Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Exercise Before Turkey

Max & Zorro blazing fresh tracks up Boreas
A delayed post... We did a "pre turkey" outing last Monday (Nov 22nd) before hitting the road for a Thanksgiving holiday full of food, food food.

A nice snowfall Sunday left us with some fresh powder on Boreas Pass. We did our 9 to 10 mile route most of the way up Boreas. After the first 20ish minutes we had out skied existing tracks and we were the fresh powder trailblazers for the next 50 minutes up Boreas. The powder was about 3 inches the first 2/3 of the route until we passed Bankers Tank. Wind blowing through Bakers Tank left us with 1 foot drifts to plow through! After Bakers Tank, the fresh powder kept getting deeper - reaching 6, then 8 and up to 10 inches for trailblazing fun!
Fresh, untouched powder on the trail ahead of us!

Top speed on this tour: 13 MPH.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

French Gulch & Sally Barber Mine Tour

Max, Zorro and I approaching Sally Barber Rd/Barney Ford TH.
Last Thursday we did a variation of our Sally Barber Mine Tour from Monday. Another "short tour" (just over 1 hour) visiting more of French Gulch Trail and then Sally Barber Mine.

Wednesday and early Thu were sunny leaving French Gulch Road with too many exposed dirt patches to ski. So, we started at the French Gulch Winter Trailhead.

The Route: French Gulch Winter Trailhead up French Gulch Trail for just over 1 mile; back down French Gulch Trail until the Sally Barber Trail junction; up Sally Barber Trail past Sally Barber Mine and down to Sally Barber Road at the Barney Ford Trailhead.
Vital Stats: 5.1 miles; 1h 20m total (1h 10m moving); 4.4 MPH moving average; 15 MPH top speed.

The snow was getting a bit "sticky" on French Gulch (thus our slower than normal 4.4 MPH average). Anxious for some new powder (a storm is rolling tonight!)....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sally Barber Mine Tour

The incredible November snow continues (2 feet in some areas). We did a short, 1 hour tour of French Gulch and Sally Barber Mine on Monday.
Sally Barber Mine (at the high point of Sally Barber Trail)

The Route: Started from the B&B Trailhead on French Gulch Road; skied up French Gulch Road to the French Gulch Winter Trailhead; continued on French Gulch Trail; veered right onto Sally Barber Trail; skied up to Sally Barber Mine; skied down to the Barney Ford Trailhead on Sally Barber Road.
The Vital Stats: 4.6 miles; 57 min tour (53m moving); 5.2 MPH moving average, 14.2 MPH top speed.

French Gulch/Sally Barber Route: BnB Trailhead through French Gulch Trailhead to Sally Barber Trail through Sally Barber Mine and to Barney Ford Trailhead on Sally Barber Road.
  • After a significant snow, French Gulch Road is skiable. it is a dirt road with the only real winter traffic being those driving to the French Gulch Winter Trailhead.
  • The initial down slope from Sally Barber Mine, when attached to 2 Siberian Huskies, is a doozy! I was in a 14 MPH snowplow to keep under control! FUN!
Taking a Break at Sally Barber Mine.
1) Yes, Max's head seems to always be buried in the snow during our breaks!
2) Yes, Zorro is eating snow off the fence for his "water break" :-)

A blast! Here's hoping the November snow continues!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Up & Back on Boreas Pass

The skijoring season is officially ON in the Colorado High Country. On Saturday morning we headed out to conquer Boreas Pass Rd from Breckenridge.

The conditions, for mid-November, could not have been better. After about 30 minutes we had "out skied" all the existing tracks, meaning we were the "fresh track trailblazers" in a mecca of 4-8 inches of untouched fluffy powder.
A look back at our fresh tracks!
A look ahead at our fresh/untouched powder!
Here we go: Siberian Husky Heaven
The view from our break at the Boreas Pass Summit.
Do not ask how Max & Zorro got reversed into left/right position (we run with Max in the right slot since he is the listener/lead and I can control best with my right paying attention). When stopped, the "houdini duo" can swap slots in the blink of an eye (don't worry, they hold their assigned slots when moving ;-)
Taking a break at the Boreas Pass Summit.
Frolicking in the snow (apparently I was the only one tired after 6 miles of  nonstop up!)

The Trip: 6 miles up (Boreas Winter Trailhead to Section House at the Boreas Summit) and then 6 miles down.
The Duration: 3 hours total - 2.5 hours moving, 1/2 hour stop time (giving the human a rest at the Summit and posing for a group photo with some snowshoe tourists we encountered on the way down). A 4.8 MPH moving average - pretty good for our first 3 hour outing of the season.
Top Speed: 15 MPH. On the way down we were passed by 3 snowmobilers. Zorro's "Husky Rule #1" is "NONE shall pass." He and a perfectly willing Max broke into a dead sprint to keep up with the snowmobiles - we hit 15 MPH in 3-4 inches of powder while in chase.

And, there's fresh powder again this morning - if only the human was not still recovering from yesterday's 3 hour exercise adventure...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What is Skijoring?

I often get blank stares or "what on earth are you talking about" looks when I say, "I skijor."

Living in Breckenridge means people always ask, "do you ski or board?" I then answer, "I skijor," and the blank stares begin.

So, skijoring defined:
  • 1 part human on cross country skis.
  • 2 parts Siberian Husky in sledding harnesses (or any 1-2 dogs that love to pull & run).
  • 1 part gang line attached around the waist/hips of the human and attached to the husky harnesses.
The human says, "Go!" (or whatever release command you have) and you are a forward propelled cross country skiing machine.

Things you need to teach and entrust in your 4-legged skiing pals:
  • Go (or forward) command - this one requires no training with Siberian Huskies.
  • Left & Right Turn commands - I teach these on a leash on walks from day 1, so it comes natural once in harness.
  • On By (or "leave it" or "ignore those other dogs" or "ignore those cows") command - I will be continuing to perfect this one the rest of my life ;-)
  • Stop (or wait) command - the most unnatural command for a Siberian Husky to learn. My trick: I keep a pack of sliced hotdogs with me while skijoring; to my huskies, "wait" means, "STOP - FREE HOTDOGS!"  Works for me...
  • Easy (or slowdown) command - another hard one for the Siberian Husky vocabulary; but we are getting it.
  • Over to the Right (or Left) command (moving from one side of a wide trail to another) - I teach this one on walks too, so it comes naturally.
But, most important of all these commands: you need to get to a level of trust in your skijor group. Once you all "feel" the trust, the commands start to work.

Good luck and HANG ON ;-)