Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Having a great time doing our favorite skijor activity on the trails at Swan Valley: playing chase, pass and interact with the dog sled teams from Good Times Adventures. Wheeee!
Flying along the trails behind an 8 dog team from Good Times. The "bright colored" musher
makes it easy to see the team in front of us!
Good Times closes for the season tomorrow! They can only run so many tours on National Forest land each season, so, despite the great trail conditions, they are still closing tomorrow. Max & Zorro LOVE running the trails with the dog sled teams so we had to get one last fun run in with teams from Good Times this morning. We had a ton of fun! A nice "chase photo" above and a bunch more fun below:

Passing a paused team on the trail.
"Hi friends! Coming through!' say fast passing Max & Zorro.

Love this shot of the black wheel dog below. We were paused at a trail intersection to let this team go by. Max and the black wheel are clearly exchanging pleasantries.
"Hi buddy! You look like my little bro!" states Max.
"Hi friends, you look fun!" declares the wheel dog.

Finally, a fun video clip from the morning. Every once in a while we get behind a timid musher who is clearly "riding the brake" along the trails as we gain ground too fast. Today's short clip is one such case.

I call this a "ready, set, go ... wait" video. Max & Zorro are "ready & set" in the beginning as I am driving my skis and poles into the snow to hold them back from going. Then the team on the trail in front of us finally goes, so we do too. But, the musher is clearly riding the brake as I am snowplowing most of the video to keep us back but we are still gaining ground. Eventually we get "too close" (and the trail is too narrow to pass) so I have to plow into a wait to give the team a bigger headstart - "ready, set, go ... wait":
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Lots of teams on the trails - what a fun day:
"Superb!" exclaim the happy pair looking back at me at a brief pause on the trail.

Cannot believe Good Times is done running tours for the season! Oh well, we made the most of it today: 9.8 miles traveled with 1200 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 25 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 106 days on the trails covering 900.3 miles with 98300 feet of elevation climbed. 900 miles and counting - 1000 here we come...

Sunday, March 27, 2016


Fast terrain + scent of moose = zoom!
Flying along behind my "moose juiced" skijor partners.
We went to Swan Valley this morning with the intent of skijoring alongside the dog sled team from Good Times Adventures. We were quite let down when we got to the parking lot to find no cars. Oh my, is Good Times already closed for the season?!? We figured that must be the case. Yet the terrain was perfect, so we decided to skijor the trails with the hopes of eventually running into a dog sled team.

Well, no such luck - not a dog sled team to be found on the trails. So, we turned to our second favorite activity at Swan Valley - moose seeking! Moose are prevalent in this area but you rarely see them once all the dog teams and snowmobiles from Good Times are out on the trails. No dog teams, no snowmobiles and just quiet Max & Zorro. So.... MOOSE!!! We did not actually see one, but the "scent of moose" was everywhere!
"Sniff - I KNOW there is one in the trees to the right!" declares moose seeking Max.
"I believe you, I'm looking, I'm looking!" states moose scanning Zorro.

A little further along the trail and...
"I smell them to the left this time!" declares Max.
"Really? really? Let me see!" says Zorro.
"You are right! You are right! Moose scent to the left!" exclaims Zorro.

Ok, so seeing moose from a distance is fun; but closeup moose encounters are NOT. Max & Zorro have a distinct behavior when the scent of moose is prevalent. I can see it in their actions. Now, the trails at Swan Valley have lots of blind corners. Nobody (except Max & Zorro :) wants to come around a corner and find a closeup moose. So, what to do? Well, I learned this trick from Iditarod mushers... If you sense moose nearby (from the actions of your sled dogs), start to sing really loud as moose want nothing to do with humans and will move off the trail when they hear you.

My favorite "moose go away" song to sing is "Henry the 8th". So, here you go, turn up the volume and listen to me belting out the first verse of Henry the 8th as we fly along the trail. An interesting side effect to my singing? Well, Max & Zorro know I only sing this song when moose are nearby. I start singing when I see their moose intensity; but the two of them add extra juice to the moose engine when I start singing. To them it is, "Oh my, nose impaired dad can smell it too! Moose MUST be nearby!"
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

No dog sled teams to run with today so we did the next best thing and filled our noses with the scent of moose. A fun replacement activity:
"Yes! Love scent of moose! And glad you smelled it too and started singing!" declare
my happy partners.

