Saturday, October 31, 2015

Catching Air

Our first "catching air" shot of this young 2015/2016 season!
When the sun is at the right angle, Max & Zorro produce some beautiful "catching air" shots
as they fly along the trails!

This morning was our first outing to Rabbit Ears Pass this season. How was it? Well, look at the prior photo and the next two...
Out-stretched sprinters laying fresh tracks as we fly along the trail.
Kicking up powder as we continue to be the first tracks on the trail this morning! Wheeee!

After those first 3 photos, you are probably thinking, "Wow, what great conditions!" Well, now for the truth. Those 3 photos are from the upper shelf of our outing and, as you can see, the conditions were perfect up high. Yet, we had to get there before perfection. The mid shelf was dominated by "puddle obstacles" and you do not want to see shallow snow with occasional dirt & rocks on the lower shelf. But, it is still October, so we are perfectly willing to be creative lower to get to excellent conditions higher.
Yikes - look at that puddle taking over the entire trail as we hop to the side to get by.

At our quick break/turnaround point of the outing and...
"Ahhh, rolling snow angels to cool off!" demonstrates Max.
"Sniff, sniff, I sense moose!" exclaims intense Zorro. His 'moose radar' was certainly ON as
he was scanning this marshy meadow for the definite scent of moose.

Great conditions up high with creativity down low on Rabbit Ears lead to a 7.8 mile outing with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 16 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 6 days on the trails covering 47.8 miles with 5100 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Let it Snow

A beautiful October morning on Vail Pass with a layer of fresh snow and active snow falling all around us - wheee!
Laying fresh tracks along the Lime Creek Trail.
Perfect shoulder-to-shoulder, synchronized skijoring machines!

It started snowing a couple of hours after midnight and continued through the early morning hours. With a few hours of accumulation before sunrise, we knew the trails at Vail Pass would be perfect. We spent the majority of the day on the rolling terrain of Lime Creek (the highest of the trails at Vail Pass) and boy did we experience absolutely perfect conditions as we laid fresh tracks and broke trail all morning long!
Outstretched Max & Zorro as we lay fresh tracks on the main Lime Creek Trail.
Off the main trail and onto a side trail forking off Lime Creek.
Breaking trail in 8+ inches of fresh powder - POW!

Put it all together and you get the following short video clip from the day's outing. Sprinting along, laying fresh tracks and light snowfall sprinkling on us - wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

How good was the snow on Lime Creek - let's ask the experts:
"Amazing. Just Perfect!" exclaims ecstatic Max.
"Couldn't be better!" declares approving Zorro (notice his snow covered head).

As I mentioned, we spent most of the morning on the main Lime Creek Trail as well as exploring two side trails. After cruising along one side trail for a while we encountered a snow-covered fallen tree. It was time to head back to the trailhead, so I used this tree as our turnaround obstacle. Apparently only I found this to be an obvious turnaround obstacle...
"What? Turnaround? Why, we can hop over and continue breaking trail FOREVER!" demonstrates
determined Zorro.  "I can see over the tree, so why turnaround?" questions tall Max.

Laying fresh tracks and breaking trail all day at Vail Pass: 8.4 miles covered with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 5 days on the trails covering 40.0 miles with 4200 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sled Mistake

We took the dog sled out on Vail Pass this morning (instead of the skis).
It was a mistake, the skis would have been fine.
Oh well, still a fun time had by all!
Conversing with my attentive partners at our high point on Lime Creek. Such focus!
We were hoping for much more snow on the trails this morning. We first tried a trail close to home and aborted due to only 2-3 inches over rocks. We then headed to Vail Pass, convinced we would have enough snow to skijor on there. We drove up the front side of Shrine Pass and were again let down at the lack of snow (still only 2-3 inches over rocks). So, we put the skis away and took out the dog sled (the sled is just fine with 2-3 inches over rocks whereas skis are impossible). We hopped on the sled and started down the backside of Shrine Pass. Within a mile we all said, "Darn! There is enough snow to ski the backside!" But, Nancy had already driven off with the skis so there was no turning around. Well, no problemo, we took the opportunity to tour some parts of Vail Pass we have never visited before as we covered almost 9 miles on the sled. Come along for the fun...

Entering the backside of Shrine Pass and discovering there was enough snow to ski after all. Oh man, wish we had driven a little farther to discover this before abandoning the skis for the sled! The further we went on the backside of Shrine Pass, the deeper it got - probably up to about 7 inches of fresh snow in places!
Trotting along in tire tracks with what turned out to be enough snow in between the tracks to ski.

After the backside of Shrine Pass, we hooked a right onto Lime Creek. Look what we found - untouched snow (4-6 inches worth) as far as the eye could see! Wow, we really could have cut loose on the skis on this section of trail!
Laying fresh tracks with the morning's new snow on Lime Creek all to ourselves.

A nice jaunt up Lime Creek and then we turned around to trace our tracks back.
Return leg along Lime Creek jogging in our "out tracks".

After Lime Creek, it was time to explore Turkey Creek. This was a new trail for us to explore Vail Pass and it was perfect for the sled - almost all down or flat!
Zipping along Turkey Creek. Zorro and I (on the sled) riding in the tire track while Max
is having fun laying fresh tracks on the shoulder. Wheeee!

A "darn, should have used the skis instead of sled" day on Vail Pass but my pals and I found a way to make the best use of the sled and still pound out an 8.8 mile run!

Tally for the day: 8.8 miles covered with 350 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 16 MPH. A very flat outing (only 350 feet of elevation) by our usual standards - the perfect thing to do with the sled instead of the skis.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 4 days on the trails covering 31.6 miles with 3300 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Good, Bad, Ugly

Every year we get at least one outing that can be summed up by "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". It is typically an early season run in October or late May/early June.

