Saturday, February 23, 2019

Flirts

Zorro & Rudy the flirts on the trail this morning.
All business Jack keeps us powering forward!
"Hi guys!" says flirtatious Zorro to the backcountry skiers who stepped aside
to let us trot on by.
"Hi!!! Aren't I cute?!?!?" adds flirtatious young Rudy.
"Guess I have to do all the work. On by I go!" adds all business Jack.
It was a gorgeous bluebird day in French Gulch this morning. We had a few inches of fresh snow overnight and then beautiful blue skies this morning. French Gulch had two set narrow tracks (the out & back track) with powder in between. Polite Jack and Rudy gave Zorro the narrow set track (at 10 3/4 years old, he gets the easy track :) while Jack took the deepest of the middle powder and Rudy took lesser powder just out of the set track. What polite youngsters!
Set track for Zorro. Powder track for Jack. Mini powder track for Rudy.
What a gorgeous morning!
Different part of the trail and the same politeness. Come along and watch as we have the set track for Zorro, the mid track for Rudy and the powder track for Jack. Jack got quite the workout today! But, that's ok: he's fully matured and in the prime of his life - he needs the extra exercise :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Sometimes we flirt, sometimes we do a fast & impressive on by...
"Hi... bye as we go on by!" say the focused trio.
Once again, such politeness from the youngsters in our trail configuration.
At our turnaround point of the outing and...
"Phew, I've been doing a lot of work - need to roll a snow angel first!" says goofy Jack.
"This is FUN!" adds happy Rudy.
"Turnaround? Got it, here I come!" states leader Zorro.
Love the happy & focused trio as we share our end of run pork treats:
"We couldn't be any more focused!" state the fun trio!
Politeness from the youngsters all morning and flirting with the backcountry skiers: 4.7 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 59 days on the trails covering 320.5 miles with 28,550 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, February 22, 2019

First Sally Barber

Young Jack & Rudy's first skijor by the historic Sally Barber Mine.
Veteran Zorro's 144th time skijoring by the mine :)
"Hi mine, bye mine!" say the trio trotting on by the historic Sally Barber Mine.
We made it from the trailhead to the mine in record time. We have started calling Jack the "buffalope" since he is the uphill force in our skijoring team this winter. As a puppy we called him the jackalope, so it is only fitting that he is now the buffalope with his strong back legs and uphill drive! We got up to the mine so fast, we skijored halfway down the other side before turning around and returning to the trailhead. Happy boys at our turnaround point:
"Proud to be a buffalope!" declares happy Jack.
"He really comes in handy uphill!" adds happy Zorro.
"Phew, gotta cool my belly after keeping pace with a buffalope!" adds cute Rudy.
We found ourselves laying fresh tracks in an inch or so of fresh snow for part of the outing:
Freshies! You can just barely make out a snow poof behind Jack.
Now the video counterpart of the prior photo. Come along as we lay fresh tracks high up near Sally Barber Mine. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Fun "shot from the front" of the happy sled dogs completing the days run:
"Hi mom!" says Zorro flashing a smile towards Nancy with the camera.
"Still going!" adds happy Jack focused forward.
"Yes, still going!" adds happy Rudy focused forward too.
Happy boys again as we gather for our end of run pork treats:
"We LOVE skijoring!!!!" declare the happy trio.
The first sally barber fun run for the youngsters: 5 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 58 days on the trails covering 315.8 miles with 28,150 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Top Speed 24 MPH

Young Jack & Rudy's first time topping 24 MPH skijoring this morning! Zoom!!!!
Flying Trio as we hit the youngsters top speed ever.
Two milestones this morning. It was the first time skijoring 6 days in a row for young Jack & Rudy. What did the 6th day in a row yield? The second milestone: topping 24 MPH for the first time for the two youngsters. I'd say "6 in a row" has got them into a real skijor groove!

There were two stretches on our outing where we most likely topped 24 (as clocked by the GPS shown in the photo above). The first zoom was the photo above. The second zoom is the video below. Come along as we are skijoring fast, then slow slightly into a hard left and then come out of the left like speed demons! 24 MPH coming out of the left? Likely...
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

