Sunday, April 5, 2020

Practice

As usual, the happy sled dog trio towing me to the end of a fun "Spring Crust Run"!
Whee - fun, fun, fun!
We went back to the same general area as yesterday's skijor outing. The basic rules for the National Forest during the COVID-19 shutdowns are "If it's not busy/full of people, then it's open for use!" Well, you will note there is virtually no evidence of other human beings in any of the photos from yesterday or today. We have a few "hidden gems" we typically use to avoid weekend crowds and now we are using them to avoid humans altogether :)  Notice I have not given a trail name to where we have been the last two days and, NO, I'm not telling :)

We started the outing with Zorro in the team again this morning and did a short out & back in the forest before going to explore the spring crust in the open meadows. Well, "out & back" - oh  those kids:
"Hey, 'out & back' - you expected different at the turnaround?" says the snow rolling goofs.
"Oh those kids!!!" adds Zorro checking in on the goofballs.
After a lap in the forest, we transitioned out into the vast meadows with a solid spring crust. Yesterday we were one Rudy foot shy of a triple hover husky (e.g., we had 11 of 12 feet off the ground). Well, back to the same meadow as yesterday and Practice Makes Perfect!!!
Synchronized Triple Hover Husky!
Wheeee!
Here we go for a BEAUTIFUL video of the perfect spring crust. We start out flying along the firm snow. All tracks you see in the crust are actually our own tracks from yesterday - complete social isolation for our social distancing on this terrain :)  Eventually we near the edge of the meadow and need to transition through some trees and into the next meadow. A quick "left" and then "right" from me to align the team and we transition through the trees perfectly! Once through the trees it is open meadow crust skijoring again until we meet up with Nancy at the end of the meadow. Perfect listening and execution from my partners!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Once meeting with Nancy we paused to drop elder Zorro before continuing on with young Jack and Rudy. How's everyone enjoying the morning?
"Oh my, I'm having a BLAST! I love skijoring!" says ecstatic Rudy.
"So much fun on my part of the outing!" adds happy Zorro.
"Yes, yes, but I need MORE!" says happy, but wanting to continue Jack.
Zorro came along for over 1/2 of yesterday's outing, so today he joined in for just the first 1/4 of the outing. After dropping the fun elder off with Nancy, Jack, Rudy & I went out and up high to get some additional distance and views. Here's a cool shot of the perfect crust as we head north:
Perfect crust for Jack & Rudy.
Nice view of Buffalo Mountain dead ahead of Rudy.
Peaks 1 & 2 of the 10 mile range are visible in the upper left.
The crust tour we were on above eventually ends at a steep drop off. Time to turnaround at the edge and look at the two upright & mature kids :) Also, a real nice view of Buffalo Mountain between Rudy's ears and Peak 1 directly above the end of Jack's tail and Peak 2 above the base of his tail. The "10 mile range" is a stretch of 10 miles with 10 different mountain peaks (Peaks 1 through 10). Pretty cool that 10 peaks naturally formed within a 10 mile span!
"We're UPRIGHT at a turnaround! Let's go, go, go!" says the happy pair.
We did turnaround and continue onward and upward. Eventually it was time to head back towards the trailhead and get a wonderful shot of Breckenridge Ski Resort:
Jack & Rudy cruising along the crust as the mountains and
ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort are in view across the valley.
The ski runs are on Peaks 10, 9, 8, 7, & 6 of the same 10 mile range
containing Peaks 1 & 2 above :)
Our original plan was to take Zorro along for a short stint at the beginning and then continue on with Jack & Rudy for a long, long run. But, I could feel the temperatures rising and feel the crust softening. As a result, the kids & I went out for a "long run" instead of a "long, long run" before it got too warm to stay afloat atop the crust: 7.1 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 140 days on the trails covering 955.6 miles with 87,000 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Perfect Crust

