Fresh snow Tuesday night lead to a wonderful day of "fresh powder skijoring" Wednesday morning on Rabbit Ears Pass.
"What a great day! Is it really October?" ask a happy Max & Zorro.
The picture above captures the joy of the day. We had just finished a long stretch of rolling hills in 3-6 inches of fresh powder. As we came out of the trees into this meadow, I instinctually said, "Woo, what a nice run!" On hearing me, my partners stopped, spun around and gave me these happy faces of agreement! As soon as I skied up behind them, it was one last happy glance and they spun forward to continue trotting through the snow. It is so much fun to share in the enthusiasm of Max & Zorro!
A nice shot of Max & Zorro leaping and powering through deep powder.
A fun trot over fresh powder with fresh snow in the trees all around us. [watch on youtube if no video loads below]
"What do you mean we are turning around?!? Look at all this fresh, untouched snow in front of us!" declare Max & Zorro when I said it was time to turn around and head back.
Max's snow angels never cease to crack me up. He is such a "snow rolling" goof! :-)
Wednesday marked our last run of what turned out to be a wonderful October. We covered 8.8 miles with 1050 feet of elevation climbed. That brings us to 85.8 miles with 8600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH - all by the end of October. We are certainly on track for a record season... Pray for snow to keep it going!
With warm weather coming back to Colorado, our amazing "October Skijoring Run" is winding down and in need of new snowstorms.
We were on the trails in Breckenridge Monday and knew that was the last day on nearby trails until a new storm. A quick check of the snowpack in the state suggested that Rabbit Ears Pass was still viable for the early part of this week, at least. So, we hit the road Tuesday morning for (a hopeful) 2 days of skijoring atop Rabbit Ears.
Blue skies & warming temperatures always lead to dual snow angels to cool off.
Success! While the conditions deteriorated noticeably from Tue to Wed, we were able to get in 2 days and 18.7 miles of skijoring fun! Woo!
Day 1: Exploration Day
We arrived at Rabbit Ears Pass around 10:30 Tuesday morning and found a nice snowmobile track to lead us into the backcountry. We spent about 2/3 of the day on set snowmobile trails and about 1/3 of the day making our our own trail to connect set tracks.
Cruising along a set track with a few inches of untouched powder on top. Wheeee! [watch on youtube if no video loads below]
Hopping through deeper snow as we set a new track between two set sections of trail.
Nice "dual airborne Siberians" launching through the powder!
We covered 9.2 miles with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH on day 1 of our trip.
Day 2: Rabbit Ears Day
We spent the second day of our outing on & near the same trails as day 1. It was amazing to see how much the sun had deteriorated the conditions in just 24 hours!
Max and Zorro will be your tour guides to Rabbit Ears Pass in the photos below...
"Hi! Here it is the 'rabbit ears pass' marker. Come along as we search for rabbits!" declare happy Max & Zorro.
And, there are the "real ears". The rock formations in the red oval are the Rabbit Ears giving the
name to Rabbit Ears Pass. It looked really impressive in person, unfortunately my GoPro
does not have enough zoom to do it justice as a photo. Trust us, the ears look really
impressive in person...
"Hi again! The temperatures may be rising, but we are still having an incredible day! Such a fun October we have had!" express happy Max & Zorro.
We covered 9.5 miles with 750 feet of elevation climbed and a moderate top speed of only 14 MPH on day 2. The "low" top speed tells you how much the conditions had deteriorated. It was never safe to uncork the Siberians as you did not know what newly exposed rock or dirt was around any corner or over any bump.
All in all, a great 2 day trip. 18.7 miles with 1450 feet of elevation climbed at a top speed of 18 MPH.
That brings us to an impressive 77 miles of skijoring through October 23rd. Wow, what an October! Come on mother nature, bring us some more...
Today's skijoring outing consisted of driving the "Siberian Sports Car" on fast & curvy roads.
The trademarks of a sports car: cornering and acceleration. Well, we had both today...
Accelerating beautifully into an uphill corner.
Nice handling in this Siberian Sports Car! :-)
Punching the gas pedal on an open road.
Nice acceleration in this Siberian Sports Car! :-)
We had a trace to 1/2 inch of snow overnight. That was just enough to reset the trails from a weekend of extensive use. A light layer of powder atop a hard packed trail - that is the perfect conditions to test the handling of a Siberian Sports Car.
We took a tour up & down Sally Barber Mine and the up & back in French Gulch. Most of the trail was hard packed with a light layer of fresh powder - zoooom! A few areas of the trail had been beaten down to exposed rocks (boo!).
A pit stop to roll the Max Engine in snow to cool off.
The Zorro Engine, on the other hand, is still full of gas and ready to roll!
A quick outing covering 6.8 miles with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.
Happiness is skijoring 5 out of the last 6 days in mid October!
"Hi! We are having a BLAST this October!" exclaim a very happy Max & Zorro.
Happiness is a packed sprint track at the start of our outing:
Zooooom we go! Powerful Siberians launching me up the packed trail at the start of our outing.
Happiness is "out skiing" the existing tracks and breaking trail in soft, fresh powder:
We spent about 1/2 the day on untouched terrain - laying fresh tracks and breaking trail
for miles and miles.
Happiness is a bluebird day with fresh snow all to yourself:
So much beauty in this picture: handsome Siberians, untouched trail, bluebird sky,
snow covered trees, white mountains, ... - so peaceful and enjoyable!
Today's outing took us out and back in French Gulch with a little extra exploration on 3 "side trails". As you can see from the photos above, it started out a well-traveled and hard-packed trailhead. But, we quickly out-skied the existing tracks and had most of the day to ourselves on untouched snow!
