Friday, November 29, 2013

Hunt and Jog

It was "running out of terrain", not "running out of time", that caused us to alter our skijor route today.

Oops - look at that sinkhole in the trail! Normally we would continue this route for another
mile or two before turning around.
"Turn around! What a good idea!" says water-averse Zorro.
"Really? But that's a Siberian Hot Tub just in front of us!!!" states water-loving Max.

We spent our day skijoring around the Swan Valley Recreation Area in Breckenridge. One of the Siberian highlights of Swan Valley is that we frequently encounter moose tracks and occasionally moose themselves. Moose always add a little extra juice to the Siberian Engine...

The classic "hunt & jog" maneuver as Max & Zorro inspect a moose off to the left
without interrupting their jog. I saw a brown butt dip into the trees when I followed
their glance to the left. Luckily the moose was far enough away to draw just a
glancing "hunt & jog".
Second verse, same as the first.
Different section of trail, same result - a glancing "hunt & jog" as we see moose far
off to the left.

One of the other highlights of Swan Valley is that the most of the trails are packed by snowmobiles, leading to a fast sprint & jog all day long.

Sprint to the finish on a fast, packed snowmobile trail.
Almost 12 miles logged and the Siberians are still at full throttle!

Zooming along the South Fork section of Swan Valley Rd.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

A fun day running around Swan Valley: 11.6 miles with 1400 feet of elevation climbed. Unfortunately a GPS glitch lost our top speed - it was somewhere in the 20-24 MPH range...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Postcard Day

Today was "postcard day" skijoring atop Vail Pass.
The views were awe inspiring!

A postcard view of the snow covered Rocky Mountains as seen from atop the Shrine Bowl
at Vail Pass.

Yesterday was so gorgeous skijoring at Vail Pass that we went back again today. Yesterday's route was an out & back on Shrine Pass Rd and Lime Creek Rd. Today was a different twist: we ascended Shrine Pass via the snowshoe trail (instead of Shrine Pass Rd), then we climbed up into the steep Shrine Bowl terrain, then turned around to capture the "postcard views" coming down Shrine Bowl and finally sprinted down the freshly groomed Shrine Pass Rd.

Heading up Shrine Pass via the snowshoe trail.
"YES! The views ARE awe inspiring!" exclaim Max & Zorro as we paused to watch a
herd of deer run off in the distance.

What could possibly top the views of the day? How about a professionally groomed sprint track! About 70% of our skijor outings are spent on un-groomed backcountry trails and the other 30% are on trails set by snowmobile tracks. But, every once in a while we get to experience a "groomed cross country trail". Today was such a day as Shrine Pass Rd was freshly groomed from Shrine Pass all the way to the Vail Pass trailhead. It it truly awe inspiring to watch what my skijoring buddies do on groomed trails. Easy & fast terrain equals ZOOM!

Zoom - groomed trails lead to speed!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Since we decided to ascend & descend Shrine Bowl today, the outing had a lot more elevation in a shorter distance than our typical runs at Vail Pass. It was a trade of elevation for mileage: 8.3 miles with 1550 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gorgeous Day

An absolutely gorgeous day skijoring along Vail Pass.

Bright sun, blue skies, soft snow and Siberian sprinting.
What more could you ask for?
Snow covered trees, blue skies, wide open trail, soft snow and Siberian sprinting.
Really, what more could you ask for :-)

Ok... blue skies, snow covered trees, soft snow and a peaceful jog for miles and miles and miles.
Now that is ALL you could ask for...
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

As you can see it was a gorgeous bluebird day skijoring along Vail Pass. The conditions were absolutely perfect for a fast run with breathtaking views - just enough soft snow atop snowmobile tracks to go on forever! And, of course, our patented "cool off" antics at the turnaround point:

Time to turn around and head back to the trailhead.
1) Max rolling his patented snow angels to cool off first.
2) Zorro chomping down on snow cones before starting the fast trot back.

Our longest run early in this 2013/2014 season: 12.4 miles with 1600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH - woo!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Nice Cornering

We had a great day zooming up, down & around French Gulch today - wheeee!

Laying fresh tracks in a few inches of new snow up French Gulch.
We were first or second tracks on every trail we took today - fun, fun, fun.

I love following Max & Zorro through fast corners and "pedal to the metal" straightaways. Here are some clips of what I mean followed by a nice video putting it all together.

Sprint & lean into a left...
Launch out of the left before beginning the lean into the next right...
Straighten out into a full sprint straightaway.