A day of moosing... 9.2 miles traveled with 1100 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 105 days on the trails covering 890.5 miles with 97100 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, March 26, 2016


Breaking trail and breaking the speed limit - all in a days work :)
Breaking trail in 10-12 inches of fresh powder in the upper view.
Breaking the speed limit and topping 25 MPH skijoring in the lower view.
Breaking trail and breaking the speed limit - perfect day!
This morning took us to our favorite "mixed terrain" set of trails. We skijor backcountry trails through the forest to eventually get to a fast loop of groomed terrain and the it is to the backcountry again to get from the zoom loop back to the trailhead. It has been snowing almost every day for the past week so the backcountry sections of today's outing required some serious trail breaking work.

What a Siberian Treat - break trail in a foot of powder to get rewarded with a fast zoom loop and then break trail again to close out the day. Not much can top breaking trail and breaking speed limits on the same outing. But, moose encounters would be a topper....
"Sniff, sniff - fresh MOOSE TRACKS!" declare the head dunking pair.
We failed to spot an actual moose on today's outing, just lots of fun filling our noses
with the scent of moose.
Quick pause as we transitioned out of breaking trail and onto the fast zoom loop. Everybody ready to open up the throttle?
"Yes! So ready!" exclaims happy Max.
"I already had my foot on the gas when you paused to ask such a stupid question!" declares
'why are we stopped' Zorro.

Done with the zoom loop and it is onto backcountry trails again. Fun day!
Laying fresh tracks again - wheeee!

Breaking trail to breaking speed limits to breaking trail again: 8.1 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 25 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 104 days on the trails covering 881.3 miles with 96000 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, March 25, 2016


We are happy to report that most of this morning's skijor footage was blurred by heavy falling snow covering the GoPro camera case!
This is what most of today's footage looked like. The blurs are snowflakes that have stuck
and started to accumulate on the GoPro case.

I would continually wipe the camera case only to have it acquire and accumulate snow again within 30-60 seconds! But, we did get some footage in between camera wipes...

The right side of the camera starting to accumulate snow but still a clear shot down the middle. Look directly up from Max and you see what you might think is a big cloud in between the trees. This is actually a big snowflake about to land on the camera case!
Zipping along in the morning's fresh snow - wheeee!

Wipe the camera case clear as we crest and trot by Sally Barber Mine. Look at Zorro's snow-covered white back! It was dumping snow on us all day - yay!
Snow covered Zorro (Max too, but it is easier to see on black Zorro).
All the white dots on the mine are snowflakes falling as we trot by.

We are also happy to report that this morning's outing was slowed (mileage wise) by accumulating snow on the trail. From laying fresh tracks to breaking trail as the snow kept falling & falling!
Snow blurs on the sides of the camera case with a nice open view down the middle of trail
breaking Max & Zorro.

I cleared the camera case just in time to catch Max & Zorro's noses pulling them off trail to scan the forest for moose. There was indeed a big old brown moose hiding in the trees across the way staring back at us!
"You may think you are camouflaged but we smell & see you!" declare the expert moosers.

Back to the trailhead and at least Nancy's camera was clear of snow. Max & Zorro get chopped pork and the end of each run as a reward for towing me all over the mountains.
"Yum!!!!" states pork snacking Max.
"I see my next chunk in your right hand! My turn, my turn!" declares intense & focused Zorro.

Great to have the day blurred by snow as we are building snowpack for April & May. Great to have the day slowed by breaking trail in accumulating snow. What a day! 8.2 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 103 days on the trails covering 873.2 miles with 95000 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Fresh snow on Baldy Mountain always leads to a fun, fun run - wheee!
Laying fresh tracks in the morning's new snow. Love the freshies on Baldy Mountain!

We only skijor Baldy Mountain after fresh snow. The terrain is very steep and the trail is so popular with backcountry skiers that new snow gets packed within a day or two of falling. But, if the snow is fresh, we have the funnest time skijoring up Baldy and then flying down in the freshies. I learned the hard way many years ago that Baldy's steepness + Max & Zorro's speed means it is impossible to skijor down without fresh powder to slow you down! Ouch, I still remember that lesson :)

But, back to today... There was 2-5 inches of fresh snow all over the trails with active snowfall during the entire outing. A perfect day for a Baldy Fun Run!

