Friday, October 28, 2011


Cruising along Sally Barber Mine trail.
Notice the flowing creek off to the right. Conditions
are not "winter perfect" yet, but enough snow to ski
in predominantly shady areas of the trail.
"What, turnaround and redo the same trail? Huh? Why on earth would you repeat a trail you just conquered? We went up, we went down, what on earth do you expect to find a second time? Dude, you are losing it!" - Today's feedback and sentiment from Max & Zorro.

Second outing of the 2011/2012 season today. Conditions are still pretty sketchy in most areas; but some of the more shady trails have enough snow to go...

The trail from the French Gulch winter trailhead to Sally Barber Mine is one such "shady enough for good snow" trails this time of year. The only problem - well, this is a pretty short trail by Siberian standards (1.35 miles up & then down for a piddly 2.7 mile roundtrip). So, I decided, "Hey, we'll just go up/down turnaround and up/down again to get a short 5.4 mile run in today." All was going well, the first up/down was flying; then we had a hotdog treat before starting the second up/down. Herein was the problem - Max looked at me like, "Turnaround, huh? Dude, that is NOT what we do! We explore the backcountry, we don't do hamster wheel routes!" Zorro contributed, "Turnaround, huh? That doesn't sound fun at all, I think I'll bite my brother instead!"

Great plans gone awry... It is true that we never do repeat/hamster-wheel routes, but I did not expect the shock and disbelief from my partners at suggesting one. After some discussion and coaching, I did convince Max & Zorro that going back up the same route was better than doing nothing - so off we went back up to Sally Barber Mine. At the top, it was time to turnaround (again) and go back down. Zorro, in protest, "Nope, nope, nope - I am NOT a hamster. I'm gonna bite & tackle my brother until you take us on new terrain!" A lot more discussion and coaching and *finally* Zorro was back on board and we flew down the trail to the French Gulch trailhead.

All in, a very entertaining day. Lesson to the musher: Siberians do not do hamster wheels!

Vital Stats: 5.4 miles; 74m total time; 57m moving time; 1100 feet of total elevation gain; top speed of 18 mph. A nice workout skijoring up 1100 feet for such a short outing and route...

Max just finished rolling around in the snow to cool off (the camera man was
not fast enough to get a shot of the snow angel action). Yum, tasty snow!
Max looking over the terrain below. Zorro, in agreement, "You are right!
Yum, tasty snow!
Back at the French Gulch trailhead, sharing hotdog treats that we get at the
conclusion of every skijoring outing. Patient Zorro in the background, "Gimme
" Max in the foreground.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2011/2012 Season Goals

Every year, since 2008, when Max, Zorro & I hear the Breck Ski
Resort "fire up" their snow guns, we hike up the mountain to frolic
in the snow. When October 20th arrives, we wake up in anticipation
every morning until the guns finally fire up. This year was the 26th...
Goal Setting...

Following an incredible 2010/2011 Skijoring Season, Max, Zorro and I got together and discussed what we hoped to accomplish this 2011/2012 season.

Once I explained to them that I really cannot go 20-30 miles every single day, we settled on the following reasonable goals for the season:

1) Miles Traveled Goal: 500.
2) Top Speed Goal: 31 mph.
3) Days on the Trails Goal: 55.
4) Elevation Ascended Goal: 65,000 ft.
    Ready... Bring on the snow...

    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Season Opener

    At the Hoosier Pass trailhead. Patiently
    awaiting our "end of run" hotdog rewards!
    The 2011/2012 Skijoring Season is officially ON!

    We had an early October storm the last 2 days - starting with rain and then improving to snow. Not much accumulation in town (maybe 2 inches); but Max, Zorro & I decided to test the upper elevations for better accumulation to begin our 2011/2012 Skijoring Season.

    We attempted to skijor Bemrose Ski Circus at the top of Hoosier Pass (between Breckenridge and Alma). The elevations would start at 11,500 ft and extend into the mid 12000s if the conditions permitted. We knew we were "pushing the envelope" to go skijoring this early in Fall with this mild of a storm. But...

    We haven't skijored since mid-May, our bones are rotting, we need skijoring. So, push the envelope we did!

    Was there enough snow for skijoring? "YES!" for the up routes, "no" for most of the down routes. The highlights:
    1. The first 2 miles had 1100 feet of elevation gain with about 3-4 inches of powder below 12,000 and up to 8 inches of powder over 12,000. Our top uphill speed was 10mph! There were many rocks exposed through the shallow powder below 12,000 feet - letting me know it would be an interesting & risky route down...
    2. First outing of the season - the human was not in top form... I made a wrong turn in the upper parts of the trail (there were no tracks, it was up to me to lead us "on trail"). After skijoring up a pretty steep ravine, we came around a blind right to find a fully exposed rock wall to continue up. There was not enough snow in the ravine to skijor back down (you can avoid exposed rocks going up, not when going down with Siberian propulsion), so we had to remove the skis and hike (and crawl) up the rock wall until the terrain leveled out again and had good snow cover.
    3. First outing of the season - the Siberians were not in top form... Zorro forgot the meaning of "right" at one point and was convinced that "right" meant "sharp left, sprint towards the pack of deer" - it took much explanation to re-introduce Zorro to the proper "right". Max had a slight issue with "leave it, let's go" meaning to "ignore all those deer tracks and keep going forward" - he is an expert listener/leader once he gets back into form.
    4. Below 12,000 feet, going down was impossible. There were far too many exposed rocks to surprise and annihilate the human at Siberian downhill speeds. So, we had to carry the skis and hike/run down.
    5. Above 12,000 feet it was WONDERFUL! We were breaking trail in 5-8 inches of fresh powder - if only we didn't have to come back down...
    All in, fun for a season opener, but we pushed the envelope a little too far and had to spend more time hiking & climbing than we did skijoring. But - the 2011/2012 Skijor Season is ON - bring on the snow!

    Vital Stats: 4.1 miles. 90 minutes total time: a measly 35 minutes skijoring time, 40 minutes hiking & climbing over non-skiable terrain, 15 minutes stopped/trail evaluation time. Top speed of 13mph and total elevation gain of 1,100 feet.
    Cruising up the lower section of Bemrose. Note the deer tracks on the trail in front
    of us. First outing of the season lead the Siberians to forget that we ignore tracks that
    go "off trail" and keep going forward. We'll be back to top form soon.
    Taking a break to survey the trail in the upper elevations of Bemrose.
    Bemrose trailhead at Hoosier Pass on the Continental Divide.
    Nice scenery from the upper elevations of Bemrose. Note that we are past all the
    shrubbery at this point and breaking trail in up to 8 inches of fresh powder. Max & Zorro
    wondered "why" we had to go back down, it was so peaceful and skiable above 12,000 ft!