Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year in Review

Today we concluded our last skijor run of 2013.
It was an absolutely incredible year!

The summary of our skijoring in 2013!

The previous photo says it all - happy faces and an incredible year on the trails. The 2013 year spans the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 skijor seasons (the 2013 portions, obviously :-)

Every part of the year was a landmark for us, including the amazing fact that we were on snow in 10 of the 12 months of the year! Here is a breakdown of our year, by month:

Days on trails
Miles traveled
Elevation climbed
(in feet)
141 outings, 1224.1 miles, 152,400 feet in elevation

On snow every month except July & August - wow. Sure, June and September were small, but even one day on snow in those months is a banner year.

If Jan-Jun 2014 is anything like Jan-Jun 2013, then our "2013/2014 season" is going to be unbelievable!

Tails crossed as we come out of a forested stretch of trail and into an open meadow today.
"Tails crossed for a 2014 like this 2013!" express Max & Zorro.

Today's final run of 2013 covered 7.4 miles in Indiana Creek with 850 feet of elevation climbed.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 56 days on the trails covering 482.8 miles with 56,850 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 26 MPH.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Fast Day

It was a great, fast day on the trails in the Swan Valley Recreation Area as we topped 26 MPH for the second time this season!
Zoom, zoom zoom!

There was about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch of new snow on the Swan Valley snowmobile trails. This is just enough friction for the human to feel safe uncorking the Siberian Machine (bare snowmobile trails are often too icy to feel safe going full throttle). Clearly Max & Zorro agreed with the conditions as we hit our top speed of the season for the second time today. Usually we hit 26 MPH 1-2 times a season, this year we have reached 26 twice before the end of December. I wonder if 2014 has a 27 MPH record waiting for us :-)

It was fast uphill as the Siberians are putting their shoulders and legs into moving
me up an incline!

It was fast on every trail. I love this section of a somewhat narrow trail in the forest.
You can see the Siberians really want to kick it into high gear as I am snowplowing
on & off to keep us in the "low 20 MPHs" going into blind curves - wheeee!
This isn't the section where we hit 26 MPH, but this trail is so fun that it had to
be the video of the day...
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

"Sorry, we speak Siberian!" say the airborne pair flying by the 'SLOW sign' marking we
are approaching the trailhead. This may have been our 26 MPH point (after already
having run 12+ miles!)

One of the added highlights of the Swan Valley trails is occasionally encountering "sled dog tours" run by Good Times Adventures. We encountered this group of 8 huskies on tour today. I am pretty sure one of them was one of our buddies from when we ran a sled with Good Times last April.
"Hey buddies!!! Wish we could join you!" say Max & Zorro as we 'on by' a
dog sled tour from Good Times.
"Fast speeds, good mileage and saying 'hi' to our buddies from Good Times!" say
a happy Max & Zorro clearly enjoying the run today!

Tally for the day: 12.4 miles with 1400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 26 MPH.

Current season totals: 475.4 miles, 56000 feet of elevation climbed, top speed of 26 MPH and 55 days on the trails.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Weather Undercast

We love when the "snow forecast" is an undercast!
The experts were saying 1-3 inches of snow overnight but we really got 3-6 inches, leading to a perfect day on the trails!

"Turn around? Really? But we haven't touched all the new snow yet!" declare my happy
partners when I called out time to turn around and head back to the trailhead.

We are still in the mist of the super busy "Christmas/New Years" span, so we headed to some of the trails we know to be infrequently used. What a good decision, we had the new snow all to ourselves and were laying fresh tracks in 3-6 inches all day long! It sure pays off to know the secret trails! And, no, I am not saying where these trails are located :-)

Sprinting along untouched powder - wheeee!

This video captures the day perfectly. Sprinting & bouncing along a trail of fresh powder!
I love watching the black skis flash in & out of the powder.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

The following pair of shots from the day show more of the fun & powder we had. Nobody on the trails but us and the wildlife.

Max following deer tracks, Zorro setting fresh tracks.
Flip... Zorro following deer tracks, Max setting fresh tracks.