The following photo is a great capture of our team personalities. If I (or my skis) ever make a new or concerning sound, Jack will immediately look back to check my status. Zorro will do the same, but as a 9 year skijor veteran, there are very few sounds he has not heard and cataloged. Rudy, on the other hand, is oblivious to any sounds. As long as we are making forward progress, Rudy could not care less what sounds are coming from behind him :)
"You ok back there?" asks happy & curious Jack wondering about the sound & placement of
my left ski (it is far 'out of track' to try and give me some speed control).
"He's fine, done this a million times!" declares Zorro.
"I don't care what he's doing if we are moving!" states all business Rudy.
This isn't to say that Rudy does not care about me. In fact, when I have fallen with the trio, Rudy shows the most concern for my well being as he will circle back to check on me quickly. It is just that if we are moving, Rudy is all for it and I can make whatever noises I want - just keep moving :)

At our turnaround point of the day's outing. Happy kids:
"Let's turn it around and get moving!" says happy Rudy.
"Turning around already? Well, ok." adds Zorro who wanted to keep going forward.
"Hey Z, what are you doing over there? You are usually first to listen and turn around!" adds
happy Jack wondering why Zorro is last to listen (a true rarity).
Celebrating 6 days in a row and topping 24 MPH at the end of the day's run:
"Ready for 'end of run' treats!" declares focused Zorro.
"Me too!" adds happy Jack.
"Hi mom!" says silly Rudy who is always last to remember we get 'end of run' treats.
6 days in a row + 24 MPH - will there be a 7th tomorrow? Unfortunately, no, Zorro & Jack are certified Therapy Dogs who read with kids at the local elementary school on Thursdays. I learned years ago that if you skijor and then go to school, you tend to fall asleep instead of listen to the kids read (not very exciting for the kids :)

So, we end our first long string at '6 in a row, topping 24': 5.4 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 57 days on the trails covering 310.8 miles with 27,650 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Great Partners

Nice shot of my great skijor partners safely towing me through the winter gate at French Gulch!
Gently and safely towing the human through the "pedestrian opening" at the French Gulch gate.
Think about everything that could go wrong in the prior photo. All three can fit under the gate and the trail is fast packed. So, they could easily ignore my slowing, go under the gate and slam me into it! The pedestrian opening is narrow and bumpy; so they could also approach this too fast and slam me into the poles. But, my partners are perfect and go gently through preserving the human! Yay!

Come along for the video counterpart of the gate crossing. Everyone slows when they feel tension from me slowing. Then all three go gently & safely through the gate and pause for me to get through. Then, once I give the "ok" they do what they really want - sprint fast! Finally a fun "branch in the trail" obstacle for Rudy & I to navigate over/around as the video clip comes to a close. What great partners!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Today was a new milestone for Jack & Rudy. Building on yesterday's milestone of skijoring 4 days in a row, today was the first time skijoring 5 days in a row for the youngsters. Any signs of getting tired? Ha!!!!!
Beautiful shot of the synchronized flying trio!
I love this one section of the French Gulch Trail where we are in a valley that was cleared for mining hundreds of years ago that gives great views now.
Nice shot of the running sled dogs.
Beautiful shot of some pretty scenery.
The reward for safely and then quickly towing the human out & back the gulch? End of run pork treats!
"You have our FULL attention!" declare the extremely focused trio.
A fun run out & back in French Gulch and some video proof of just how great these three are as a skijoring team! 5.8 miles traveled with 450 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 56 days on the trails covering 305.4 miles with 27,150 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, February 18, 2019

4 in a Row

First time skijoring 4 days in a row for both Jack & Rudy.
Oh boy is this skijoring trio really maturing into a well oiled machine!
"Turnaround? Ok!" says happy Zorro at our turnaround point of the outing.
"I'm listening. Duck under the gangline and here I come." adds happy Jack turning around with Zorro.
"Why? Why? Why? Why turnaround?!?!?!" questions 'go all day' Rudy.
Skijoring 4 days in a row is a nice accomplishment for the two youngsters. We are still keeping all outings with Rudy under 30 minutes. Soon he'll be old enough for us to let him run longer. As you can see in the prior photo, Rudy already thinks he is mature enough to go forever. He questions every turnaround command :)

