Saturday, March 30, 2013

800 and Counting

Today we surpassed 800 miles skijoring for our 2012/2013 season!
800 and counting...

It was a bit on the warm side today (upper 20s to mid 30s) - that led to a beautiful "synchronized snow angel" from Max & Zorro at our quick break point:
"Hot day - rolling synchronized snow angels to cool off!" demonstrate Max & Zorro.
There was 2-3 inches of new snow on the fast trails near Good Times Adventures. A perfect amount of snow for the human to be able to ski under control behind the sprinting Siberians on the fast trails.

Cruising along the Middle Fork trail in Swan Valley.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We had one scary (for the human) encounter on the trail. As we came over a slight crest, there were two (yes, TWO) moose standing in the middle of the trail.  Egad! Plow to a stop, grab the gangline, get down to one knee to stop the "moose juiced Siberians". At first the moose just stood there looking at us - a real "Oh No!" as a moose standing ground is very scary. But, after what seemed like an eternity to me (only about 15 seconds in real time), the moose turned and trotted up and off the trail. Phew! Sorry I do not have any photos of the pair of moose - I was too worried about safety to care where the GoPro was pointed... I do have a "post moose" shot:
The track into the forest to Max's right is where the two moose decided to leave the trail and
go off into the wilderness. Max is right on top of it, wanting to follow the moose trail! Zorro
is juiced by the moose prints all over the trail and is hoping to find more moose ahead on
the trail.
Max & Zorro's view on the moose encounter, "Whee! We will run 800 more miles TODAY if you let us chase those two moose!" Crazy Siberians...

For the day, we covered 12.3 miles with 1350 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH. Luckily, for me, the moose encounter was on an uphill section of trail; otherwise our top speed would probably have been a scary 25+...

Friday, March 29, 2013


We skijored into a surprise snowstorm coming down Boreas Pass Rd today!
A Siberian Super Surprise!

Look closely - all the "white speckles" you see in this photo are snowflakes
falling down on us. What a wonderful Siberian surprise!
We started the day in the sun at the Indiana Creek trailhead and skijored up the steep trail connecting Indiana Creek to Boreas Pass Rd. Once we got onto Boreas, we turned right and headed further up Boreas Pass until we got above treeline and the wind started picking up. I was not dressed for strong winds, so it was a quick break and then turnaround to head back down Boreas Pass Rd and into the surprise snowstorm - Whee!

On our initial descent down Boreas Pass. The "gray blob of clouds" directly in
front of us is the surprise snowstorm we are heading into. It is always so much fun
to skijor with Max & Zorro while it is snowing!
Yea - snowing! The white speckles you see against the trees and against Max & Zorro
(especially black Zorro) are big, fluffy snowflakes falling upon us.
Approaching Bakers Tank as we are about halfway down Boreas. Slight shadows on the
trail - we haven't reached the falling snow yet... Just a couple more minutes and it
started dumping on us!
The snowstorm did not last for long; but any snow in late March or April is a welcome thing!

Today's outing covered 9.6 miles with 1300 feet of elevation climbed, a top speed of 18 MPH and a fun collection of snowflakes dropping on us for about 3 miles of the route.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Snow = Go

We are in "Spring Rules" for skijoring... Daily temperatures are rising, daily melt is happening and we fear the end of season. So, Spring Rules state: if it snows we go! Never skip a single morning with new snowfall for the rest of the season.

We got a surprise 3 inches of new snow overnight (the forecast was for a trace, at best).
It snowed = we go!

Fresh tracks for the Siberians + nice views for the humans.
We are still in the morning shadow of Boreas Mountain, but you can see the sun
breaking on all the mountains in front of us.
We took our favorite route to connect Baldy Mountain to Boreas Mountain via backcountry trails. As suspected, we were laying fresh tracks on the new snow the entire "connector route". To our surprise (& delight), we were also the first tracks on popular Boreas Mountain! The last mile of Boreas is extremely popular with tourists, so we were not laying fresh tracks for this portion. But, we had the new snow to ourselves for 8 of our 9 mile outing - fresh tracks for happy huskies!