A day of "powder to ourselves" covering 8.6 miles with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Birthday Views

Today is my birthday and to celebrate Max & Zorro decided to tow me from Baldy Mountain to Boreas Mountain in order to get some incredible views.

"Well, if you'd EVER get your equipment organized we would tow you to some views!" says
happy Max. "Oh COME ON!" expresses impatient Zorro.

There were lots of candidates for "best views" of the day. I settled on the following 2 as the top choices...

(1) Cruising along Boreas Pass Rd as Breckenridge Ski Resort comes into full view on the opposite mountain.
Moving along at a nice 15 to 16 MPH gallop and taking in the full view of
Breckenridge Ski Resort.

(2) The view of "airborne Siberian sprinters" along Boreas Pass Rd.
Topping out around 20 MPH. Watching "20 MPH Siberians" is an incredible view
all to itself!

A tough choice on "best view", although I think I am going to go with the galloping Siberians and the unfolding views of Breckenridge Ski Resort - watch for yourself:

Cruising along Boreas Pass Rd. About 1/3 of the way into the video, the ski resort starts
to come into view. About 1/2 way in, you get a beautiful unfolding view of the entire
ski resort (click the Settings button and switch to HD for the best views :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

What a great birthday present of views, views and more views as we skijored up Baldy Mountain, across Baldy to Boreas and down Boreas Pass Rd - 9 miles with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Moose Distraction

A fun "backcountry day" in Indiana Creek with one large Moose Distraction!

I refer to Indiana Creek as a backcountry day because we spend virtually the entire day on narrow tracks or laying our own tracks. No groomed trails here & no wide trails, just serious trails for serious skiers :-)

About 2/3 of the day was spent on narrow "set tracks" that are barely wide enough to run
shoulder-to-shoulder (and often too narrow, causing us to run single file).
About 1/3 of the day was spent on untouched terrain - laying fresh tracks in 3-8 inches of snow!

A very peaceful day in the backcountry without encountering any other people. But... the peace was interrupted by a large moose in the adjacent meadow. I have mentioned this before, moose is the only wildlife that it is impossible for Max & Zorro to listen to me and go "on by". Moose are just too tempting, "Who on earth can 'on by' a moose? You MUST focus and try to get the moose!" say Max & Zorro.

We were cruising nicely along the trail and then suddenly all attention to the left!
"Smells like a moose, looks like a moose - MOOSE!" say the silly Siberian pair.
And there goes Zorro off the trail until reaching the end of his gangline and then "sitting on
his hands" in the deep snow to inspect the moose. The moose is the dark brown spot in the
left center of this photo.
The closeup of the moose from the prior photo. It was a large male moose with an
impressive basket (horns) atop his head. 
Ok, finally convinced my partners to get back on the main trail and start forward.
After about 4 steps, Zorro immediately veered left off the trail and towards the moose again. 

I have tried to explain the following to Zorro (& Max) before: "Zorro, you weight 40 pounds and the average weight of the full grown male moose is 1200 pounds. You realize the moose is 30 times as big as you!" What is the response I get from Zorro, "Uh-huh, Uh-huh - did you say 1200 pounds of fresh meat? Got it! Let's catch it!" Silly Siberians!!!

A fun 8.6 miles of "Indiana Creek backcountry" with 900 feet of elevation climbed and one large moose distraction!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

"Merry Christmas Everyone!" from my favorite little helpers Max & Zorro!
Musher in his festive Santa Hat while the jolly helpers are very focused on receiving their
"end of run" hotdog treats!

We have officially started a new skijoring tradition: getting out early on Christmas Day and doing an early morning fun run before all the tourists wake up. Last year was our first such "Early Morning Christmas Fun Run" and doing it again this year has now established it as a tradition :-)

"Hey little bro - let's open the throttle and take this human for a real ride!" whispers Max
to Zorro as we crest over our high point of the day at Sally Barber Mine.