After a warm first two days of Spring, temperatures were back to the teens this morning. Cool temperatures plus fresh snow makes for frisky puppies!
"I'm feeling frisky little bro! Ready to punch the gas pedal?" says giddy Max to Zorro as we
came around a corner and into a fast straightaway with fresh snow!

Zorro's black coat is always quite useful for showcasing active snowfall during the outing...
I count 4 big snowflakes you can see against Zorro's black coat. It was snowing pretty hard
for parts of the outing. It is impossible to see the "snowfall against snow" and hard to see flakes
against Max's red & white coat; but Zorro is the perfect snowflake highlighter!

I do not wear goggles while skijoring and use a cap with bill instead to keep sun & snow out of my eyes. But, a couple times a year, the snow is falling so hard that I actually wish I had goggles as the snowflakes get under the bill and pelt my eyeballs. I tend to just squint and/or look down and put my trust in Max & Zorro to keep us on trail. That has never failed me yet - great partners. Today's short video clip shows us flying along the main Baldy Trail with active snow falling. I did not see most of this clip until I got home as my eyes were getting pelted by the snow! Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Inspecting an old mining cabin on one of the side trails we explored on Baldy...
"This wall looks structurally sound to me - we should move in!" declares wall inspector Max.
"Agreed. Great layout inside - open floor plan with snow!" declares home inspector Zorro.

Fun morning using the fresh snow to play on steep Baldy Mountain: 7.7 miles traveled with 1400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH

2015/2016 Season to Date: 102 days on the trails covering 865.0 miles with 94200 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Great day jogging narrow, barely 2 Siberians wide, trails out & back in French Gulch!
Max & Zorro enjoying the beautiful morning jogging narrow backcountry trails - wheeee!

Quick stop for equipment adjustment. Zorro wanted to make sure I got everything fixed. Max was unimpressed by my need to stop :)
"You ok back there? I am having a great time!" exclaims happy little Zorro.
"Yawn... Let me know when we can go!" declares unimpressed Max.

Time to turn around and head back. But first....
"Must roll snow angels to cool off! Spring is such a hot time of year!" states Max & Zorro.

Great outing - just ask Max:
"Loving life!" signed Max!

A quiet & peaceful day jogging out & back in French Gulch on narrow backcountry trails: 8.4 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 101 days on the trails covering 857.3 miles with 92800 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, March 21, 2016


Well, it is the first full day of Spring...
"Never been so hot! Rolling snow angels to cool off!" declare Max & Zorro taking a quick
break to cool themselves at our midpoint of the outing.

This morning's outing took us to Vail Pass. The route we took lets us travel through a mix of trail types. We start with narrow, backcountry trails as we climb Shrine Pass and then tour around the huts sprinkled throughout the forest. We then drop out of the hut system and onto the groomed, wide and fast snowmobile trails to open up the throttle and really fly. Such a fun mix for the day!

Narrow, backcountry trails leading to and connecting the huts:
Nice wide angle view shot as we trot along the hut system trails. So peaceful!

Out of the hut trails and onto the groomie zoomie snowmobile trails - wheeee!
Fun "hover husky" shot of airborne Max & Zorro. The terrain and angle of the sun at Vail Pass
always leads to at least one nice hover husky shot during the outing!

Today's video highlight starts by showcasing how perfect the conditions were at Vail Pass as we are flying along beautifully groomed terrain. Near the end of the video we get some nice "action" as we encounter a set of snowmobiles. The trail is wide enough that we do not need to stop for the snowmobiles. But, watch as Zorro (who does not like to be on the 'inside track' for snowmobile encounters) slows himself, then ducks under the gangline and finally speeds up right back into perfect form (but now on the 'outside track'). Very talented!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Fun day, right?
"You bet!" exclaim the happy & satisfied Max & Zorro looking up at me when I asked if
everyone was enjoying the day.