Perfect day for a skijor atop the solid spring crust, right guys?
"PERFECT indeed!" says the happy, happy trio!
With low temperatures in the 20s (F) this morning, we had hopes of a firm & frozen Spring Crust in vast meadows this morning. Oh boy were our hopes satisfied:
Beautiful shot of a perfect crust with my fun partners
flying along. Just a toe or two from Rudy shy of a triple hover husky :)
We started the day with the whole group and did a full lap around the meadow you see in the photo above and then 3 laps out & back across the middle of the meadow. The shot above is our first lap through the middle. All of these "out & back" laps required turnarounds, of course, right Jack?
"Turnaround, roll around!!!!!" demonstrates 'always rolling' Jack :)
"Look at the mature elder and younger!" says the Zorro & Rudy happy pair.
Come along for a quick glimpse of our 3rd pass through the crust in this wonderful meadow, You'll see some ski tracks here & there during the video - those are our tracks from the 1st and 2nd pass through this meadow. An endless meadow of solid crust all to ourselves this morning! Woo Hoo!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Eventually we turned out of the big meadow above and into a side meadow to meet Nancy and hand off elder Zorro for the end of his outing. Smaller meadow below, but still endless crust as far as the eye can see:
"Woo Hoo - endless crust!" declares the happy trio towing me to the end
of Zorro's leg of the outing.
After handing Zorro off to Nancy, the kids and I went out, up and back to higher meadows. Here's a nice shot of the crust higher up with the ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort coming into view across the valley.
Higher up, still the same perfect crust!
Nice views up high too!
You may have wondered about "upright Rudy" in the 3rd photo above while Jack was rolling a snow angel. Well, have no fear, Rudy roller was here :)
Really nice view of Breckenridge Ski Resort and the town of Breckenridge
at our turnaround point with the kids. Phew, Rudy is back into normal
"turnaround form" with Jack ;)
A day of crust, crust, endless crust  - what fun: 6.1 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 139 days on the trails covering 948.5 miles with 86300 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Angel View

Slightly blurry "shot from the front" as we end our first leg with Zorro, Jack & Rudy.
Despite being a little blurry, you can still make out all the smiles :)
Whee, whee, whee says the happy three!
We started the day as a full team on the trails of Peak 7. We got a few inches of fresh snow overnight and everyone knows that this time of year you get out early to use fresh snow before it gets tracked up and/or melts. As a result, there were a handful of existing tracks at the trailhead. But, we quickly left the busy main trail and took one of our favorite side trails. Once on the side trail, we were second tracks on the new snow with the trail wide enough for us to ignore the set track and make our own :)
Whee - fresh tracks for all 12 feet!
You can see the single pre-existing track to our left.
We spent most of the first 1/3 of the outing on this lesser used side trail and had a great time flying through the forest and whipping around bends in the trail.

Come along and watch the fun. But, pay attention to all the tight corners my pals take me through. They cut every corner very tight and I have to stay just as tight to keep pace behind them. Just watch how close the camera seems to cut by some of the trees and, remember, the camera is on my chest! A fun time winding through the forest and some good exercise for me to work the skis behind the tight cornering trio!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

After having elder Zorro along for the first 1/3 of the outing, we dropped him with Nancy (you'll see her waiting for us at the tail end of the video above). We then took the kids, Jack & Rudy, out for some additional exercise higher up on the mountain. Once we got out of the dense forest, it was a beautiful sun shining morning!
Nice shot of "hovering Jack" and "flying Rudy" as we are back on the main
trail (notice all the pre-existing tracks). Despite existing tracks, there
was still enough powder to tickle our toe in the freshies :)
A little further along and I paused to take in the nice view and check our time out on the trails. Well, a pause is a pause...
Pretty view for me.
The patented "stop, drop & roll" for the goofy kids.
Ok, the kids are upright again, time for some more speed & views further along the trail:
Fast Jack & Rudy as you can make out the tips of the snow
covered Rocky Mountains beyond the trees front
and left of us.
Once we were done exercising the kids, it was time to rejoin Zorro for 'end of run' treats for all:
"Glad you are back! Ready for treats!" says Zorro.
"All smile all around!" adds the happy kids :)
Some nice "early morning fresh snow" for an April 3rd fun run: 8.4 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 138 days on the trails covering 942.4 miles with 85,700 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Lap 1, Lap 2

No fooling here - we really had a freshly groomed speed track atop Rabbit Ears Pass this April Fool's Day!!!
Flying Jack & Rudy on the fresh groomie zoomie!
Look closely to our right to see the "rabbit ears rock formation" atop the
peak to the far right. You can just barely make out the gap between the
two rocks atop the peak - each rock is one of the ears
(try enlarging the photo to get a good view).
Given this year's strange COVID-19 events, you do not know when trails may or may not be groomed again this season. Some trails have announced they are done, while others are holding on and doing the occasional groom as long as crowds do not collect to violate group counts and/or social distancing.