"Yeah - let's take him for a 20+ MPH ride!" demonstrate the Siberians.
This is the same section of trail that produced one of our rare oops moments just
2 days ago. This video is how we typically perform on the trails :-)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

A fun, fast & short early morning Christmas sprint up & over Sally Barber Mine with a side extension up & down French Gulch before trotting along French Gulch Rd to the BnB trailhead. 6.5 miles with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Twas the day before Christmas, when all over the trails
Snowflakes kept falling on happy husky tails.
Snow covered huskies enjoying their trot up Boreas Pass Rd.

We woke to light snow this morning which quickly changed to heavy snow. Heavy snow might cause some people to stay indoors; but not my Siberian pals as it was "quick, let's get to the trails to enjoy the heavy falling snow!"

Pausing on our way down for the human to add additional waterproofing layers.
Snow covered huskies, snow falling all around us - what a Siberian Beautiful Day!
That is Bakers Tank in front of us on Boreas Pass Rd.
"Fresh snow, fresh tracks - wheee!" say happy Max & Zorro as they glanced back when I
announced it was time to turn around.
Zorro's favorite "turnaround activity" - chomping down on snowcones before we start the
run back to the trailhead.

We were the only people on the trails for most of the outing. As we neared the trailhead, the snow started to let up and suddenly the trails started to get populated with the expected Christmas Eve crowds.

Happy people commenting on the fun huskies as we trot on by.

We laid fresh tracks all the way up Boreas Pass Rd and then, amazingly, laid fresh tracks all the way down as our "up tracks" were already covered in snow within 5 minutes of our turnaround. What a great Christmas Eve: 9.1 miles with 950 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH.

Monday, December 23, 2013


"Who us? We have no idea what 'oops' you are talking about..."
"But we are too cute & happy to ever misbehave!" say innocent Max & Zorro

Well, it does not happen often; but the "Siberian Wrestling Mishap" does happen on the trails ever so rarely. It always starts with that "look" from one brother to the other. As soon as I see the "look", I know either I verbally talk through it quickly or all is lost. Today I was not quick enough to catch and correct the "look"...

Max giving Zorro the "look" as we are in a dead sprint in French Gulch. Uh-oh...

Here it is in video:
(1) Sprinting along the trails.
(2) The "look" from Max to Zorro.
(3) The "consequence" of me not catching the look and Max & Zorro taking care of things.
(4) As quickly as it started it ends as both "shake it off" and start trotting down the trail again!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Luckily, this is a rare occurrence and 99% of the time it is well-behaved skijoring :)
Now that's more like it - perfect paired form as we sprint along the trail.

Despite the mishap, it was still a very productive day touring around French Gulch: 8.9 miles with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH (& one "mishap blowout" on the trail :-)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Full Range of Conditions

Another day, another pair of Happy Husky Faces!
"Yes - we are having a GREAT day!" exclaim super happy Max & Zorro.

We experienced the full range of conditions skijoring out & back in Indiana Creek today. From fresh tracks to breaking trail and from set tracks to alone deep in the backcountry, it was a fun day with a little of everything...

Laying fresh tracks in 1-2 inches of snow atop set tracks near the trailhead.
We quickly out-skied the "set tracks" and found ourselves laying fresh tracks on
the untouched trail at lower elevations.
We quickly ascended out of the lower elevations and found ourselves breaking trail
in a vast meadow of untouched snow.
A little more elevation, a lot more depth and it became "single file trail breaking" as
Max & Zorro alternated running lead in 8-12 inches of snow.
The nice thing about breaking trail on the way up is that you get to trot in your snow
trough on the way down!

As the pictures show - a little of everything in Indiana Creek today covering 8.4 miles with 900 feet of elevation gain.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


A busy day on the trails passing by many skiers...
We always get a "that is so cool" or similar comment from skiers we pass on the trails.
Max & Zorro always give a happy glance to groups that we pass.

Christmas week is the busiest tourist week of the year for Breckenridge and today was the start of this busy, busy week. During this week, it is rare to be alone on any of the well-known backcountry trails around town. Even though we got an early start to the day, it kept getting busier and busier on the trails as the morning evolved. Oh well, you just have to sprint by the crowds as you skijor up, down & around Baldy Mountain...

