as us. Time to alternate single-file lead!" say the furry
pair taking us deeper into the backcountry.

(5) And the further we went, the deeper it got!
"Trail breaking! Hop, glide, swim through the powder!

How deep was it at our highest point - judge for yourself...
Left: both poles put in the snow.
Right: one pole pulled up to give a height reference to the sunk pole.

Deep snow, punchy snow and narrow single file trails made for a day of "complex terrain". The conditions limited us to a very aerobic 7 miles with 850 feet of elevation climbed.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 61 days on the trails covering 521.4 miles with 61,200 feet of elevation climbed.

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