Narrow hut tours to wide open groomie zoomies - today had it all! 8.9 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 100 days on the trails covering 848.9 miles with 91800 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, March 19, 2016


Having a ball running the trails with our dog team buddies from Good Times Adventures this morning!
Sprinting along the trail with an 8-dog team in front of us. Love to run behind and keep
pace with the dog teams!

We had lots of fun encounters with dog teams from Good Times this morning. A busy (but very fun) morning on the trails for sled dogs! We had all kinds of encounters from the chase photo above to...

Pausing at an intersection of trails to let a team go by...
"Hi friends! We'll be right behind you!" declare Max & Zorro to the team crossing
the trail in front of us.

Executing a tight "on by" with another team on the trails...
"Hi buddies... Coming through!" say Max & Zorro to the oncoming team.

To another fun game of chase. Watch closely and you can make out the sled team on the trail in front of us as we fly along the terrain behind them. The team comes to a stop near the end of the video so polite Max backs off to a gentle trot (whereas 'never say slow' Zorro keeps on trucking :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Finally, for the comical story of the day. We are paused as there is a sled team stopped just around the corner (to the right) on the trail in front of us. There is also a team stopped up to the left behind the trees; and, finally, there is a team stopped behind us. Since these are tours from Good Times the teams often stop for the guides to give instructions to the mushers. You cannot see the other teams; but Max & Zorro knew all were there. As usual, Max lost patience with all this stoppage and started bucking and singing his Siberian "Let's Go!" chant....
Bucking bronco Max jumping and yelling, "Let's Go!"
Even Zorro is a mini bucking bronco fed up with such stoppage ;)

Max's chant got dogs from all of the other 3 teams to start bucking and singing too. It was now a 4-way chorus between Max and the 3 teams when suddenly (typically quiet & focused) Zorro even joined in the chant! The tourists loved seeing all these sled dogs doing the Siberian "Let's Go!" chant lead by lead singer Max!
"Let's Go!" joins Zorro with Max in the 4 way chorus!

A lot of fun dog sled interactions on the trail this morning! 9.4 miles traveled with 1100 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 99 days on the trails covering 840.0 miles with 90800 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Let it Snow

It has been snowing since Monday with no signs of stopping yet! Yay!
Breaking trail up the Sally Barber Mine Trail.

We spent the majority of this morning's outing on the Sally Barber Mine and French Gulch trails. As of 5am Friday morning, Breckenridge Ski Resort had received 39 inches of new snow since Monday and it has continued snowing since then! As a result, even though both Sally Barber and French Gulch are heavily used terrain, each day has required a new effort of setting the trail in the day's fresh snow. Typically these two trails will have a set "dual track" (i.e., an up vs down track) so that Max & Zorro can each occupy a track and run side by side as shown in the photo above.

But, when the snow has fallen as much as recently, the dual tracks tend to degrade into a single track (nobody but Max & Zorro want to break trail, so people use the same track for both directions). Today found us in this configuration - a single track (only one Siberian wide) with 12-24 (or more) inches of powder if you stepped out of the track. When this happens, Max & Zorro will take turns running lead as we single file skijor in the single track as it is not possible for either to keep up with the in-track partner if they try to run out of track in the deep snow. It is a little slower, but still a lot of fun...
Max running lead breaking trail in 8+ inches in the single track (with respect to 24 or more if
you step out of the track!)

My job in single track skijoring is to widen the trail for another day. I will ski with one ski in-track (the glide ski) and one ski out of track (the trail making ski). This serves to widen the trail and it will become 2 Siberians wide again for the next use. Widening the trail is the least I can do given all the sled dog propulsion I get up & down the trails :)
Zorro's turn... This time the single track is a little clearer in front of us as it has about 6 inches
of new snow vs the shoulders which still have 18+ if you step out of track.

Almost all of Sally Barber and French Gulch was a single-file skijoring, single track today with 6-12 inches of trail-breaking fresh snow in the single track! That is quite a fun Siberian Workout! Everybody ready to turn around?
"I'm game!" exclaims happy Max.
"Seems a little early to be turning around!" declares forward-focused Zorro.