Flying down the main Baldy Mountain Trail without even breaking stride as
we sprint by a group of 3 uphill skiers - wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Luckily, we go much further than the average cross country skier. So, even though the trailheads and lower trails are busy, we always find a little peaceful time far from civilization.
Enjoying some "private snow" out near the True Romance Mine.

"Hi! A great day with fresh snow all over Baldy Mountain!" express my
happy skijor partners at our midpoint of the day.

We did two laps up & down Baldy Mountain with a side excursion to the True Romance Mine: 8.4 miles with 1300 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

Friday, December 20, 2013


It was a day of the freshies (laying fresh tracks) everywhere we went - wheeee!

"Hope you ate your wheaties today - here we go!" suggest happy little Max & Zorro.
They looked back when I called out for them to wait a second while I caught my breath as I
know the other side of this lip in the trail turns into a long steep section of terrain that always
exercises ALL my skiing abilities to keep up with the downhill beasts. "You better be ready: 
zoom, zoom zoom!"

We ventured to a lesser used set of trails high above French Gulch today. Our route took us on a loop around the trails and we found ourselves laying fresh tracks or breaking trail all day long - nice!!!

Laying fresh tracks in 4-6 inches as we trot through the open meadow.
Laying fresh tracks in 2-4 inches as we sprint along through the forest.
Breaking trail in over 15 inches of snow for about 1/2 a mile! What a workout!
The Siberians are airborne in this shot as they hop out of the deep snow to keep making progress.

Of course, "deep snow days" cut into our typical mileage for an outing. But no complaints from any of us - private snow from 2-15 inches all day is worth it! 7.8 miles covered with 1150 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hot December Day

It was a Hot December Day as temperatures were in the upper 20s when we started and mid 30s when we finished our run.
Cooling off at our midpoint before heading back to the trailhead.
Max rolling snow angels to cool off with Zorro chomping down on snowcones as they
test how far apart you can be and still both be on camera.

How hot was it? Well, I was wearing my "springtime skijoring gear" as the sun was bright, there was little to no breeze and the temperatures were rising. Thank dog this December heat wave is supposed to end tomorrow!

Luckily we spent most of our outing in the forest in the shade of the trees:

Trotting along the nicely shaded connector from Baldy Mountain to Boreas Mountain.
Sprinting along the shaded sections of Boreas Pass Rd
Running along a fun side trail through the trees. 

Today's outing took us from Baldy Mountain to Boreas Mountain, then down Boreas Pass Rd and finally back into the forest to leave Boreas and arrive at the trailhead between Baldy & Boreas. A fun 8.3 mile romp with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a lot of shade to keep the Siberians cool.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Today's skijor outing can be summarized in one word: ZOOM!
Shoulder-to-shoulder all out sprint - wheeee!

Normally I have an idea when we hit our "top speed" of the day and I can usually isolate it on video. Today's top speed was 23 MPH and there were at least 15 different times, over the course of about 12 miles, that I was convinced we were hitting top speed. The Siberians were pumped to go fast today! Here are 2 of the 15 "maybe we hit 23 MPH" video clips of the day:

Sprinting along an open stretch of Lime Creek Rd. 23 MPH? Maybe...
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Sprinting through a narrow and curved section of Shrine Pass Rd. 23 MPH? Maybe...
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

The day started "moderately" as we climbed Shrine Pass using the snowshoe trail. But, when we ascended Shrine Pass in record time, despite using a slower trail, I should have known what was to come when we hit the wide open snowmobile trails. ZOOM!

Climbing Shrine Pass via the snowshoe trail. An uphill & narrow trail and we still ascended
Shrine Pass in near record time (the "record time" usually happens when we take the
wide & groomed Shrine Pass Rd up).
Flying into the sun :-)
Another one of the countless times we may have hit our top speed of the day.
Zoom, zoom, zoom!

A fast trip up Shrine Pass, down Shrine Pass, up Lime Creek, down Lime Creek, up Shrine Pass and down Shrine Pass: 11.9 miles with 1500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.