Another first on the trails today too - our first "Planet Z" moment from one of the youngsters. Our first full season skijoring, Zorro was 2 and Max was 3 (Zorro was 1 when we introduced him to the concept but 2 once we finally got a full season). Zorro was a wild 2 year old and would frequently dork with Max on the trails. We labeled this behavior "Planet Z" as in "Zorro, what are you doing? What planet are you from?!?" Well, I fully expected the following to happen: Rudy is also from Planet Z. See for yourselves:
"Dorking with Jack, dorking with Jack! Poke, poke, poke!" demonstrates Rudy from Planet Z.
"Get out of my face kid!" responds Jack. Not surprising that mellow Jack is NOT from Planet Z
and very expected that wild Rudy is!
"Don't know what you are talking about. Nor do I care - he's not dorking with me so
I'll keep on going!" adds veteran Zorro who refutes all tales about Planet Z from
his childhood :)
Luckily visits from Planet Z are generally short lived and skijoring resumes:
Flying along the fast groomed trail. Zoom!
Today's video fun is a wild one. We are on the trail known as Gluteus Maximus at Breckenridge Nordic Center. It has this name from the steep grades along the trail. A cross country skier gets a really workout on the glutes traversing this terrain. I, on the other hand, get a ridiculous workout of the quads and knees as I get thrown up, down and around this trail behind the speed demons. You know that feeling on a roller coaster when your stomach "goes into your throat" on steep dips? Well, that's the same feeling you get skijoring Gluteus Maximus behind these three!!!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Finally, the end of the day's run and another steep section of trail as we zoom past Nancy. The trail ends just ahead at a closed gate. Look at my right ski almost perpendicular to the trail trying to keep under some minimum control behind these beasts!
"Ow, my quads & knees hurt!" :)
What a day... 4th skijor in a row, proof that Rudy is also from Planet Z and a quad & knee numbing abuse of the human (just kidding, it wasn't abuse, I really did have fun): 5.4 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 55 days on the trails covering 299.6 miles with 26,700 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Wow

We made it all the way to "Upper French Gulch" today while still keeping within our 30 minute limit for young Rudy's skijors. Wow!!!!
"I say we keep going!" declares Rudy focused on the narrow trail ahead.
"I'm game to keep going too!" adds all business Zorro.
"Huh? What trail? We stopped, I roll!!!" demonstrates goofy Jack.
I had said recently that we would not make it to Upper French Gulch with Rudy until he was allowed to skijor longer than 30 minutes. Well, today the monster sled dog trio proved me wrong. I was shocked to get into the upper terrain with them while staying within Rudy's 30 minute limit. These 3 are developing into quite the skijoring machine this winter! Upper French Gulch is either a narrow single track (as you see above) or untouched and you are breaking trail in deep snow. We only skijored about 10 yards on the narrow upper trail; but, still, making it this far was impressive.

The lower and middle sections of French Gulch are always wide, fast and typically packed. Zoom:
Flying along the fast packed middle of the gulch.
For today's video fun. Come along and see what the lower & mid sections of the gulch look like. Partway through the video you'll see one of the private cabins in the gulch and the source of the shallow snow cover on the trail (i.e., the evil person occasionally plows the gulch). This trail is a very rough and rocky dirt road in the summer and, with such shallow snow cover, you get to see me bouncing around on rough terrain behind my sprinting partners. A workout for me to stay in control and upright!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

End of the day's run and we are in the French Gulch parking lot with extremely thin snow cover. Jack & Rudy have learned from Zorro's guidance to go slow on thin cover or you might break the human (and then no more skijoring). Good Boys!
"Keep it slow and we can keep going!" says Zorro setting a safe jog pace for the
youngsters to follow.
End of run means end of run pork treats! Yum!
"Tasty!" says Zorro taking a pork slice from me.
"Our turn!!!" say focused Jack & Rudy.
Love the youngsters on the high snow pile to get eye to eye with me :)
A ridiculously fast run out & back in French Gulch: 5.6 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 54 days on the trails covering 294.2 miles with 26,200 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Flirting

There was a lot of flirting to be done on popular Boreas Pass this busy holiday weekend!
Zorro, Jack & Rudy LOVE to flirt!!!
"Hi - aren't we cute!!! Thanks for letting us through!" say the flirts cruising by a pair
of skiers who stepped aside to watch us trot by.
We had so many chances to flirt. Zorro, Jack & Rudy took EVERY opportunity to entertain and put smiles on the faces of people all over Boreas Pass. So many different and fun encounters. Come along for the fun.

Entertaining a couple of kids...
"Hi!!!!" says flirtatious Jack.
"Coming through!" say Zorro & Rudy.
Putting smiles on a couple of guys towing their supplies up Boreas. There are two huts at the top of Boreas that people stay overnight after skiing all the way up the pass.
"Let me show you how to 'on by'!" demonstrates veteran Zorro.
"Hi people!!!" say the youngsters Jack & Rudy.
We stunned a group who didn't notice us until the last second as we flew by. Look closely and you can see the open & stunned mouth on the woman in the black coat. "Oh My God!!!!" was all she could say as we flew by :)
"Aren't we fast & impressive!" demonstrate the fast sled dogs.
So many chances to flirt on the trails, a single snowshoer was simply ho hum...
"Hi... Bye!" say the cruising on by trio. Nice work on the inside by young Rudy!
We found contraptions that should be towed by sled dogs, not people :)
"Dude, you should let us haul that sled!" say the working dogs.
Ending the day's run back at the Boreas parking lot and the flirting goes on....
"Coming through - made you smile!!!" say the pretty sled dogs trotting on by again.
A very flirtatious day up & down Boreas Pass: 5 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 53 days on the trails covering 288.6 miles with 25,650 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Spray