And here is the video putting it all together - lean into a left, lean into a right and straighten out into a dead sprint (the GPS clocked us at 20 MPH on the straightaway).

Lean, lean, sprint to 20 MPH!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

And the pretty face shot of the day:
"Hi! Did you say time to turnaround?" asks happy Max.
"Not now dude, don't you realize this is the meadow where we have spotted MOOSE before!"
exclaims intense Zorro surveying the landscape for moose.
A fun day laying fresh tracks most of the day on the trails in French Gulch: 8.5 miles with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Are You Ready Yet?

"BOOOORRRRING - would you get ready!"
expresses impatient Max at the trailhead.
Slow human, are you ready to go YET?!?!!

Sometimes I take a little "too long" (for Max) to get the skis on and turn the Siberian Skijoring Engine loose.

Max is quick to let me know when I am being slow. He will usually start with a big yawn to express, "BORING - are you ready yet?"

If the yawn doesn't speed me up enough, he will transition into a few sighs, "Oh man, will the human ever be ready to go?"

When the sighs do not work, he then transitions into a flat out lecture, "Awoo woo woo wum, arr arrr woo wum!" (translation: "I am about to leave without you, you are way toooo slow!")

I was given the full spectrum of yawns, sighs and lectures this morning as I was clearly taking way too long to get my equipment set to go.

There is an additional consequence to being subjected to the full Max lecture process - Siberians at rest build exponential energy reserves. The result is two huskies shooting out of a cannon when I finally get around to saying, "Ok, let's go!' - BOOM & ZOOM!

I finally got my equipment on and released the beasts.
It is 100% "shoulders into the harnesses - gotta MOVE that human!"

My slow start set a precedent for the entire day. It was fast & wild all over the snowmobile trails in Swan Valley. We had just enough new snow on the trails to make them safe to uncork the Siberians and, boy, did they get into a speed mode today!

Airborne, sprinting wild men :-)

This video captures the theme of the day - endless & fast skijoring all over the trails.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

The majority of the day was spent on packed snowmobile trails covered with 1-3 inches of
fresh snow. But, we also got to enjoy the occasional "untouched side trail" with more snow
all to ourselves - as shown above.

Did I mention my slowness lead to a fast & energized day: 11.5 miles with 1350 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Breaking Past 200 Miles

Today found us breaking trail high up on Boreas Mountain as we surpassed 200 miles of skijoring for our 2013/2014 skijoring season.

200 miles and it is not even December yet - what a season we are having!

"Hi! We'll trade speed for powder any day!" say a happy Max & Zorro as the snow
continued to get deeper & deeper as we went up Boreas Pass Rd.
We had an inch (at most) of new snow at home and there was only 1-2 inches of new snow at the Boreas Pass Trailhead. We expected a fast 10-12 mile trip up and down Boreas given the conditions at the start. Boy, were we wrong - the snow kept getting deeper and deeper as we ascended up Boreas. We eventually found ourselves breaking trail in at least 8 inches of pristine, untouched snow. So, we ended up trading a "fast 10-12 miles" for an "aerobic 8.5 trail breaking miles" - nice trade :-)

An inch or two of new snow at the start. We all expected a fast run on these conditions...
After only a few corners up Boreas and we already found ourselves laying fresh
tracks in at least 4 inches of untouched snow - wheeee!
POW for POWder as we got higher. An untouched 8+ inches of snow for most of the
route up Boreas. Wow, did we go from 1-2 inches to 8+ inches in no time!

We ended up tallying a fun 8.5 mile "powder run" with 850 feet of elevation climbed - giving us 200.1 total miles for the season and we are still in "early season"!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mine Tour

Today's skijor outing took us on a tour of 4 different historic mines on Baldy Mountain.

"Hi, I'll be your tour guide on today's mine tour." says Max.
"Come on, let's go!" expresses Zorro.

We connected three different trails to visit all four mines. Come along and enjoy the tour...

Approaching Iowa Mill. This is one of the "newer" mines on Baldy.
It was established in 1935 and is still partly operational.
Approaching the True Romance Mine Marker (the pole just ahead and to the right of Max).
There is not much to see of True Romance in the winter, but it is an abandoned mine site
from the 1800s that has visible relics in the summer.
Passing what is left of an old cabin at the Mountain Pride mine site. This site, also from the
1800s, has an old, abandoned mine and 6 old cabins in various stages of decay.
Approaching the two structures at the 528 Mine.
I have never been able to find the official name of this mine site, so we just call it the "528 Mine"
since it is located just off County Road 528. This site contains these two old buildings and an
actual mine structure (to the right, just out of view).