Zorro was right, it was 'early' to turnaround, but I had a plan... With this much new snow, French Gulch Road (open to vehicles) would be packed by cars but still have enough snow to open the throttle. Max & Zorro were quite happy with my early turnaround once we got to the road and found snowpacked tire tracks to let us add a fast 1.5 to 2 miles to end our day!
Zoom we go along French Gulch Road! It may not look like it, but the road has packed & wide
tire tracks enabling us to get back into our preferred should-to-shoulder skijor sprint! Wheeee!

A lot of trail breaking this morning and then a fast road sprint to end the day: 7.3 miles traveled with 550 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 98 days on the trails covering 830.6 miles with 89700 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

You're Welcome

Two skiers skinning up Baldy Mountain wanted to "thank & pet" Max & Zorro for breaking trail for others in the 8-12 inches of fresh snow this morning!
"My pleasure!" says composed Max.
"YOU'RE WELCOME!" declares overzealous Zorro :)

We traded mileage for snow this morning as we were breaking trail in 8-12 inches of snow for almost the entire outing. We will happily give back mileage today for snowpack to last into May! Yay!

The majority of our route was a semi-circle on Baldy. So it was breaking trail up, down and around!
Setting the trail up Baldy Mountain. Wheeee!
Breaking trail as we jog by the ruins of the historic Mountain Pride Mine.
(these are actually ruins of the homes at Mountain Pride, not the mine itself)
Breaking trail down Baldy Mountain. This is the section of Baldy Mountain where we are usually
flying and topping 20 MPH. Not today, though, as we got to enjoy 8-12 inches of fresh snow!

Fun day breaking trail most of the way as we added some great snowpack to keep us going until and through May! 6.2 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 97 days on the trails covering 823.3 miles with 89150 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, March 14, 2016

27 MPH

The GPS clocked us at our top speed ever this morning - skijoring 27 MPH! Zoom!
What 27 MPH looks like from behind Max & Zorro with the GPS recorded top speed
overlaid in the upper left corner. Zooooom!

Today proved that we have been operating under two false hypotheses...

Hypothesis One: We had believed that our top skijor speed was 26 MPH as we believed that was Zorro's top speed. Zorro is shorter than Max, so we always thought tall Max's top speed was probably more than 26 but we would always top out at 26 as a team as that was Zorro's top speed (you are only as fast as your slowest dog). Well, today we hit 27 MPH - so this hypothesis was wrong...

Hypothesis Two: Max turned 9 years old last month so his "top speed days" were behind him (he's shown no signs of slowing down at all, but he is 9). Well.... 27 MPH at 9 years old - hypothesis wrong!

Here we go from today's record outing...
"Hey little bro - can you do it? Can you top 26? Try to keep up with me!" whispers Max
to Zorro as we sprint along the trails.

Today's video highlight is actually two short excerpts from our outing combined into one clip. I am sure that it was at some point during these two excerpts that we were clocked at 27 MPH. Watch, hang on and come along for the fast fun - wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

"Told you I could! Told you, told you, told you!" yells Zorro the hovercraft to Max
as he had proven us all wrong today about what is our top speed.

What an amazingly fast day. One more parting shot of the record outing:
27 MPH Hovercraft!

I knew we went fast today and totally expected a top speed on the GPS of 25 or 26 MPH. Little did I know we were setting a personal record! 8.3 miles traveled with 1100 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 27 MPH!

2015/2016 Season to Date: 96 days on the trails covering 817.1 miles with 88250 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Follow Fun

Having fun running behind the 8-dog sled teams from Good Times Adventures this morning!
Zooming along the trail as you can see an 8-dog team in front of us.
Max & Zorro love playing "sled dog chase" on the trails with teams from Good Times.

Pausing at a meeting of trails as we let a team go by.
"Hi friends! We'll be right behind you!" declare focused Max & Zorro.

Today's video highlight shows how much fun Max & Zorro have finding and running behind a dog sled team.

You can just barely make out a dog team on the trail in front of us at the start of the video as we then sprint & wind through the trees until we pop out on an open straightaway and you then get a good look of the team running in front of us. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Do you think Max & Zorro like an outing of "dog sled seek & chase"? Let's ask them:
"YES! Love today's outing!" declares happy Max.
"Could I look any happier? No way!" exclaims ecstatic Zorro.

A morning of "dog sled seek & chase" covering 8.8 miles with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 95 days on the trails covering 808.8 miles with 87150 feet of elevation climbed.