Well, today was this season's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...
Taking a quick break high up on Boreas Pass before heading back down.
"Why, yes, I am having a great time!" states sweet Max conversing with me at the break point.
"Yum, yum - snowcones!" demonstrates funny Zorro.

Okay, follow along for today's Good, Bad and Ugly...

The Good: cruising along in 4+ inches of soft, champagne powder. So fun!

The Bad: yikes - look at that ice covered puddle and spotty dirt along the trail! You must be thinking, "No way you skied on that terrain - impossible!" Well, you are right. The conditions were too poor to take out the skis today, so we used the dog sled instead. The sled can handle hitting dirt & rocks while skis cannot. The downside of the sled is we cannot go as far or as fast as it is just Max & Zorro trying to pull me along. You could say the sled is our ultimate set of "rock skis" :-)

The Ugly: oh my - where did the snow go!!!! As I said, we were on the sled so traversing over frozen ground is still possible. But, I have to get off the sled and run along with Max & Zorro who can suddenly go much faster pulling & bouncing an empty sled over frozen ground. I wear my skijor gangline and hook it to the back of the sled so they do not lose me taking off with the empty sled (but I still have to run as fast as I can to keep up)!
Oh My!

Below is the comical shot of the day. We came upon this large water crossing and Max & Zorro smartly drifted to the left for the shortest part of the crossing. But, upon reaching the short part, water averse Zorro took flight. He hates touching non-frozen water and can long jump just about any water crossing.
"Toes on snow - NEVER on water!" exclaims airborne Zorro.
"What? It is just super cold & refreshing water!" states Max causally trotting through the creek.

Sled outings are never as far, fun or fast as skijor outings but it's better than summer say Max & Zorro!!!

A day of bouncing the sled along good, bad and ugly terrain between Baldy and Boreas Mountains: 6.1 miles traveled with 450 feet of elevation and a top speed of 16 MPH (which is actually pretty fast for the terrain and the sled instead of skis).

2015/2016 Season to Date: 3 days on the trails covering 22.8 miles with 2950 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Mt Evans

This morning's skijor took us on a fun climb up and down Mt. Evans.
Zipping along one of the less steep pitches of the trail - wheeee!

The first truly good snowfall of the season for Colorado started this past Thursday and not all trails got as much snow as others. As a result, we were in "snow seeking" mode and looking for where in the state was the best snow stash. It turns out that Mt. Evans was a real winner for this storm. So, we got up early and hit the road for a slightly longer than usual ride to the trailhead for toes on snow.

Nearing treeline on our ascent up Mt. Evans Rd. Max is riding in the set track from previous
skiers while Zorro is able to trot "out of track" as the snow was not too deep up high as
strong winds had blown quite a bit of powder off the top.
About 3 miles on the way up and we hopped through some deeper snow to inspect the "Mt Evans
Nature Center" (closed for winter, but still entertaining to sniff & inspect) before continuing
up higher.

Eventually the winds got quite strong above treeline, so we turned around and headed back down. A steep but very fun outing up & down Mt. Evans.

No, Max & Zorro are not attempting to take us over a cliff. Our noses brought us to the edge
to glance at wildlife before continuing onward & upward.
On the way down, we stopped to give a skier directions & info about following our tracks up.
"Can we go now?" asks happy Max. "Hope we helped!" states curious Zorro watching the skier
start up without Siberian Assistance (how silly to ski without sleddog assistance!)

An energetic climb up Mt. Evans followed by a gentle glide down: 7.6 miles covered with 1400 feet of elevation climbed.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 2 days on the trails covering 16.7 miles with 2500 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Season Opener

Our 2015/2016 Skijoring Season finally got underway this morning with a fun 9.1 mile run on Vail Pass.
Zoom we go as we are so happy to finally be back on snow and running for miles & miles!

It had been a dry October in Colorado and Max & Zorro had been "chomping at the bit" to get our team back on snow. It is so fun to get that slow human back on skis so that we can go real speeds and distances. Off we go...
It was pedal to the metal from the start.

A short clip to show you the nice conditions and terrain we found at Vail Pass. It is still hunting season, so a truck had driven the pass just before we got out on the trail. This actually made for a fast run as Max & Zorro each took a "packed tire track" to run in while I got to safely glide along in the 4-6 inches of powder in between the tracks. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

At our turnaround point of the day and Max was in midseason form:
"Just a second, I must roll a snow angel to cool off before restarting!" demonstrates silly Max.
"Okay, angel done - lets get this team going again!" expresses Max.
"Yep, aligned and ready to go!" demonstrates Zorro.
I said, "Time to turnaround" and then the following happened....
"Okay, turned around - lets go!" exclaims happy Zorro.
"What?!?!? 'Turnaround' - are we really going to use that unnecessary command this season?
Why would we ever turnaround?" states Max in serious question of my 'turnaround' request.

Back on snow and ready for another great season! Today's tally on Vail Pass: 9.1 miles covered with 1100 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

Friday, October 9, 2015


Soon, the 2015/2106 season should be starting soon...
Snow from 10,500 feet to over 14,000 feet Wednesday morning. We hiked to the top of Bald Mountain
to get this view across the valley of the Ten Mile Range, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Quandary Peak
and more. "Soon my friends, soon!" was all I could tell Max & Zorro as we surveyed the white dusting
and dreamt of starting the 2015/2016 season.

It has been a very dry fall in Colorado so we are anxiously awaiting moisture to line our trails with snow to start the 2015/2016 Skijoring Season.

Take a look at last year's "opening day" blog post which found us skijoring on October 4th!

Soon, soon we hope... Pray for Snow!