A fast 7.1 miles with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH. Oh what a fun October we are having!
Today we hit a 20 MPH skijoring sprint for the first time this season!
Ok, so it was 19.9 MPH... That's 20 to me :-)
What is special about our first 20 MPH of the season? Well, our first 20 usually happens in mid to late November and it is mid October! In order to hit speeds above 20 MPH, there needs to be enough snow that I know I will not catch a rock or cut down into dirt/mud (which would lead to a painful wipeout).
We have now been out skijoring 4 of the last 5 days and are pushing for a fifth tomorrow. That is an amazing run for this time of year. It has been a wonderful October storm!
"Hi! We are having the best time laying fresh tracks all day long!" says a happy Max & Zorro
as they glance back to show me their approval.
Laying fresh tracks up French Gulch.
Laying fresh tracks down French Gulch (those are our "up tracks" to the right).
Notice the theme in those last three images: laying fresh tracks. We were first on the trail for most of our outing today. Fresh, new snow all to ourselves - wheeeee.
Today's tally: 7.4 miles with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.
Wednesday was our third day in a row of rich powder skijoring in mid-October!
We weren't "first tracks", but there was plenty of snow to go, go go...
After our trail breaking Mon/Tue on Rabbit Ears Pass, we arrived back in Breckenridge Tuesday afternoon to find a steady snowfall through the day and into the night. We awoke Wed morning to a good 4-5 inches of new snow at home, so off to the local trails we went...
We had a wonderful ride up & down to Sally Barber Mine and up & back in French Gulch. Skijoring 3 days in a row in October - what a Siberian Treat!
Zoom we go, topping out at 18 MPH, along the Sally Barber trail.
Plowing through 8-10 inches as we tow the human along!
Look at the snow trough behind the Zorro snow plow!
On Sunday I said to Nancy, "I think Rabbit Ears Pass is going to get dumped on tonight and tomorrow." I have started integrating about 5 different sources of weather forecasting data and all indicators said "mid-October dump for Rabbit Ears."
A quick conference with Max & Zorro and they both said, "We're game, we'll believe any forecast that says 'Snow'!" So we got up early Monday morning and hit the road - hoping we were right and Rabbit Ears was getting a thorough snow covering.
Oh boy were we right! Rabbit Ears is a few hours away (near Steamboat Springs), so we decided to make a 2-day event of it. What a great decision. We found ourselves on skis (instead of the sled) in mid-October - wow! We found ourselves breaking trail in up to 10 inches of fresh powder in mid-October - wowee! We found 20 miles of skijoring fun over 2 days - wheee!
Images & video from the 2 day event below:
Day 1: Wet Day
When we arrived at Rabbit Ears Pass late Monday morning, it was as expected - DUMPING snow (and had been for hours). We fully expected to be using the sled Monday and hope for enough snow to take the skis out on Tuesday. But, to our surprise & joy, Rabbit Ears already had enough fresh snow on the ground to take out the skis on Monday! WooHoo.
It was a heavy, wet and blowing snow as we started our outing. This explains the "water spots" in the images from the day:
At the start of the outing. The Siberians are "all go" as they throw their shoulders into
the harnesses and off we zoom.
Yes, it is still October... Despite the dumping snow, we had many "puddle obstacles" on the
trail. Luckily, most of the smaller puddles were frozen and snow covered by Tuesday morning.
"Ahhh, rolling snow angels in October - a true Siberian Delight!"
Day 2: Perfect Day
We returned back to Rabbit Ears Pass on Tuesday morning and it was about as perfect as you could ever imagine for October. What fun we had...
Trotting along the upper trails of Rabbit Ears Pass.
What makes this video special is the date: Skijoring in October!
The picture speaks for itself: breaking trail in deep October snow!
Hitting a fast straightaway with a few inches of snow atop frozen tracks.
Happy Siberians glancing back as I call out a 'left' into the deep powder.
Our skijoring tally for the 2 day fun run: 18.5 miles with 1900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH.
A nice blast of "early October snow" arrived Thursday night. So, you know what that means... Max & Zorro were eager to hit the trails Friday morning to put the snow to use!
A narrow bridge over a ravine on the "Trail of Tears".
Approaching a bridge this narrow means you grab ahold of the sled, call to Max & Zorro to
"keep it straight" and close your eyes :-)
There was not a lot of snow and the ground was bare the day before, so we took the sled out for the run as the conditions were not good enough yet for skis. Our route took us up, down and around Sally Barber Mine while using the adjacent Trail of Tears to add some additional elevation and mileage to the outing.
The snow was too shallow in many areas for a human weight on the sled (the sled would cut down to the dirt and stick). But, the sled was perfect atop the fresh snow by itself. So, I had to hop off and run along for much of the outing. Boy, is it hard to keep up with two Siberians! Yet, "shallow snow" is "snow", so we made the most of today's short outing - highlights below:
Cruising along a nice section of trail - snow deep enough for the human to take a break and
ride on the sled runners!
Trotting along a narrow section of trail. Notice the exposed rock here & there. It was a bumpy
ride as the Siberians propelled the sled into & over many rocks.
Out in front of the sled at Sally Barber Mine. Max & Zorro peeking back at the
camera to say, "Whee - all snow is FUN snow!"
Of course, no outing is complete without Max rolling one of his patented
snow angels to cool off!
Today's little run covered 5.6 miles with 600 feet of elevation climbed. We are ready for real snow so we can get out the skis and get in some serious distances....