Thursday, February 27, 2014


Today was a trifecta of milestones for our 2013/2014 Skijoring Season:
(1) 100th day on the trails.
(2) Surpassing 850 miles (856.6 to be exact).
(3) Surpassing 100,000 feet of elevation climbed (100,150 to be exact).

"All 100 outings have been fantastic!" say the happy pair, "We can't wait to see what
March, April and (hopefully) May have in store for us!"

We needed some good elevation on today's outing to reach the trifecta point. So, we went to our favorite "work, run, work" network of trails. This network requires a lot of work (and elevation) to reach, with a super fast sprint track as the reward, and then a lot of work (and elevation) to get out...

A slippery wind-made shelf on the way in. Notice everyone leaning to the right to keep
from sliding down the slope to the left.
Laying fresh tracks as we trot by an old abandoned mining cabin. Another quick
left & right and we will be on the groomed sprint track.

The reward for the hard work to start the outing is a 2.5 mile groomed sprint track in the middle of the forest. Here is a fun section of open trail along this track with gentle rolling ups & downs as the GPS clocked us at 24 MPH.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Once done with the 2.5 mile sprint, it is then a climb out of the forest and back to the trailhead.
Following a snowshoe trail out of the sprint track.
Still climbing out of the sprint track but blazing our own trail at this point.

A nice "work, run, work" day covering 7.8 miles with 1350 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 100 days on the trails covering 856.6 miles with 100,150 feet of elevation climbed - a trifecta of milestones on the day!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sled Dog Fun

A fun day playing chase with the dog sled tours from Good Times Adventures!
Having fun playing chase with the 8-dog sled team in front of us.
To be nice to the tours, we never pass. If the team slows down, we slow down; when the
team speeds up, we speed up. Fun game of chase and the crowds get a kick out of the
crazy guy on skis keeping pace with an 8-dog team!

Still playing chase with the same 8-dog team; but a little further down the trail now with every sled dog in a dead sprint.
"See! No proper sled dog pays attention to a silly SLOW sign!" demonstrate sprinting Max
and Zorro as we fly down the trail behind the sled team.

Here is a fun video putting together our 2 minutes of chase including the previous two photos. The game went as follows: (1) get behind the team and play fast & fun chase; (2) slow down when the sled team slows and keep casually behind for a short stretch; and (3) woo-hoo, the team opens up the throttle again as we play another game of fast chase - wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We did many loops around the trails at Good Times looking for teams to have fun with. We were cruising along one trail alone when I said, "This is fun, let's go find some more sled dogs to chase!" I was not expecting anyone to know what I was saying; but here is the reaction I got from Max & Zorro immediately after making the above comment:
"Yeah! We agree! Let's go find some more teams to play with!" exclaim Max & Zorro.
Look at those agreeing faces and try and tell me they did not understand what I said!

Alas, we succeeded! Another 8-dog team from Good Times cruising down the trail as Max & Zorro get ready to start another game of chase!
"There's more, there's more - ready, set, GO!" say the intense pair getting ready to launch
into another game of chase.

A beautiful day, a beautiful run - fun, fun, fun!
"So much fun today!" say my extremely happy buddies.

A fast day running around the dog sled trails at Good Times Adventures covering 9.8 miles with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 99 days on the trails covering 848.8 miles with 98,800 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Action Shots

Some nice "action shots" from the day's outing are the theme of today's blog:

Sprinting Siberians along Shrine Pass Rd. Sprinting shots are always fun action
shots for the day!
Cresting over Shrine Pass and getting the awe inspiring panoramic views.
Every skijor trip to Vail Pass generates at least one "what a view" shot.
I love the "cornering action" in this shot. Look at Max leaning into the left as he keeps the
gangline taut to pull me through the corner. Zorro in the "outside lane" is drifting back a
bit, but he will zip right back up with Max when we come out of the turn.
I feel like I am watching Olympic speed skaters :-)

It was a warm day for February (highs in the mid 30s) and that always brings out "cool off action" from Max & Zorro.
Rolling dual snow angels to cool off during our ascent up Shrine Pass.

A shot of the happy skijoring brothers is always a great action shot from the day:
"What a great day we are having!" express the super happy pair at our turn around
point of the day.

Lots of action on today's outing at Vail Pass covering 9.3 miles with 1200 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 98 days on the trails covering 839.0 miles with 97,650 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Moose Day

Normally an outing of breaking trail all day in Indiana Creek would be the highlight of the day...
Normally, that is, as today's trail breaking was trumped by nonstop scents & sights of MOOSE!

Breaking trail all day long!
Normally the highlight of any skijor outing. Normally...

Our plan for the day was to tour the trails in & around Indiana Creek. Much to our surprise, we encountered fresh moose tracks within the first mile of the outing! Moose tracks are easy to recognize; but you might wonder how I know they were "fresh". Well, fresh moose tracks are the only thing that can cause my skijoring pair to come to a dead stop on the trail. Old moose tracks will get a glance from them as will other wildlife tracks (fresh or not). But, fresh moose tracks bring an immediate halt to the Siberians and moose inspection must begin! So, within a mile of our outing and Max & Zorro's "moose radar" was ON for the rest of the day!