Of course, a little sprinting on the trails connecting the mines:

Whee - on to the next mine...
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Lots of elevation on today's mine tour without a ton of mileage - it was up/down, up/down and up/down to visit all four historical sites: 7.7 miles with 1400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cruising Along Vail Pass

We had a great time cruising along the snowmobile trails on Vail Pass today.

Sprinting Siberians on the straightaways...

Hauling the human uphill...

Jogging along wide open terrain. This video could have gone on for about 15 minutes
(or until we hit the next steep uphill section); but you get the idea :-)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

The winter gate closing off Vail Pass to vehicles (except snowmobiles) was closed this past weekend. Vail Pass is now set for endless miles of skijoring until April or May - Woo Hoo! Too bad Vail Pass is a little far from home for daily outings; but we'll get occasional use of its endless trails a handful of times from today until May.

Everyone rolling snow angels to cool off at our turnaround point.

Our longest outing of the 2013/2014 season... 11.2 miles with 1400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Double, Single, None

Today's terrain evolved from a "shoulder to shoulder" double track to a "single file & narrow" single track to trail breaking no tracks. 

"Hi! We just popped out of the deep backcountry and onto Boreas Pass Rd. What a wonderful,
trail breaking adventure!" declare happy Max & Zorro as I call out to them to wait while I
get ready for us to trot down Boreas Pass Rd.

We started on Baldy Mountain in a nice double track set by recent snowshoers.
Should to shoulder and up we go.
Of course, snowshoers do not go very far, so we quickly out-skied the snowshoe double track and found ourselves on a narrow single track from a recent cross country skier.
"I have a feeling my long legs are going to be needed today - take the lead little bro!" decides
Max as we are in a track too narrow to go shoulder-to-shoulder and lead dog Max lets Zorro
run lead.
Of course, cross country skiers do not go very far, so we quickly out-skied the single track and found ourselves breaking trail in 8-10 inches of untouched snow.
"Trail breaking, trail breaking - what a wonderful Siberian workout!"
Of course, the further up you go, the deeper it gets. Eventually it is too deep for short Zorro and we all hop in line behind long-legged, trail breaking Max.
"I knew my long legs were going to be needed! Good thing I rested behind Zorro on the
single track!" says Max in the lead as Zorro & I drop in line.

Our route today took us on a lesser used trail connecting Baldy Mountain to Boreas Mountain. The photos above demonstrate how "lesser used" this trail really is. It was about 1/8 in the double track, 1/8 in the single track and 3/4 breaking trail in no tracks. Once we eventually connected onto Boreas, it was a fun trot & sprint to the finish on this frequently used trail.

A rare "video from the front" as Nancy captured us on her iphone cruising to
the finish at the Boreas Pass Trailhead.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

And, sometimes you get a photo just too inspiring not to save... We just emerged from trail breaking in a thick forest to connect onto Boreas Pass at Bakers Tank - breath taking...
Still breaking trail as the trees parted and we emerged into the sunlight at Bakers Tank.
What a beautiful bluebird day!

Today's outing covered 8.2 miles with 800 feet of elevation climbed, a top speed of 17 MPH and the vast majority of the day spent breaking trail deep in the backcountry.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Wind, Snow and Sun

Today found us powering through 50 MPH wind gusts to get to the day's fresh snow with the winds eventually calming as the sun broke through.

The majority of our day looked like this - an untouched trail all to ourselves!
A beautiful & peaceful day on fresh snow when the wind was calm...

We got a later than usual start this morning as we awoke to almost constant 50 MPH winds. Once we saw significant breaks between the gusts, we knew it was time to get to the trails and enjoy the fresh snow to ourselves. Just as we planned, we started with the wind still gusting (hoping this had kept everyone else off the trails) and put our heads down as we plowed into the wind - knowing it was going to let up soon and we'd be fresh tracks on the day's new snow. We love when a plan goes perfectly!

No, the camera is not out of focus. That is blowing and swirling snow causing the
haziness in this photo. Zip the coat up high, pull the hat down low and follow the
Siberians into the wind...
As the winds calmed, we had the trail to ourselves. We started laying fresh tracks in 2-4 inches
of new snow and eventually breaking trail in 6-10 inches of snow as shown above.

