Friday, January 31, 2014

Extreme Powder

An extreme trail breaking day.
12+ inches on the main trail & 24+ inches on the side trails!
"As deep as me - wheeee!" expresses happy trail breaking Max.

We headed to one of the fun "powder trails" this morning with the intent of going up, down and across Baldy Mountain. We were first to the trail and started the day breaking trail in about 12 inches of powder; and it only got deeper & deeper from there...

About 30 yards from the Baldy Mountain Trailhead and we have the foot of snow
all to ourselves!

Baldy Mountain consists of a heavily used main trail and whole network of lesser used side trails. The main trail would have been tracked & packed yesterday; so the fresh 12 inches we found was all "new snow overnight"! After heading up the main trail for a while, we decided to turn onto one of our favorite side trails. Well, the side trail had been untouched for the duration of this current storm leading to an untouched trail of 24-30 inches of powder - see below!

"Deeper than me - up, up & away!" demonstrates the tall trail breaking pro Max.
What a nice shot of the athletic Max launching himself into the snow.
"I'll follow back here!" says cute little Zorro in a snow wall behind Max that is
taller than him!
The snow is at least 2 feet deep and Max is able to launch himself completely out of the
snow as he breaks trail. Impressive!

Well, we only made it a little ways on the first side trail before deciding "wow, that's deep!" and coming back to the main trail.

Back on the main trail retracing our path to check some other side trails. Zorro and I are riding
in the track we set on the way up. Max, on the other hand, says "Back to a piddly 12 inches.
I'll keep breaking trail over here."

We arrived at another of our favorite side trails and it was "second verse, same as the first" with 24-30 inches of untouched snow!

Swimming in the snow on the second side trail we went to explore.
Nice thing about an "out & back" side trail is that you get to ride in the trail you carved
on the return leg. Trail breaking Max is happy to let Zorro run in lead on all the return legs.
A pretty nice looking trail we cut in the deep snow, huh?

It was then back to the main trail and we went up a little further to explore yet a third side trail. Well, you guessed it, "third verse, same as the first" - an untouched 24-30 inch trail breaking exercise. A little out & back on the third side trail and it was back to the main trail to return back to the trailhead.

Wheeee - the main trail seems so easy after our 3 side trail excursions as we quickly
descend down our up tracks to return home.

Breaking trail in 12-30 inches lead to a short but very aerobic 5.1 miles with 600 feet of elevation climbed.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 80 days on the trails covering 686.9 miles with 80,700 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Powder Day

We awoke to over a foot of new snow at home. You know what that means...
Trail Breaking Powder Day!!!!!

Serious trail breaking up the Sally Barber Mine Trail.
Look at the trough behind Zorro to realize we are busting through 15 inches or more!

We are in the middle of a multi-day storm that is promising to dump up to 30 inches of snow on Breckenridge. Well, we had a foot of snow at home this morning, we were in 15+ inches of snow on the trails all day and it is still snowing! 30 inches - bring it on!!! Wheeee!

Another good view of the "snow troughs" behind my trail breaking partners!
"Woo - this is a WORKOUT; but we LOVE it!" say the happy Siberians as they look
back while pausing to catch their breath.
Sometimes it is hard to really see the depth of the snow in the pictures from behind. Here is
a great view of Max restarting after the happy pause above. Tall Max is busting through snow
deeper than his long legs! This is easily 15-18 inches of trail breaking work - impressive!

Sometimes the human needs to stop momentarily for equipment adjustments, gps checks or other silly excuses. Max is always quick to tell me what he thinks of "human induced stops"...

"BOOOORING! BOOOOORING!!! How much longer?!?" says Max who always gives me a
huge yawn if the "human induced stop" is taking too long.
"Seriously? I mean SERIOUSLY?!? How much longer?" says intense Zorro (he does not
give me the verbal, like Max, but the intense stare says it all :-)

A day of absolute extreme trail breaking. Not much mileage but about as aerobic an outing as you can get: 6.4 miles with 400 feet of elevation climbed and 15+ inches almost the entire day!