Each groom we encounter from now until June will be a complete and wonderful surprise. We started the day with Jack & Rudy with the plan to add Zorro onto the team about 1/2 way through. When the kids and I saw the freshly groomed trail, we almost fell over with excitement. But, instead of falling over, we FLOORED it. Jack & Rudy topped 25 MPH skijoring this incredible trail treat this morning:
Oh my, look at that lift off the ground from the super fast youngsters. Zoom!!!
The kids and I did an "out & back " on this perfect trail. Once we met up with Zorro, we KNEW we were going to do another "out & back" on the same trail. A perfect groomie zoomie trail is an extreme treat for 11-3/4 year old Zorro. I was convinced that we were done with such groomed treats this season. With Zorro in the team, it was the same as the first lap out & back: ZOOM!
Woo Hoo - look at airborne Zorro!!! Airborne Jack in the middle and
"one foot shy" of a triple hover husky Rudy to the left.
Today's video highlight was fun to make. I have spliced together a segment of "lap 1" (with the kids) and "lap 2" (with the trio) on this incredible trail. What is really fun is that I ended the clip of lap 1 exactly were I started the clip of lap 2. So, what you are watching is 40 seconds of flying along a contiguous section of trail but the first 20 seconds is Jack & Rudy while the next 20 is Zorro, Jack, & Rudy. Fun clip to watch!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

It was an "out & back" both laps, so you know what that means... Here we are turning around in lap 2 and we have the ears of Rabbit Ears Pass in the background. As with the first photo, look closely and/or enlarge this shot. The rock formations atop the peak in the background are the ears. You can just make out the space between the two rocks atop the peak. Each rock is one of the ears :)
"I know all about the ears. But what about this FUN groomie zoomie?!?" declares happy Zorro.
"Zoom, zoom - gotta roll and cool our jets before restarting!' demonstrate the silly kids.
Zippy, zoomy laps on a fast track really makes you appreciate your 'end of run' treats!
"Fuel up - that was a fun day!" says the focused trio.
What an April Fool's Surprise this morning - topping 25 MPH with the kids and then topping 22 MPH with elder Zorro: 7.1 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 25 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 137 days on the trails covering 934.0 miles with 85,000 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Woo

Endless snow covered terrain atop Rabbit Ears Pass all to ourselves this morning!
Cruising with Zorro, Jack & Rudy with snow covered terrain
as far as the eye can see! Woo Hoo!
We did an "out & back" skijor near Dumont Lake at Rabbit Ears to start the morning with Zorro, Jack & Rudy. Of course, you all know what "out & back" leads to :)
The trio testing the limits of my "wide angel" camera lens as the
kids roll snow angels at our turnaround point.
Talk about social distancing :)
We spent today's outing on snowmobile trails at Rabbit Ears. There was a steady wind blowing all morning which lead to a light layer of wind blown powder over the otherwise frozen snowmobile tracks. Perfect conditions to go for an endless glide with my pals. Come along for a short glimpse into the morning's fun tour:
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

After doing a fun out & back with Zorro, we handed the fun elder off with Nancy so I could continue on with the kids, Jack & Rudy and get some extra exercise for the youngsters. We turned away from the wide open terrain you saw above with Zorro and headed up into the trees with the kids:
Zipping along as we weave through stretch of tree lined trail.
We did an "out & back" with the kids as well. After skijoring up into the trees for a while, it was time to turnaround again. We already rolled snow angels at the turnaround with Zorro, so what else should we do at a turnaround point? Well, Rudy had an idea :)
"WOOOO! We can WOOO instead of stop, drop & roll!" declares Rudy
turning to come wooing back to me.
"Hmmm, I think I prefer 'stop, drop & roll'!" adds happy Jack (Jack is not
a professional woo'er like Rudy ;)
After turning around in the trees, we came back to the wide open terrain where we started the day to meet up with Zorro & Nancy at the trailhead. Check out the following "power speed" shot of Jack & Rudy as we came out of the trees and back to wide open terrain:
Such power! Such speed! These kids are officially skijoring pros!!!
Back with Zorro and time to celebrate another fun day with our 'end of run' pork treats:
"Ready!" declares focused Zorro.
"Us too - what a fun day!" adds cute & smiling Jack & Rudy.
A fun day starting with Zorro and then continuing on to further exercise the endless kids, Jack & Rudy: 7.7 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 136 days on the trails covering 926.9 miles with 84,300 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Ears

I love 'end of run' treat time with my super sled dog pals!
Such happy, patient and attentive boys!
My favorite guys in the world! :)
Today's plan was to start our skijor atop Rabbit Ears Pass with Zorro, do a loop with the fun old Z, then hand him off to Nancy and continue on to give the youngsters, Jack & Rudy, some extra exercise (the kids NEED it :)