The "Baldy to Boreas" connector is a seldom used trail; so, it is typically
a narrow, single track as show above. Single file skijoring in the single
track trail with Max in lead.
Whenever a single track trail extends for long distances, we always
switch leaders now & then. Zorro taking his turn to run in lead.
At our high point of the outing we took a quick 3-4 minute break. Max & Zorro had a snow angel competition. Who do you vote for as the winner?

"Vote for me - rolling a snow angel with a mouth full of snow! Top that!"
says candidate Max.
"Vote for me - getting my entire head covered in snow from rolling
an angel!
" declares candidate Zorro.
Tally for today's outing: 9.1 miles, 850 feet of elevation climbed, a top speed of 18 MPH and laying fresh tracks in the new snow for over 8 continuous miles!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Work the Human

The theme of today's skijoring outing was "Work the Human".

Now, you might think "work the human" meant I had to do a lot of cross country skiing on our skijor outing. Well, nope... "Work the human" meant I spent a lot of the day grinding my legs & skis in attempts to keep the skijoring machine under control and going safe speeds.
Wide open, fast packed trail with sprinting & pulling Siberians. 
The following video clip shows some of the "work the human" day. Watch as we are galloping along gently and then turn it on into a tight left, then gallop into a blind right and finally take off down a fast straightaway...
Gallop, sprint, gallop, sprint ... Wheeeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

The trails were packed & fast everywhere we went. Max & Zorro's view on the conditions: "Eat your Wheaties, strap on those skis and get ready because we are uncorking it all day!"

Galloping along a snowmobile paved "double track". It might look easy enough, but try
and figure out how to slow down when the Siberians floor it...
Hint: notice my left ski close to the track wall - slide the left leg into the off-trail powder
whenever you need to slow down.
Even more difficult - galloping along in a single track. Ride one ski "out of track" the
whole time to generate some minor "speed control".
Even uphill was fast today. Luckily, uphill is the one type of terrain that does not "work
the human". Uphill is easiest - sounds funny, huh? :-)
Today was 8.4 miles of fast trails climbing 1000 feet in elevation and hitting a top speed of 21 MPH.

Fun shot at our quick "break point" of the outing. In a manner of seconds, Zorro has dug a
trench engulfing his head & shoulders. But, Max is uninterested in Zorro's trench work as
he is monitoring the terrain and hoping we will run all day!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Siberian Day

It was 1 degree out when we started at the trailhead today. Add light falling snow to that plus a slight wind with occasional gusts and what do you get? If you guessed "cold" - wrong.  What you get is a Siberian Perfect Day...
"Yep, 1 degree + snow + wind and I am rolling a snow angel. A perfect Siberian Hot Tub
on the trails today!" demonstrates goofy Max.
You will be shocked to hear that we did not run into a single person on the trails today. A busy Sunday in "spring break season" yet nobody braved the elements to ski the backcountry with us. "Where is everyone, it is a lovely day!" said Max & Zorro.

No people means no tracks, so it was the 3 of us laying "fresh tracks" on the trails all day. We progressed through 3 types of terrain: (1) light new snow on wide trails near the trailhead; to (2) 1-3 inches on narrow "single track" trails as we made it a bit further; and finally (3) breaking trail in 5-10 inches once we out-skied all the existing tracks. A visual summary of the progression below:

Near the Indiana Creek trailhead - laying fresh tracks along a wide packed trail.
The terrain quickly progressed to a narrow single track after the first mile or so.
We were on single track trails for about 1/2 to 2/3 of the outing - a lot of fun
to skijor in this configuration, but it does slow us down a bit.
Still in a single track and Zorro's turn to run in lead - whee.
Existing tracks all gone - it is just Max & Zorro blazing trail now...
Deeper & deeper as we went further. Tall Max breaking trail and towing the human.
Shorter Zorro just breaking trail with a loose gangline - "Hey, I don't have those long
legs like Max - it is enough for me to break for myself without towing the human!"
argues Zorro :-)
Beautiful fresh snow all day - I wonder why nobody else was on the trails today :-)  8 chilly miles with 850 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Powder Day

It was 9 miles of powder on the trails today - a great Siberian workout!