Within the first mile and we encounter fresh moose tracks. Nothing can put a stop to the
skijor engines except fresh moose tracks!
As my partners were inspecting the fresh tracks, I was scanning our surrounding for moose.
Immediately to my right and "Ah-ha - Moose!" There were two moose in the trees watching
us inspecting their recent tracks (it was a mother moose and her child).

We know there are at least 3 moose living in Indiana Creek as we have seen a mother plus kid and a huge male moose with big basket on his head on the same outing before. After today, though, I am thinking there are more than just 3 moose residing in Indiana Creek. There were too many "fresh tracks & scents" setting off the Siberians' moose radar for there to be only 3...

About a mile from the original moose sighting and my partners come to an intense standstill.
Surveying the terrain, I spotted moose tracks on the opposite side of this meadow. The Siberians
could not see the tracks, of course, so the "scent of moose" must have been fresh enough in the
air to bring them to a halt. A third moose? Probably...
About 1.5 miles later and another intense halt. Both noses went up in the air and all focus
went to the trees to our left. A fourth moose? It is seeming so...
About another mile and a pair of EXTREMELY FRESH moose tracks. You could tell by
the reaction from Max & Zorro that these tracks were just recently made!
"I'll take one moose, you take the other!" say the moose seeking pair.
A fifth and sixth moose? Really....

The above tracks went into the shadows of the trees as I stopped for us to turn around and head back down the trail. I swear I heard the breaking of branches that would be caused by moose moving through the trees.
"Turnaround? BUT the moose went this way!" say intense Max & Zorro who are not too
keen on my idea to NOT pursue the moose tracks :)

"Well, ok, I guess we'll turn around." say the happy pair (eventually).
"But, we are willing to turn around because we know there are 4 more moose back this way!"

Amazing that trail breaking shots like the one below were not the highlight of the day!
Cruising along an untouched 10-12 inches of snow!

An exhilarating 6.8 miles with 800 feet of elevation climbed as we were breaking trail all day in the search for moose!

2013/2014 Season to Date: 97 days on the trails covering 829.7 miles with 96,450 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Perfect Conditions

Perfect conditions at Swan Valley Recreation Area to skijor 12.3 miles with a top speed of 23 MPH.

12.3 miles, 1350 feet of elevation climbed & topping 23 MPH; yet here we are at the
finish looking like we have not even started yet! Amazing animals!

Swan Valley has a whole network of snowmobile trails that we skijor. So, it is always a fast day with lots of mileage; but some days are exceptionally perfect. What makes for "perfect" on the Swan Vally snowmobile trails? Well, a 1/2 an inch to 1 inch of fresh snow on top the packed trails. This is just enough snow for me to feel comfortable uncorking the Siberians and it is just enough to tickle their toes into sprinting delight!

The only problem with skijoring Swan Valley - I come home with way too much great video footage of the Siberian skijoring machines. Today I started with 10 clips of incredible skijoring which I narrowed to 4 clips of ultra-incredible skijoring and finally decided on the top 2. Here are frames from the "runner up" clips and then the top 2 of the day...

(1) Number 1 runner up: the amazing cornering machines.
Look at Max absolutely hugging the snow wall as we fly around a tight corner.

(2) Number 2 runner up: flying down the trail over 20 MPH as we zoom right by a SLOW sign.
"Huh? We don't have that word in our Siberian Dictionary!" express the airborne pair.

Ok, now for the first of the video finalists. A short clip from our endless sprint along a narrow snowmobile trail. I thought we were flying from the beginning; but watch at about 16 seconds in when it looks like the Siberians shift into yet another gear! Amazing speed.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Second of the video finalists. This one is a finalist for "work" instead of "speed". This section of trail is mostly flat with slight ups & downs. Yet, I am just standing on my skis as we move across the terrain. Watch closely and you can really see Max & Zorro working like champions to move the human slacker along!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

A little "break fun" from the day too when we took a quick 2-3 minute break at our high point of the day:
"Quick break, chomping on snowcones!" says Zorro.
"Did we lose the gas pedal in the snow? Why else did we stop? I'll find it!" digs Max
thinking this must be the only reason we stopped!
"I found the gas pedal! Let's go!" says happy snow covered Max.
"Done with snowcones, let's go!" says happy little Zorro.

A day of perfect conditions covering 12.3 miles with 1350 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 96 days on the trails covering 822.9 miles with 95,650 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Fresh Tracks Day

A peaceful Friday laying fresh tracks all over the trails today..
Cruising down the Sally Barber Mine Trail with fresh snow on the packed trail
all to ourselves!
Nice shot of the Siberians putting all their strength into the harnesses as they tow me
up to Sally Barber Mine.