2013/2014 Season to Date: 79 days on the trails covering 681.8 miles with 80,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Video Day

We had so many incredible video clips to select from on today's outing. I first narrowed the day down to 10 absolutely incredible skijoring clips and then finally settled on my favorite 2.
An incredible Video Day!

We had the full range of conditions today: laying fresh tracks, breaking trail and hitting 25 MPH on the Groomie Zoomies!

(1) Laying fresh tracks on a snowmobile trail with about 2-3 inches of fresh snow and topping 20 MPH.
Wheeee - laying fresh tracks!

Here is the video counterpart of the previous photo. We were flying along this snowmobile trail! Pay attention to the end of the video when we come upon an unexpected hump in the trail. I was convinced I was going to (accidentally) catch air as I could not avoid the hump!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

(2) Hitting a groomed section of trail and doing the "Groomie Zoomie" as we topped 25 MPH.
If it is groomed, we ZOOOOM!

Groomed sections of trail always brings out the "groomie zoomie" in Max & Zorro as the trail is easy & fast. We topped 25 MPH today, most likely in this section of video...
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

(3) Exploring an unused side trail and breaking trail in about 6-8 inches of snow.
Amazing - within a stone's throw of the groomie zoomie trail and we find 6-8 inches
of untouched trail!

(4) Flying to the finish as we follow a single "fresh ski track" along the trail.
Almost finished and still airborne sprinting Siberians!

You might wonder why we did not spend the entire day on the "groomie zoomie" and establish a record fast outing. Well, unfortunately, this is a little section of neighborhood groomed trail that exists far off the beaten path and it only extends for about a 2.5 mile loop. Well, we did all 2.5 miles in a blink and then needed more terrain. My pals are not too keen on repeating trails, so doing 4 laps and 10 miles was not an option. Instead, we explored the myriad of "summer trails" that are virtually unused in the winter that intersect the groomie zoomie to take you on fresh track and trail breaking extensions to the outing.

Laying fresh tracks, breaking trail and doing the groomie zoomie for 8.3 miles with 1050 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 25 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 78 days on the trails covering 675.4 miles with 79,700 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

But But

Today's comedy interlude from Max & Zorro, "But, but, the moose went this way!"

Cruising along the trail far back in French Gulch. Just us & a set of moose tracks that
you can see in front of Max & Zorro. 

I have frequently complimented Max & Zorro on their "trail following" skills as they have that incredible instinct sled dogs develop to follow a trail that is not visible and covered in many feet of snow. You can tease them with just about anything to try and pull them off trail - fox, deer, rabbit or other wildlife tracks are no problem. They will pass right by the distracting tracks and keep us on trail. But, here is the exception to Max & Zorro's great "on trail" skills - MOOSE TRACKS! Yep, their kryptonite is moose and fresh moose tracks can pull them right off the main trail and into the abyss as you can see below!
Okay, this is about 20 yards along the trail from the first picture. You can see a set of moose
tracks going down the ravine and into French Creek. The real trail is to the left; but here we
find my pals wandering off trail and following the moose tracks.
"But, but, the moose went this way!" demonstrate Max & Zorro getting distracted by
their only "trail following kryptonite" - MOOSE TRACKS!

Trying to follow the moose into the creek was the only "oops" of the day as we had a wonderful time laying fresh tracks up & over Sally Barber Mine and out & back in French Gulch. "Hey, it was MOOSE TRACKS, quit bagging on us!" say the traditionally perfect skijoring pair :-)

Laying fresh tracks as we crest over one of our high points of the day at Sally Barber Mine.
Fresh snow and a fresh sun starting to take over the morning sky.
Zoom, zoom we go - 3 inches of new snow all to ourselves!
Hauling the human up French Gulch in perfect shoulder-to-shoulder form.