Catching air as we fly along the fresh snow over the fast groomed trail at Gold Run Nordic Center!
Perfect Hover Husky Trio!!
Love the snow poofs behind & under all 3 as we had a layer of fresh snow to enjoy
over the fast groomed terrain.
We found ourselves laying fresh tracks in 2-4 inches of snow on the side trails this morning and also laying fresh tracks in 1-2 inches of snow on the main trail. Freshies all day - fun!

The trio was really in a nice groove laying fresh tracks on the side trails. We were going so fast that they kept spraying snow from their tracks back into the GoPro and me (including my face)! Look closely at the photo below. The shade to the right lets you see the snow spray coming off the skijoring machines and into me (the white speckles against the shade). Need some "snow flaps" on this trio :)
Laying fresh tracks and spraying the human with powder from our power!
Here we go laying freshies on the side trail. Wheeee! If you watch closely, at around 8-10 seconds into the video you can see some of the snow spray flying back into me (the shadows make the spray more visible).
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Speaking of spray... Look at the snow spray from Jack's back legs as he rolls a snow angel at our midpoint break. It was "snow spray all day" :)
"Fun day to spray!!!" says focused Zorro.
"We may be stopped; but I'm still spraying snow!" demonstrates comical Jack.
"Once again, I'm in la-la land!" adds silly Rudy off by himself :)
Due to heavy traffic, Nancy was late to pick us up at the end of the run. So, instead of getting an "end of run" photo of the 4 of us, you get an up close & personal of the happy trio from the GoPro on my chest:
"We are the happiest sled dogs in the world!" declare the happy trio as we end the days run.
A fast day laying fresh tracks: 5.5 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 52 days on the trails covering 283.6 miles with 25,250 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Timber

A hilarious "timber" from Jack as he falls into his patented snow angels at our turnaround point of the morning's outing :)
"Timber!" demonstrates comical Jack.
"What a goof!" says happy Zorro.
"I can't bear to look!" adds cute Rudy.
We had a fast & fun skijor on the groomed trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center this morning. I love the following shot of Zorro & Jack. Rudy is just barely out of sync - almost a perfect hover husky trio:
The adults (Zorro & Jack) as a perfectly synchronized skijor machine.
Big Rudy just barely out of sync. We cannot call him "little Rudy" any longer as he is
bigger than both Zorro & Jack! Can't wait until the brain matches the body :)
Some video fun from the day. Come along as we are flying along the fast trail. Near the end of the video, Jack decides he wants to "change lanes". It is beautiful to watch him slow, step back, change lanes and the launch back into the group. Impressive skills considering we were running in the neighborhood of 20 MPH!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Why the lane change from Jack? Well, I've come to learn he really loves to run in shallow shoulder powder if it exists. After executing the perfect lane change, I watched him dip in & out of shoulder powder:
"Love dipping my toes in the shoulder powder!" declares fun Jack. Notice the "snow poofs"
behind him from his dips in&out of the shallow shoulder.
There are a few "monster dips" on the trail we took. I know to slow and/or stop to get under control before letting the strong trio launch me into a dip. We were going so fast today, I decided to come to a complete stop before entering one of the dips....
"But why stop before launching?!?" asks perplexed Rudy.
"Just say 'when', I'm ready!" declares happy Zorro.
"You ok back there?" asks always polite Jack.
Notice the CAUTION sign on the tree behind Rudy. This is why we are stopped to collect
ourselves. If they have to warn a cross country skier about upcoming steep terrain, imagine
what happens when you enter the dip behind three sled dog machines!!!!!
End of the day's run as I plant my left ski to slow the endless kids:
"Can we go again?" ask the happy happy trio!
Fast & fun but still short for young Rudy (he may be big, but he is still in the 'limited time/distance' age): 5.2 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 51 days on the trails covering 278.1 miles with 24,850 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Jack on the Inside

Zorro & Jack had a great time doing a "big boys" skijor on the trails with dog sled teams from Good Times Adventures this morning.
"Yes - we had a BLAST!" declare the super happy pair.
When I say "big boys" skijor, that means young Rudy did not come along as we did a distance further than he can do yet. The adults, Zorro & Jack, get to hit the trails without Rudy about once a week to get in a 8-10 mile skijor. Come along for today's fun....