This short video captures the theme of the day: laying fresh tracks as we jog along the peaceful trails.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We did an up & over Sally Barber Mine to then connect onto the main French Gulch Trail. Two trails, same result - laying fresh tracks all day long! When you are laying fresh tracks at the beginning of French Gulch, then you know you are going to have fresh snow getting deeper & deeper all to yourself.
Far back (& up) in French Gulch with the day's fresh snow all to ourselves!

No trip to French Gulch is complete without a "moose inspection" pause from Max & Zorro.
Taking a quick break off the trail as the Siberians survey the meadow for moose (we have
seen them from this location before) while I survey the nice, panoramic scenery all around us.

A "fresh tracks day" covering 8.1 miles with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 95 days on the trails covering 810.6 miles with 94,300 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Boreas Views

Yesterday's outing featured beautiful views from atop Vail Pass; today we had nice views from high up on Boreas Pass.
Nice shot of snow covered peaks as we jog along Boreas Pass Rd.

We took one of our favorite backcountry trails that connects Baldy Mountain to Boreas Mountain. This is a seldom used trail, so it is typically single file skijoring as we traverse this narrow connector trail:
Max running in lead on the trail only 1 Siberian wide.
The connector trail goes on for many miles, so we always alternate as Zorro is now
running lead on the single file trail.

You know it is a warm day when Zorro rolls a snow angel to cool off! Max, of course, rolls snow angels at all temperatures :)
Transitioning out of the narrow "forest trail" and onto Boreas Pass at Bakers Tank.
Nice views for me to take in as the Siberians roll snow angels to cool off before beginning
our jog on fast packed Boreas Pass Rd.

Fun day - happy boys!
"Hi! That was fun & narrow in the forest and now we are ready to open it up on wide
Boreas Pass Rd!" say my happy pair.

A gentle jog up Baldy, across Baldy to Boreas and down Boreas Pass Rd covering 7.6 miles with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 94 days on the trails covering 802.5 miles with 93,400 feet of elevation climbed. 800 miles and counting - woo hoo!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Gorgeous Day

A gorgeous day skijoring atop Vail Pass today.
Snow covered Rocky Mountains as far as the eye can see! The views are always stunning
atop Vail Pass.

Most of outing at Vail Pass is spent on snowmobile trails; but we do get occasional dips in the powder on side trails...
Hopping through powder on a seldom used side trail. Nice scenery again,.

My favorite view, though, is always the sprinting Siberians.
Zoom, zoom, zoooom...

We had about a mile of "powder play" on a side trail branching off from our high point of the day:
"Time to turn around, really? If you say so..." says happy little Zorro looking back when
I called out 'time to turn around'.
"Ok, if you say so." acknowledges happy Max.
Meanwhile Zorro has noticed how much untouched snow we should be exploring
instead of turning around :)

So fun to ignore "traffic signs"...
"Stop? What a silly word!" demonstrate the airborne pair flying by the stop sign.
Oh, by the way, that STOP sign is "regulation height" for summer traffic on this road. This shows you how deep the snow pack is at Vail Pass. I foresee using the Vail Pass trails deep into Spring this year!

A scenic day covering 10.3 miles with 1350 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 93 days on the trails covering 794.9 miles with 92,500 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Max Birthday

Today is Max's birthday and Zorro & I decided to give him a 'skijor run' for his present!
Just what every Siberian wants for a birthday - an airborne sprint as you fly by a
silly "SLOW" sign!

We took Max to one of his favorite network of trails in the Swan Valley Recreation Area. He was ecstatic to see the trails we had chosen for his birthday!
"OH BOY! Come on - get those skis on so we can go! It's my BIRTHDAY!" says talkative
Max giving me a lecture at the trailhead as I am clearly taking too long to hook them to the
gangline and get my skis on so we can gooooo!

Here is what Zorro & I gave Max for his birthday:
An 11.4 mile outing was my gift.
24.7 MPH was Zorro's gift.

Here is what Max gave himself for his birthday:
"Rub a dub dub, rolling a snow angel for ME!" demonstrates Max at our high point
of the outing.

Here is what Mother Earth gave Max for his birthday:
A moose standing dead center in the trail!!!!
Oh my did the Siberians want to play "chase the moose"; but the chicken little musher quickly
put a stop to the fun until the moose ran up the trail (and then, of course, we took off in chase :)
Mother Earth must really like Max to give him such an exciting gift!

Finally, here is what we all gave each other for Max's birthday. A fun glide through the forest on 1-2 inches of fresh snow!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

So, Max, how was the birthday outing?
"I am the happiest Siberian Husky on EARTH!" states giddy Max as he just finished his
snow angel and declared his happiness before we started the final leg back to the trailhead.

A fun birthday bash covering 11.4 miles with 1300 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 25 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 92 days on the trails covering 784.6 miles with 91,150 feet of elevation climbed.