Monday, March 31, 2014

Off the Beaten Track

It was a day of laying fresh tracks and breaking trail as we took lesser known trails up, down and around Baldy Mountain.
Laying fresh tracks as we encounter two old, abandoned mining cabins.
Breaking trail in about 10 inches of snow - love the view of powerful Max hopping
and putting his shoulders into pulling the human through the deep snow.

There was fresh snow in the trees & on the ground with a light snow falling most of the day. I could pretend it was snowing hard and show the photo below; but not really... Max & Zorro are straightening out from a tight right on the trail while I am still coming through the corner. Unbeknownst to me was a low hanging tree branch full of snow as you came through the corner. Max & Zorro went right under the branch while I ducked but still clipped the branch and knocked the snow it was holding on top of me!
It had the makings of a perfect tight turn as my skis are parallel while getting propelled by
Max & Zorro. But, then, "low branch, duck... not enough" as snow dumped off the tree
and on top of me.

Lots of untouched powder for most of the route...
Max powering us up as Zorro is slipping back a bit in the deep snow.
"Hey, my legs are not as long as Max's - I'm trying to keep up!" says short Zorro.

Arriving at the Jeep to end the outing.
"I'll wait while you figure out how to get down the slope." says polite Max.
"This way, this way!" states happy Zorro wondering what I am pausing for.

A day dominated by laying fresh tracks & breaking trail with lots of elevation: 6.7 miles with 1200 feet of elevation climbed.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 120 days on the trails covering 1035.8 miles with 120,300 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Fast Pack

A fast packed day zooming around the snowmobile trails at Swan Valley.
"A happy & fast day running the fresh snowmobile trails!" say the happy brothers.

The "musher's view" was pretty much the same all day:
(1) Airborne Brothers along a fast packed straightaway.
(2) Hauling Huskies up a soft packed incline.
(3) Sprinting Siberians flying by the SLOW sign on the final descent to the finish.
"We had a GREAT day!" say the happy pair at one of our turnaround points.

A zooming day covering 10.2 miles with 950 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 119 days on the trails covering 1029.1 miles with 119,100 feet of elevation climbed.

We have now surpassed our previous record season of 1024.9 miles in 2012/2013 and we still have all of April to go! Woo Hoo!

Saturday, March 29, 2014


A beautiful & fast day in French Gulch today with one minor oops to see in the video of the day.

"Everything OK back there?" asks concerned Max coming to check.
"I'll survey the terrain for what we are missing until you get up!" states less than concerned Zorro.
(he really would be concerned if I was hurt; he has already determined all is OK)

Today's video clip is for all the people who always ask me, "How do you do that with sled dogs? Don't you fall & wipeout all the time?!?" The truth is we (or I) rarely fall; but the truth also is that it does happen. We have about 4-8 total wipeouts each season - that is pretty good considering we are on the trails over 100 times. Yet, it does happen. The video below is "what happens" when the skier of the skijor team wipes out...
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

"What happened to cause the wipeout?" you might ask. Well, I would like to pretend my left ski caught something under the snow; but I cannot prove that. Unfortunately most of our rare wipeouts are because the human is not paying attention (I am taking in the scenery or watching the amazing athletes in front of me). Oh well, even Olympic skiers fall now & then....

Anyway, back to the real outing - a beautiful & fast day in French Gulch with the usual range of conditions:
A fast & packed trail closer to the trailhead.
Narrowing & less packed the further and higher we went.
Eventually narrowing to "one Siberian wide" trail as Zorro jogs "out of track" in the
powder next to the trail.
Until finally nobody has made it as far as my pals as we are breaking trail at the
far reaches of French Gulch.

Other than the one wipeout, a fast & fun day covering 8.7 miles with 950 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 118 days on the trails covering 1018.9 miles with 118,150 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Powder Fun

It was a day of "late March powder fun" on the trails at Swan Valley Recreation Area.
Kicking up powder as we sprint along an untouched side trail.

We spent about 1/2 the day on "untouched side trails" enjoying 3-8 inches of fresh powder all to ourselves. We spent the other 1/2 the day on snowmobile tracks recently laid in the day's fresh powder. Late March powder is always fun, as the video shows below:
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Max & Zorro were quite impressed with the day's conditions...
"Yes - I am having a GREAT time!" says happy Max at one of our turnaround points.
"Me too - can you see me?!?" agrees happy Zorro struggling to peek over tall Max to express
his approval.
"Right, left or straight? We want to do it all!" state the happy brothers as we pause at a
junction in the trail to decide which snowmobile track to follow.

Max knows what to do with fresh powder...
Max rolling a snow angel and giving himself a face full of powder - a Siberian Treat!
Zorro surveying the landscape as we wait for Max to finish his snow angel.

A powder day in late March covering 9.7 miles with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 117 days on the trails covering 1010.2 miles with 117,200 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

1000 Miles

We surpassed 1000 miles of skijoring for the 2013/2014 season today!
1000 and counting....
"1000 of the happiest miles ever traversed!" state the happy huskies at one of our
turnaround points of the day.