Today was a great day as we celebrated our 3rd favorite event of every skijoring season. Each year our favorites go as follows:
(1) The first snow (in late Sept/early Oct) when we get our first run of the year on the sled.
(2) The first good snow when we put the sled away and get on the skis.
(3) The closing of the Boreas Pass winter gate.

The closing of the gate is such a highlight because it means cars & trucks will no longer keep trying to drive up Boreas and destroy the snow and trail. This weekend marked the much celebrated closing of the Boreas Pass winter gate, so it was a trip up & down Boreas for our day's outing - wheeee!

"I approve, love when the gate is shut!" states Zorro as we have just enough snow to ski on
this wind-blown section of trail. If cars were still allowed, this section of trail would be
"Look at all the beautiful snow! Boreas is set to run until April or May!" exclaims a very
happy Max at our quick break high up on Boreas Pass.
It was a short & fast outing today; but extremely aerobic as we were breaking trail for the majority of the outing: 6.3 miles with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 16 MPH.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Back on the Snow

"Friday night snow" meant "Saturday morning we go!"

Is there one Siberian or two in this shot?
Max and Zorro are so "shoulder to shoulder" you almost cannot see two bodies in the
big fur ball :-)

We had been off the trails for the past week. The daily high temperatures had melted our "close to home" trails and we had other commitments for the week that prevented us from driving to the trails deep in the backcountry that would have sufficient snow. But, Friday night finally corrected this week long lull and we got a good dump of snow to refresh the trails near home! There was much celebrating when we awoke to the fresh snow Saturday morning...

Laying fresh tracks up a steep section of trail. A typical cross country skier would need to
fan out the skis and "duck walk" to ascend this incline.
But, a "Siberian Powered Skijorer" only needs to shuffle the feet to help a little as I
parallel ski uphill! Whee!

Cruising along in French Gulch - coming back down the track we set on the way up.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

At our "deep in the backcountry" turnaround point.
Max rolling his snow angels to cool off.
Zorro demonstrating how wonderfully deep the snow is if you step off the main trail.

We are all hoping this weekend's storm is the one to finally set all of our trails with snow for the rest of the season. Hopefully no more of 7+ days off the trails until May! Pray for Snow!

Today's outing covered 8.9 miles with 950 feet of elevation climbed, a top speed of 17 MPH and laying fresh tracks for most of the day.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


It started as such a peaceful early morning skijoring French Gulch today...
Trotting along, enjoying the peaceful day.

It was peaceful until.... MOOSE! We encountered 2 moose on the trail.

As we came around a bend in the trail, all moose broke loose!
It might be hard to see in the photo, but it felt soooo close! The Siberians have it
in sight and are locked & ready to launch. There is another moose to the left; but
Max & Zorro are locked on the one highlighted above.

What to do when encountering moose while skijoring? Throw your body to the ground in an attempt to anchor the wild Siberians!

As you can see by the angle of the skis, I am on the ground attempting to anchor the moose
juiced pair! Luckily the moose wanted nothing to do with us and trotted away.
"Why did they leave? Why are you on the ground stopping us from chasing? Come back
moose, come back!" exclaim Max & Zorro after both moose trotted far off in the distance.
Almost time for me to try and stand up...

As I said, an otherwise peaceful morning disrupted by a shot of "moose juice" in the Siberians! We skijored out & back in French Gulch and up & down Little French Gulch - 7.2 miles with 1050 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Top Speed: 23 MPH

Today's top speed skijoring was 23 MPH - zoom!
(see the video below)
Airborne, sprinting Siberians...

It was "warm" (in the mid 30s) when we started, so I was not sure if my Siberian pals were going to be into a sprint day or if they were going to hold it to a trot to keep from getting hot. Well, the answer was, "fast now, cool off later!"

Sprinting along the trails near Sally Barber Mine. The GPS clocked us a 23 MPH along 
this stretch.  Excuse the "affectionate neck nibble" Zorro gives Max about 2/3 of the way
through the sprint (but he does pop out of the nibble and back into a sprint nicely :-)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Given today's top speed of 23 MPH, it is safe to say the Siberians are in mid-season form and it is only November 8th. Fun, fun fun!

Such happy tails as my focused pals spin around on command to turn around and head
back to the trailhead.
Did I mention it was a "Siberian Hot Day" with temperatures starting in the mid 30s and
approaching the low 40s? Must roll snow angels and chomp down on snow cones to
cool off!

A fun 8.1 miles today with a fast top speed of 23 MPH and 1000 feet of elevation climbed.