We were cruising along the main trail when a dog sled team came from around a corner and was heading up the trail our direction. I was excited to do a "head to head moving on by" with Zorro & Jack; but, alas, the team turned left and off the main trail before we could connect.
"Wrong way guys - we are straight ahead!!!" yell Zorro & Jack :)
The large black dot directly ahead of Zorro is the musher and the little black dots to the
right of the musher are the sled dogs.
Cruising around, trying to find a dog sled team to flirt with. We kept spotting them on a different trail than ours. Fun to watch but not able to flirt:
"Over here!!!! Over here!!!" says Zorro & Jack.
You can barely make out the musher in the far left of this photo although we could see
him and his dog team clearly.
Eventually we found a team on the same trail as us but it was a narrow side trail only wide enough for a single team. So, I pulled Zorro & Jack back to let them pass on by.
"Hi friends!" says Jack to the 8 dog team running by.
Zorro is to the left of Jack, just out of the camera as I had everyone pulled in close to
not cause a problem with the passing team on such a narrow trail.
Finally, we found a team paused on the wide main trail. Time to cruise on by. Notice anything new in the following photo? Jack is on the inside track!!!! Today was his first "on by" being on the inside. To date, Zorro has been on the inside providing guidance; but today Jack executed perfectly on the inside himself!
"Hi guys, coming through..." say Zorro & Jack.
Here we go with the video counterpart to the prior photo. It starts with us flying along the trail until we come upon 2 people in the middle of the trail. The people are not with a dog sled which means they fell off the sled! Not to worry, we follow them to the stopped dog sled just ahead and then I stop Zorro & Jack to let them get reorganized. I skipped the reorganization in the video (just a bunch of people milling around) until they are finally in a position that we can pass. If you look closely the guide at the front of the group raises his had to tell us "ok to come on by" and we take off and cruise by. Jack gets a little distracted as we go by, but he only slows and does not stop or drift towards the team. Good boy Jack!!!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Fun with the big boys flirting with the sled dogs: 8.4 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 50 days on the trails covering 272.9 miles with 24,350 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Love You Man

"Love You Man!" shouts Rudy to big brother Zorro as we fly along the trails in French Gulch :)
"Love you man! So happy to be a sled dog with my big bros!!!" shouts happy Rudy as we sprint along.
I divide French Gulch into three areas, each with very different terrain. There is lower French Gulch which is a popular and well traveled trail. The prior photo is in lower French Gulch and, as you see, there are well established tracks on each side of the wide trail (the "out" and "back" tracks).

Jack & Rudy have adopted a nice polite configuration on our French Gulch excursions. Come along and watch as the kids have given older Zorro the "set track" while Jack drifts in/out of the deeper right shoulder and Rudy drifts in/out of the middle powder. So polite to give your elder the set track as we fly along...
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

After lower French Gulch, you get into what I call middle French Gulch. The middle is less frequently used and you often find yourselves in a narrow single track or laying fresh tracks. Today was Rudy's first dip into middle French Gulch. We are still keeping his runs to 30 minutes with one mandatory break. We go as far as we can in 30 minutes. As Rudy is maturing, our 30 minutes are getting longer in distance with today's example of making it into the mid gulch in our short outing. The reward for making it to the mid? Fresh tracks!!!
Those are our "out tracks" to the left as we fly back along the right side of the trail laying
fresh tracks out/back in the middle of French Gulch.
Rudy has yet to make it to upper French Gulch and that will never happen until we expand his runs past 30 minutes. What do you usually find in the upper gulch? Tons of snow and aerobic trail breaking skijoring. Soon Rudy, soon...

Time to turnaround in the mid gulch and guess what? :)
"He's at it again!" states Zorro about Jack's turnaround antics.
"And everyone calls me the 'puppy brain'?!?!" adds happy Rudy.
"Yes, I'm a snow angel rolling goof and I love it!" adds goofy Jack.
A short but very fast run out & back in French Gulch. Everyone earned the 'end of run' pork treats:
"My turn!" states focused Zorro.
"Me next!" adds happy Jack.
"Me me me!!!!" says happy Rudy.
Our furthest 30 minute skijor in the French Gulch backcountry: 4.9 miles traveled with 450 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 49 days on the trails covering 264.5 miles with 23,550 feet of elevation climbed.