It started out just as we planned as we found a light layer of soft snow over set snowmobile tracks:
Off we go from the start zipping along in the soft snowmobile tracks!
Surprisingly, though, as nice as the prior photo looks, the tracks quickly dispersed within a 1/2 mile of our start and fanned left & right uphill into the trees. A fun ride for a snowmobile, but not quite want I wanted for older Zorro. So, we ended up abandoning the set trails and making our own path out & back (instead of making a loop). Look at what transpired at our turnaround point of the out & back - Zorro rolling snow angels!!!
"Head plant and roll!" demonstrates Zorro rolling a rare snow angel.
"Of course I joined in!" adds silly Jack with 3 legs fully extended :)
"Um, I'd like to keep running, are you two done yet?" asks that mature young Rudy (haha).
After the fun start with Zorro, Jack & Rudy took me off towards the ears of Rabbit Ears Pass. Look closely in the photo below at the mountain peak in front and slightly right of Jack & Rudy. You can just make out two large rocks atop the peak - these rocks are the "ears" for which Rabbit Ears Pass is named.
Zoom, zoom - the ears, the ears :)
Come along for today's video fun as we skijor towards the ears. The clip starts out without a view of the ears. Then, about 20 seconds in an the ears come into view and remain there for the remainder of the clip. If you can take your eyes off the ears, watch for the "bumpy trail" from about 10 to 25 seconds in the video as you'll see the camera (and, thus me) bouncing around. If your volume is up you'll also hear me comment, "Whoa, bumpy trail!" until it finally smooths out again as we sprint towards the ears!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Final shot of the morning's outing at take a look at "sprinting & hunting" Rudy. Today was the first time Jack & Rudy have been on this stretch of trail at Rabbit Ears without Zorro along. Now, years ago, we (Max, Zorro & myself) have seen moose from this stretch (3 different times). Jack & Rudy have never seen a moose along this stretch. But, in the kids' young skijoring career, they have been on this stretch with Zorro many times and Zorro ALWAYS kicks it up a notch in speed & intensity as this is a known moose stretch. Now, take a look at Rudy, sprinting while glancing to the right. I think Rudy has been listening to Zorro! Despite no visible moose today, Rudy took on Zorro's persona on today's moose stretch!
"I've never seen one, but Zorro always said, 'be moose aware' along this path before!' says
sprint & hunt Rudy!
"I'm waiting for the real thing!" adds forward focused Jack.
A gentle early run with snow rolling Zorro to start today and then a run to & from the ears with Jack & Rudy: 6.9 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 135 days on the trails covering 919.2 miles with 83,600 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Wild Ride

Getting everyone's attention before dishing out the end of run treats this morning:
"I smell them in your hands - dish them out!" says intense Zorro.
"Ready!" adds happy Jack.
"Oh yeah, end of run treats - I'm in tune now!" says la-la-land Rudy who
is *finally* joining the group for the treats :)
We did a fast & fun sprint through the dense forest trails to start this morning with Zorro. It was a wild ride flying through the forest, whipping around corners, behind my powerful trio on fast packed trails!
Approaching a "left whip" in the trail as Zorro and Rudy are beginning their
"left lean" to whip around the bend.
Hang on human!
All smiles as we come out of another weave in the trail and find Nancy waiting on the side for us. Look at Power Rudy taking the lead as Jack is on the outside of the recent corner and Zorro is lining up to give mom a big smile.
Power Rudy in the lead!!!
Cool Jack just off the lead as he is on the outside of the recent corner.
"Hi Mom - having a blast!" adds happy Zorro.
Here we go for a glimpse of the wild ride whipping around the forest. I am flying behind the power trio trying my hardest to keep the skis in pace with their tight & fast cornering! Whew, what a workout for the human!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

As you see in the video, that is where we met up with Nancy to drop elder Zorro from the team and take the kids, Jack & Rudy, out for another spin around the mountains.

The kids and I turned around and climbed uphill fast to get to some pretty views up high:
Nice views of the snow covered Rockies to our right as we
fly northbound along the upper elevation trails.
The youngsters and I did an "out and back" on the upper elevation trails. So, here's the usual turnaround of an out & back :)
"You stopped, we roll!" demonstrates the goofy snow rolling twins.
Nice dual action from Rudy as he is rolling a snow angel while eating snowcones!
Rolling snow angels done and the kids are back upright. Going south now and more nice views from way up high:
The mountain tops you see are the tops of Peaks 7, 8, 9 and 10 of
Breckenridge Ski Resort.
Pretty views up high, pretty sled dogs down the middle :)
A great fast & fun day starting with Zorro weaving through the forest and ending with Jack & Rudy sprinting up high: 9.8 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 134 days on the trails covering 912.3 miles with 83,000 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Wow

Laying fresh tracks in a couple of inches of new snow this morning.
Late March Freshies - Wow!
Whee - the late Mach freshies!!!!!
You don't see conditions much nicer than this on March 28th!!!
We split up this morning's into 2 halves. The first half with young Jack & Rudy and the second half adding elder Zorro into the team.