At our quick "break point" - happy Max & Zorro spinning around after my command
to "wait". It was snowing lightly our entire outing - as evidenced by Max's happy snow
covered head. 
It has been a great week of "March Snow" and it is supposed to continue through tomorrow! Breckenridge Ski Resort reported 27 inches of new snow for the past 7 days; and that was this morning - if you add in today, we are well over 30 inches for the last week. Whee!

Since it is a busy weekend day, we headed to some of the lesser known trails around French Gulch to enjoy the new snow. Oh boy did we succeed, untouched trails all to ourselves all day!

We started on French Gulch Road. So, the first mile was traversing light powder on
a well packed road. It all changed after this first mile when we turned to head deep
into the backcountry...
We left French Gulch Rd about 1/2 a mile ago and ascended up a steep trail to connect us
into the backcountry. Here we are breaking trail as we crest from our steep 1/2 mile
climb and find untouched trails all to ourselves.
Further we went - deeper it got! Breaking trail in 8+ inches of snow at this point!
Further and deeper. Breaking trail in 12+ inches of fresh powder as we continue up & out
into the backcountry!
Max let out an appreciative "Woo" and licked my face when we finished our outing. There is nothing like breaking trail all day to get a true Siberian Workout! Our outing covered 8.7 miles with 1600 feet of elevation climbed and a modest top speed of 17 MPH (we traded "speed" for "deep" today :-)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fresh Fun

A great day of fresh & fluffy snow on the trails around Sally Barber Mine and French Gulch. 9 miles of laying tracks in the freshies! Woo!

Far back in French Gulch and breaking trail in 6-10 inches of fresh snow!
Close to the trailheads found us laying fresh tracks in 2-4 inches of new snow. Far back on the trails found us breaking trail in 6-10 inches. Even better - the snow was "mid winter fluffy" even though we are in late March. What Siberian Fun!

Laying fresh tracks in the new snow near Sally Barber Mine.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

More trail breaking as we progressed further and further back into French Gulch.
If you "break trail" on the out direction, you get to sprint in your own tracks on the
return direction! Wheeeee!!
We are in a really nice stretch of "March Snow" with the forecast for it to continue for the next 3-4 days - what a treat! Today's stats: 9.2 miles, 1250 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ah - Winter

Today is the last day of Winter and we had fresh snow all over the trails all to ourselves! Ah, what a great last day of Winter...

Laying fresh tracks in a couple inches of new snow at the lower elevations of
our route.
It was one of those days where I could try and describe the perfect conditions and how much fun we had; but pictures will do a better job:

Skijoring single file along a narrow trail with "snow walls" taller than tall Max!
Climbing over a large drift in the trail. It was windy last night & this morning - leading to lots
of drifts like this to plow through.
Far back in Indiana Creek and it was "deep trail breaking" fun. Zorro & I riding behind
tall Max and his trail breaking skills.
Do you see a trail? I didn't think so... We carved a trail not more than 15 minutes ago through
this meadow; but strong winds blowing all day and the trail is completely re-covered in
snow only 10-15 minutes later!
No day is complete without our usual "cool off antics" at our turnaround point.
Snow angels from Max and chomping down on snow cones from Zorro.
A fun little romp through the fresh snow in Indiana Creek today: 7.2 miles, 1000 feet of elevation climbed, a top speed of 18 MPH and lots of soft, fresh snow for the last day of Winter.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mid-March Treat

We got a beautiful "Mid-March Snow Treat" last night and into today!

I just love this shot - breaking trail as their tails almost look like
"holding hands". Siberian fun at its best!
It was snowing on & off Sunday afternoon with somewhat warm temperatures, so the snow was coming down a bit sticky. But, overnight was a snow gem! The temperatures cooled into the teens, the snow kept falling and we awoke to wonderful "mid-winter powder" in the middle of March - and it was still snowing. Woo, to the trails for Max, Zorro & I to enjoy this snow treat!