1000 miles and we are still in March! An amazing season. The snowpack is still pretty strong on many trails and better than it was last season at this time. Consider this: last year we got 19, 6 & 1 outings in April, May & June and we have a better snowpack this year than last. So, as long as Mother Nature does not melt the base too fast, we are easily on track for 1200 miles this season! Woo Hoo, please don't melt our snowpack too fast...

Anyway, back to today's fun outing. We had a nice jog up, down & around the trails at Indiana Creek:
Jogging out the mid-meadow that contains Indiana Creek.
The creek is still hidden under snow - nice!
Trotting along a narrow trail that takes us winding through the trees in the forest.
The packed trail is always narrow with lots of trees to weave between so we have to keep the
speeds down to a safe level. But it is so peaceful to trot through the forest.
Airborne Siberians on one of the few wide open straightaways at Indiana Creek where
you can uncork the skijoring machine!

Today's outing covered 7.7 miles with 850 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 116 days on the trails covering 1000.5 miles with 116,300 feet of elevation climbed.

1000 miles and counting! 1100 now seems to be a given, will we reach 1200? Will we exceed 1200?!? Woooo.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vail Pass Views

Awesome views skijoring atop Vail Pass today!
Blue skies abound with snow covered peaks decorating the horizon as we jog
along one of the snowmobile trails at Vail Pass.
Reaching the top of Shrine Pass via the snowshoe/ski trail.
Every trail we took lead us to incredible bluebird scenery!

The following video captures the spirit of the day - blue skies, snow covered peaks, scenery as far as the eye can see and happy jogging/running Siberians.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Usually we spend most of the outing at Vail Pass on snowmobile trails or set ski trails. But, every once in a while we cut off from the set tracks and blaze our own powder fun. We skijored up to Shrine Bowl from Shrine Pass (on set trails) and then cut our own trail in the powder from Shrine Bowl back down to Shrine Pass - wheeee!
Siberians hopping through the snow as we set our own trail.
Once again, the scenery is just incredible...

On our way from Shrine Pass to Shrine Bowl, we took a tour by the 3 backcountry cabins along the way:
Jogging by the "Walter Cabin" of the Shrine Mountain Cabins.
As we were passing the cabin, a group of overnighters came out on the deck to wave and
take pictures of the pretty Siberians.

So, how was the day's outing guys:
"We approve - what a fun day cruising up, down & around Vail Pass!" say the happy brothers.

A day of endless views & scenery covering 10.4 miles with 1200 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 115 days on the trails covering 992.8 miles with 115,450 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fast to Deep

We were planning an 11 mile outing today; but we covered 9.3 miles instead.
Having plans interrupted by deep snow is always an acceptable compromise!

We started on the Sally Barber Mine trail and all was as expected - a very fast trail:
Cresting over Sally Barber Mine early in the morning.
Clear skies all over, it was developing into a beautiful sunny day.
Zooooming along the Sally Barber Trail - the fast trail we expected to reach 11 miles
for the day.

After going up & over Sally Barber Mine, we headed out & up French Gulch. As with the Sally Barber trail, we were flying up the French Gulch trail. All the makings of a fast day covering lots of mileage until "Powder POW", we outskied all existing tracks and found ourselves in an untouched meadow of endless powder far back in French Gulch. Nothing wrong with having the day's plan trimmed by trail breaking fun...

From a fast trail to a POW trail in a manner of seconds!
A nice view of Max & Zorro powering through the powder as we wind into the trees
in front of us.
All smiles as we hang a right to loop around the meadow and continue the powder plowing.
Still breaking trail through the meadow of powder as we head back towards the
French Gulch trailhead.

After looping through the meadow of powder, it was back onto the well-traveled main French Gulch trail and back to a fun & fast pace:
Sprinting along French Gulch.
"Fast to Deep to Fast" was the profile of the day.

A "fast - deep - fast" outing covering 9.3 miles with 1050 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 114 days on the trails covering 982.4 miles with 114,250 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Indiana Creek Snowpack

A peaceful day jogging along the trails around Indiana Creek.

Sprinting Siberians as we uncork it along an open straightaway.

It may be Spring, but the snowpack in Indiana Creek is wonderful. The following shot gives a good perspective. The trail marker to the right of Max is a 3 to 4 foot marker in the Summer yet is is barely 6 inches above the snowpack today!
"We love trail markers buried in snow!" says an approving Max giving the marker
a glance as we jog by.

It is late March, though, so it is expected for Indiana Creek to start exposing itself here and there. But, in a bad snow year, the creek would be fully exposed in late March. Today we only had fleeting glimpses of the creek as it was still covered by snow for the most part.
A little bit of the creek can be seen to the left.
"No big deal, the snowpack is still great along the shores!" say the happily trotting pair.