There was a couple of inches of fresh snow on the set trails as you see in the prior photo. But, the youngsters and I abandoned set trails for a while and found ourselves breaking trail plowing through deep, untouched powder off the beaten path. Go kids go!!!!
Beautiful shot of trail breaking Jack & Rudy as we plow through
deep snow off the beaten path!
After doing an off trail loop through the forest with Jack & Rudy, we added Zorro into the mix for an on trail romp with the cool old guy. What did we find with Zorro? Well, untouched fresh snow for as far as the eye could see (and a far as we wanted to skijor) - perfect conditions!

Come along for a fun ride of the late March freshies. My partners were having a blast laying fresh tracks all morning long! Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

If you looked closely in the video, you should have noticed a short stretch of wildlife tracks on the trail before us. The only time we were not first tracks on the trails this morning was when we encountered the occasional fox tracks on the trail before us. Fresh snow all to ourselves with the occasional fox out before us!
Fresh tracks behind Zorro, Jack & Rudy (look closely in my shadow so see Zorro's :)
At first I did not know if we were encountering the occasional fox or coyote tracks.
But, once you look at the size of Rudy's print next to the tracks, you know it
was a fox. A coyote track would have been as big or bigger than Rudy's
At a quick break on the trail while I checked our progress. Love this shot of happy Zorro & Jack; but, hey, where's Rudy?
LOVE the happy faces on these two!!!!
Don't worry, we did not drop Rudy ;)
Look behind Zorro and you see his back leg as he was
rolling a snow angel instead of giving me this WONDERFUL
attention I got from Zorro & Jack!
Oh, and don't worry, Jack rolled his daily snow angel too; just at a different turnaround point of the day!

How much fun did we have this morning? Well, just look at those happy faces above and those happy faces below!
Whee - laying fresh tracks ALL morning long!!!!
A beautiful late March morning with deep snow for the youngsters and then laying fresh tracks with elder Zorro for miles & miles: 6.8 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 133 days on the trails covering 902.5 miles with 82,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Woo Hoo - surpassing 900 miles for the season! 1000 is a given, will we reach 1100 or 1200? Stay tuned....


Friday, March 27, 2020

Crust Fun

I was having trouble getting the bag of 'end of run' treats open this morning, Zorro had a solution :)
"Just give me the whole bag - I'll fix it!" suggests ultra-focused Zorro trying
to help me open the bag :)
It was a beautiful bluebird morning to skijor the endless spring crust off the beaten path for miles and miles. What incredible social distancing!

Here's a fun shot of Zorro & Jack synchronized with flying Rudy to the left and endless spring crust as far as the eye can see. We did 3 laps around this vast meadow all to ourselves!
Hovering Zorro & Jack as flying Rudy kicks it into overdrive to the left.
Doing 3 laps around the same meadow means we had a couple of pauses to reset our direction. Well, a pause is a pause...
"Stopped, rolling!" demonstrates snow rolling Rudy.
"Snow angel acrobatics!" declares somersaulting Jack.
(yes, Jack often somersaults into his snow angels - what a goof)
"Kids, we've got ENDLESS crust - get up and go!" says all business Zorro.
After 3 laps around the meadow, we turned off into a slight narrower meadow to meet up with Nancy to handoff Zorro to end his part of the day's outing. A little narrower, but same results: endless crust:
Whee - we could go on forever!
Come along for our final stint of the outing with Zorro. We start out on the super fun crust until we eventually transition onto a short stretch of groomed terrain. Then we follow a left in the groom until finally passing Nancy and stopping to let elder Zorro off the team for the day.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Once Zorro was done with his share of the outing, I took the youngsters up & down the crust on Prospect Hill. We get such incredible views from at/above treeline on Prospect Hill!
Cool kids zooming along the Prospect Hill crust.
Magnificent view of the mountains and ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort
across the valley!
As I said, a beautiful bluebird morning to go "crust skijoring" for miles & miles. Elder Zorro came along for the 1/3 of the outing and the the kids did an fast up/down Prospect Hill: 6.8 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 132 days on the trails covering 895.7 miles with 81,700 feet of elevation climbed.