(1) We were first on the trails - laying fresh tracks almost the entire day (all except the last mile)!
Laying fresh tracks in 2-4 inches at the lower elevations.
(2) Far into the backcountry and it got nice and deep!
Breaking trail in 10+ inches when we were far off the beaten path.
(3) Fresh snow all day!
Breaking trail as we connect onto Boreas Pass Rd. To our surprise and pleasure, there
were no tracks on popular Boreas and we were laying fresh tracks on this route
all day too!
(4) Everyone was quite happy with the day's snow treat!
"Conditions have been great! Just when we thought Spring was coming, we got this
incredible snow treat!" say happy Max & Zorro at our high point of the day.
(5) It was all smiles, all day.

Happy Huskies cruising to the finish at the Boreas winter trailhead - whee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

A fun route being "first tracks" almost the entire day as we connected Baldy Mountain to Boreas Mountain: 8.4 miles, 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Iditarod Finish

Today was the last outing for our "mini Iditarod" to tally miles during the running of the real Iditarod in Alaska.

The total tally for our mini Iditarod: 12 days on the trail, 125.2 miles and 15,200 feet of elevation climbed. Pretty good for a team of only 2 sled dogs!

Still running hard after 14+ miles! Our "finish" is just around the corner along this trail.
"What 'SLOW' sign?" say 20 MPH Max & Zorro :-)
We took a 14 mile tour on the trails around Good Times for our Iditarod finish. High temperatures were in the mid to high 40s the last two days, so the early morning conditions were extremely icy as trail melt had frozen overnight. Thank Dog it is snowing this afternoon as our trails are in desperate of some fresh snow to soften them up!

Some fun photos from today's outing:

Many sections of the trail were nice enough to open up the skijoring engine, as above as
we sprint along a flat section of trail. But, we did hit the occasional patches of pure ice
to force us to slow down - yuck!
"This has been such a fun mini Iditarod!" declare happy Max & Zorro at our high point
of the outing as I called to them to turnaround.
It was on the warm side today, so Max needed to roll his usual snow angel to cool off
before we could start the final 3 mile sprint to the finish.
As I said, temperatures on the warm side (upper 20s/low 30s) - that is the temperature level
where Zorro joins in the "snow angel cool off" during our quick break.
Today was day 12 & the final day of our "mini Iditarod" covering 14.4 miles with 1750 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

Our total stats for 12 Iditarod days: 125.2 miles and 15,200 feet of elevation climbed. Woo, what a fun ride!
GPS stats of the final leg of our mini Iditarod.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

One Hundred Thousand Feet

Today we surpassed 100,000 feet of elevation climbed for our 2012/2013 skijoring season!
That is a lot of "Siberian Power" to haul the human up so much elevation!
100,000 feet and counting...
"And it sure has been a fun 100,000 feet!" say happy Max & Zorro at our
high point break for the day.
We toured Vail Pass for today's outing. This is a popular area with snowmobiles so we had lots of fast packed trails but also lots of steep elevations to climb:

Clouds clearing, sun shining, Siberians running.
The snow was "soft" even though traversed by snowmobiles, so no need to
slow down.
Even in the shade - soft conditions! Snowmobile tracks can get very icy, so we were
happy to find them soft most of the day.
Put it all together into a nice skijoring clip.
Max & Zorro are really working to keep the human going their desired speed!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Did I mention it was 25 degrees with rising temperatures and sun breaking through the clouds when we started our run today? Siberian Hot!
It is rare to catch Max & Zorro doing their preferred "cool off" antics in the same shot.
Max rolling his patented snow angels to cool off.
Zorro chomping down on fresh snow cones to cool off.

Today was day 11 of our "mini Iditarod" covering 10.5 miles and climbing 1450 feet in elevation with a top speed of 20 MPH.

Our total stats after 11 Iditarod days: 110.8 miles and 13,450 feet of elevation climbed.
GPS summary of the day. We were pushing for 11 miles, but Vail Pass
is a little too steep to get 11 miles in the time we had allotted.