"We continue to contend that moose tracks (and moose themselves, of course) are a perfectly valid distraction to any sled dog!" insist Max & Zorro thinking back on today's outing...

Laying fresh tracks for the majority of the day covering 8.7 miles with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 77 days on the trails covering 667.1 miles with 78,650 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Overcast Views

You know the scenery is great at Vail Pass when the views are still impressive on overcast days!
Even on a cloudy & overcast day - impressive views of the Rocky Mountains all around us.
Oh, and impressive view of the fast Siberians too!

A short & fun video of us picking up speed on a little downslope to propel us into the next gentle rise in the trail. I love "riding the sled runners (skis)" behind my sled dog pals!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

There was about 1/2 to an inch of new snow on the trails today - just enough to feel safe uncorking the Siberians all over the terrain...

Towing the human all day long - wheeee!
Still airborne and running fast as we approach the finish at the Vail Pass trailhead!

A quick outing on Vail Pass today covering 8.4 miles with 950 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 76 days on the trails covering 658.4 miles with 77,750 feet of elevation climbed.

"YES! We are having a fun day! Thanks for asking!" say my happy partners at our
turnaround point of the day.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Perfect Fast Day

Perfect conditions for a fast, fast, fast outing in Swan Valley today!
13.4 miles, 1550 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH
"What sign? Did you see a sign? I didn't." say the airborne sprinting pair.

To go along with the previous clip, here is a fun video of us flying by the SLOW sign. "Slow, Schmo - what a silly word!" demonstrate Max & Zorro. What is really impressive is that this is video is our sprint to the finish; that is, we are hauling this fast after already having run 13+ miles - impressive Siberians!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

The trails were fast all day long. Up, down or flat - it did not matter as Max & Zorro were into FAST all day long!

Putting the shoulders into an uphill sprint. "Have to haul the human, he is too slow
on his own!" say Max & Zorro.
Zoom - need I say more?
"What's with all these weird yellow signs? That 'SLOW' word must mean 'go fast', so we
will!" say Max & Zorro as we fly by another SLOW sign along the trail.

A very fast 13.4 miles with 1550 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 75 days on the trails covering 650 miles with 76,800 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Backcountry Sun

"Are you SURE we have to turnaround?
We are having a great time!" ask the
happy & inquisitive pair when I called
out time to turn around.
A beautiful blue sky and bright sun as we toured the backcountry around Indiana Creek today.

The amazing thing about the day is that it was 4 below zero when we woke up. Oh boy did the sun come through as the morning progressed. Temperatures were still in the teens when we hit the trails; but that strong & bright sun sure made it feel warm!

Blue skies & bright sun as we traverse the middle meadow in the Indiana Creek gulch.
Most of this trail is actually in the forest, not open meadows.
A nice shot of the Siberians towing me up the narrow trail through the trees.
Sprinting across the lower meadow on our way back to the trailhead - wheeee!

As has become standard for tours around Indiana Creek this year: at least one pause to search for moose in the adjacent meadows.
"Here moosie moose! Where are you? We've seen you from this exact location before!"
state the moose surveying pair.

A fun backcountry tour covering 8 miles with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 74 days on the trails covering 636.6 miles with 75,250 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Catching Air

Catching air today on the trails at Vail Pass.
(catching air for the Siberians, not me - phew :-)
Synchronized Airborne Siberians - what a beautiful sight!

It is always a fast day when we visit Vail Pass as we spend most of the outing on zippy snowmobile trails. Even the "snowshoe up route" was packed & fast today too!

Going up Shrine Pass via the snowshoe trail - narrow but packed & fast!
Fast days lead to everyone doing their preferred "cool off antics" at our turnaround point.
Max rolling snow angels and Zorro chomping down on snowcones.
More going fast, this time along the Lime Creek snowmobile trail.