Everyone approved of today's fun outing:
"We're a happy family!" express smiling Max & Zorro at one of our turnaround points.

We were making good time on the packed trails so I paused while determining which side trails I could add to the day. I was talking out loud, but to myself, when I looked down and saw I was most certainly not talking to myself! What focus!!!
"You are talking and we are listening. Always listen to the musher!" say my intensely
focused pair!

A nice & peaceful outing covering 7.9 miles with 1000 feet of elevation climbed.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 113 days on the trails covering 973.1 miles with 113,200 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fast Day

It was a fast & happy day running the trails in Swan Valley this morning.
All smiles as my partners look back when I called out "time to turn around" on the current trail.
"Wheeee - great day!" say the happy pair.

A trip to the Swan Valley trails always comes with at least one shot of us flying by a SLOW sign...
Zoooom.... "What does SLOW mean?"

Sometimes a video clip best summarizes the day. The following clip is such a clip to capture the spirit of the day's outing. The GPS clocked our top speed at 25 MPH - it most likely happened in this stretch of video, as we were flying! At the end of the video you see we have caught up with an 8-dog team from Good Times Adventures - we were polite and slowed down instead of running past the team :-)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Happy Siberians all day long...
"Hi! What a fun & fast day!" say the cute, happy brothers.

All outings end with "end of run turkey dog" treats.
All business focusing on the turkey dog container.
It is hard to believe they just finished running 10.6 miles as they
look unfazed!

A fast day zooming around the trails in Swan Valley with the occasional chance to run alongside a few of the dog sled teams from Good Times: 10.6 miles with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 25 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 112 days on the trails covering 965.2 miles with 112,300 feed of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Boreas Views

Beautiful views from Boreas Pass today as the skies cleared this morning!

My favorite view - sprinting Siberians!
Running fast as we approach the day's finish as the Boreas Pass Trailhead.

The views from Boreas were quite stunning today. I found myself saying, "I've got to check this footage on the GoPro when we get home!" multiple times throughout the day. Here are my top 3 view shots of the day:

(1) Coming out of the forest and onto Boreas Pass Rd at Bakers Tank.
A fun 3-4 inches of powder to hop through as we connect onto Boreas.
White trees and white mountains all around us as the skies are clearing to a bright sun.
(2) Trotting along Boreas Pass Rd as 5 distinct snow-covered peaks come into view.
The Siberians look like they are taking in the views too :-)
(3) Cruising along Boreas as Breckenridge Ski Resort comes into view across the valley.
I swear Max & Zorro are checking out the ski resort too as both are glancing to the left.

To get to the views on Boreas, we took our favorite backcountry connector trail from Baldy Mountain to Boreas Mountain. This is a seldom used trail far back in the forest. I have become increasingly convinced that nobody uses this trail until Max & Zorro break trail first. No matter how long we wait from a recent snowfall, we are always "first tracks" when we arrive at this connector. But, if we go again before another new snowfall, you can see evidence that others use the trail once we first blaze. The world needs Max & Zorro to set the trails for everyone else...
The "Baldy to Boreas" connector trail.
This is how we always find it within days of recent snowfall - everyone is waiting for
Max & Zorro to blaze the trail to bring it back to life.

I had two happy husky faces look back at me when I called out time to turn back towards the Boreas trailhead. Short Zorro was behind tall Max, so I tried to lean to capture both on the GoPro. Unfortunately I did not realize how much I was leaning; so we get this weird angle shot of the happy brothers...
"Having a blast! Can we run all day?" suggest the happy pair.

Breaking trail for the entire length of the "Baldy to Boreas" connector slowed us down a bit compared to our usual Baldy-to-Boreas outing; but no complaints here, fresh March snow is always a welcome event! The outing covered 8.1 miles with 950 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 111 days on the trails covering 954.6 miles with 111,300 feet of elevation climbed. 950 miles and counting! Woo Hoo!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday Freshies

Temperature around 10 degrees + 2-5 inches of fresh snow + light to moderate snow falling + a slight breeze = a Siberian Perfect Day on the trails.
Cruising along in 4-5 inches of fresh snow far back in French Gulch.
Nobody but us Siberians out on the trails today!

We had the "tuesday freshies" all to ourselves today as we were laying fresh tracks in 2-5 inches for almost the entire outing - wheeee!

Cresting over Sally Barber Mine with about 2 inches of fresh snow to ourselves.
Everywhere we went was the same thing - laying fresh tracks all over the trails!
French Gulch was untouched with increasingly deeper snow the further up we went.

A fun video clip of us topping 18 MPH laying fresh tracks along the trail. Excuse Zorro's minor blip about 20 seconds into the clip... This was clearly a lingering leftover from yesterday's visit from Planet Z; but it was the only blip of the entire day - phew, the aliens are gone :-)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

A day of fresh tracks covering 8.4 miles with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 110 days on the trails covering 946.5 miles with 110,350 feet of elevation climbed.