Today's outing was roughly 11 miles. Here's a fun video of Max & Zorro still going fast "11 miles later" as we approach the trailhead. Everyone slows to a nice trot when we get close to the busy parking lot - good boys!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

A zoomie day covering 10.8 miles with 1400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 73 days on the trails covering 628.6 miles and 74,250 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sun and Shade

Today was a day of alternating in & out of the sun & shade as we cruised through the forest connecting Baldy Mountain to Boreas Mountain.

Happy Siberians turning around on command at our high point on Boreas Pass Rd.
One of the bluest skies I have ever seen today!

It was an absolutely beautiful January day without a single cloud in the sky leading to tranquil jogs through the forest and stunning views in the openings...

Jogging shoulder-to-shoulder on a packed trail through the shaded forest.
Note that I keep one ski "in track" and one ski "out of track" - shift weight to the in track
ski to encourage the Siberians to speed up, shift weight to the out of track ski to suggest to
the Siberians to slow down.
Transitioning from the forest onto a sunny shelf high up on Boreas.
And a final sprint to the finish to close out a fun 9 mile run.
"Hey little bro, wanna do another 9 miles?" suggests glancing Max to Zorro...

Today's outing covered 9.1 miles with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 72 days on the trails covering 617.8 miles with 72,850 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Cruising Day

A serene & peaceful outing cruising around Indiana Creek trails today.

"HI! I am having the BEST time today!" exclaims happy Max at our turnaround point of the day.
"Checking your ski, because it is going to be a fast return leg!" declares Zorro.

Our route took us out & back on one of our favorite Indiana Creek trails. The first 3/4 mile (and, thus, last 3/4 mile) is a popular and frequently used trail; so it was a wide & fast packed track.
Cruising along the heavily used 3/4 mile section of trail. This trail is never groomed, but
it gets such heavy use it almost seems groomed after a few days of no new snow.

After the first 3/4 mile, the traffic on the trail starts to drop off dramatically. It quickly becomes a "single track" that is barely 2 Siberians wide...
Trail getting narrower. Notice the Siberians glancing at the exposed Indiana Creek as
they lean to the left while jogging by. "Eek, the creek - lean to the left!"
Single track does not alway mean "slow track" as I am following my fast & airborne
partners along the narrow set trail.

We have seen a quite a few moose in Indiana Creek this year; so no outing is complete without a few "moose inspection" points...
Slowing a little as we jog by a meadow where we have seen moose before.
"Must check for moose while jogging by!" say the glancing Siberians.

A "cruising day" around Indiana Creek covering 7.9 miles with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 71 days on the trails covering 608.7 miles with 71,950 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Postcard View

A "postcard view" today of Breckenridge Ski Resort as we crested at a high point on the mountain across the valley from the ski resort.
Picture perfect blue skies and a view of the ski runs on peaks 6, 7, 8 & 9 of the ski resort
(only Peak 10 is missing from this awesome view).

A busy holiday weekend sent us to some of the more private trails around Breckenridge. It was a huge success as we found ourselves traversing 8.1 peaceful miles to take our total mileage for the season to 600.8 miles. Over 600 miles and we still have the rest of January and all of February, March and April to go (and whatever gifts the snow gods give us for May/June)!

Most of the day found us towing the human shoulder-to-shoulder on narrow trails
barely 2 Siberians wide.
We did find the occasional untouched side trail to lay fresh tracks in the snow!

Max cracked me up at our "turnaround point" - see below:
Max rolling his patented snow angel to cool off at our turnaround point.
This is, of course, perfectly normal for Max. But then...
Zorro rolling a rare snow angel as Max looks back at me to say, "Geez, how long do we
have to wait for this kid? Have you ever seen anything so weird?"
Why, yes Max, I have - YOU!

A peaceful 8.1 miles with 1100 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2013/2014 Season to Date: 70 days on the trails covering 600.8 miles with 70,950 feet of elevation climbed.