Saturday, April 30, 2016

Oh Yeah

Breaking Trail on April 30th! Oh Yeah!
Cruising Upper French Gulch as we break trail in 8-12 inches of fresh powder! Amazing.

You do not often get to report breaking trail on April 30th. But, this morning we found French Gulch full of fresh & untouched snow. We were in 4-12 inches of powder all day long! Laying fresh tracks and breaking trail for 7 miles on the last day of April. What a treat!

Upper French Gulch was as shown in the previous photo: 8-12 inches of fresh powder all to ourselves. Middle French Gulch gets plowed a few times a season, so you get these massive snow walls on the sides of the trail with fresh powder down the middle. Mid French Gulch had about 6-8 inches of fresh snow for us to glide through:
Snow walls on each side of us as we cruise along in 6+ inches of powder.

Even Lower French Gulch found us laying fresh tracks all morning long. It is a very rare treat for the sun-exposed and lower elevation section of this trail to have 4+ inches of snow on April 30! Wheeee!
Nothing but fresh snow in front of us! 

Laying fresh tracks in Lower French Gulch to breaking trail in Upper French Gulch. A very satisfying April 30th:
"Wow - my toes have never been so happy on April 30!" exclaims happy Max.
"Yippee - wheeee!" declares happy little Zorro!

Happily slowed on this morning's outing by breaking trail on April 30: 7 miles traveled with 650 feet of elevation climbed.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 128 days on the trails covering 1075.9 miles with 118,500 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, April 29, 2016


Goofball Max decided to take over today's skijor outing :)
Great shot of "proper skijoring" along the spring crust in an open meadow.
A rare shot for the day :)

Max woke up this morning in a goofy mood. From the time we got up, he was bouncing off the walls acting like a silly puppy. I was joking (I thought) when I said, "Sure hope this behavior does not carry over onto the trails!" Well...

Ruppy [defn]: A red colored Siberian Husky who loses control and gets a case of the "puppy brains".

Ask yourself if this looks like proper skijoring form...
"Hehe, hey little bro - I'm feeling FRISKY!" declares ruppy Max dorking with Zorro as Zorro
and I try to skijor this morning.

Now, why would someone decide to hurdle his brother while skijoring? Must be a ruppy...
"Wheeeee - I can fly!" exclaims silly Max suddenly deciding to hurdle Zorro as we were skijoring.
You can see my skis cutting into a snowplow to try and stop while the hurdling ruppy loses it again!

Here is Max the Ruppy in video action. Listen as I am calling out repeatedly to try and correct the "broken red rudder" until we finally turn a corner and "right the ship" into a real skijoring team again! Now, it may look like Zorro is participating; but, believe me, I was there, Max was starting it all day long. Poor, innocent Zorro is just trying to deal with the big ruppy pest :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We used to call today's behavior a visit from Planet Z as it was so common our first year skijoring when Zorro was a 1 year old puppy brain. Today the 9 year old Ruppy Max paid a visit to Planet Z before bringing a case of the puppies to the trails.
"Who me?" asks innocent acting Max.
"So tough being the 'face of reason and composure' in this pack!" declares Zorro.
If you know Zorro, you laughed as hard reading that last comment as I did writing it :)

I guess there could be worse things than having your 9 year old act like a 9 month old all morning long... 8.3 miles traveled (yes, we did shed the ruppy occasionally :) with 950 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 127 days on the trails covering 1068.9 miles with 117,850 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ski Resort

A fun day skijoring Breckenridge Ski Resort!
"What a blast!" exclaim my happy partners as we come around a corner near the end
of our run for the day.
Breckenridge Ski Resort closed for the season last Sunday. Even though the mountain is full of snow, it is hard for the rest of the world to fathom that it is still ski season (and the tourists stop coming). So, the resort is closed with the mountain still full of snow. "Guess we'd better put that snow to use!" was what Max, Zorro and I decided this morning.

I was able to ride the "Siberian Husky Rope Tow" up the mountain and then fly down behind the "Siberian Husky Trail Blazers" down the mountain. Come along for the fun...

Riding the Siberian Husky Rope Tow up the mountain.

We climbed up, up, up and then turned around for a fast sprint down:
Zooming along as we cross under a chairlift.
Still zipping along as the Beaver Run Hotel comes into view at the base of Peak 9.

Today's video highlight is composed of two parts spliced together. The first 1/2 we are skijoring across ski runs as I glide behind Max & Zorro. The second 1/2 has us skijoring down one of the ski runs as you'll see the "back & forth" of the camera as I slalom behind my skijoring partners. Wheee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

What a fun day!
"Loved it! Just loved it!" exclaims happy Max at the end of our run.
"End of run means 'end of run' pork treats. I can taste them already!" states silly Zorro doing
a 'yum slurp' before we even get the treats out!

Now remember that ski resorts are designed around downhill skiing, so the terrain is steep. A quick outing today covering 5.2 miles with 1300 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 126 days on the trails covering 1060.6 miles with 116,900 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Such incredible focus as we get our "end of run" pork treats at the trailhead this morning!
"You've got them, we want them!" declare the intense pair.
The white dots in the photo are fresh falling snowflakes all around us.

There was 3-6 inches of fresh snow all over Rabbit Ears Pass this morning. Not a track or trail was visible as far as the eye could see. We were first on the pass after a night of fresh snowfall. What a late April treat!
Fresh snow on the ground, snow still falling and it was all ours everywhere we went!

Max was thinking, "We should probably camp up here to make use of all this fresh snow!" Well, it just so happens that we were skijoring around Dumont Lake and came upon Dumont Lake Campground...
"What? Closed?!? Is this Wally World??? Why would the campground be closed with
such perfect conditions?" exclaims perplexed Max looking at the closed sign for Dumont
Lake Campground.

This is an extremely popular summer campground with reservations needed weeks (or months) in advance. Yet, here we were in "perfect Siberian conditions" and the campground was closed. Who closes a campground for winter :)

"No really, why is it closed? Who closes a campground when the conditions are perfect (winter)
and opens it when the conditions are broken (summer)?" asks snow loving Max. "Closed with
snowcones everywhere, why?" asks Zorro snacking on snowcones while I try to explain to Max
that humans close campgrounds in winter.

Fresh snow everywhere, campground closed... Guess it is all for us to use:
Zoom we go running through about 4 inches of fresh powder in the forest.

Only time for a short run today, but we sure made the most of it! 5.8 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a mild top speed of 16 MPH (we were never in less than 3 inches of powder and 4+ most of the day).

2015/2016 Season to Date: 125 days on the trails covering 1055.4 miles with 115,600 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Track Follow

"Pick a track to follow" day at Rabbit Ears Pass - wheeee!
Following a solo snowmobile track for miles & miles with 1-2 fresh snow atop the track.
So peaceful - endless skijoring!
We decided to play "pick a track/follow the track" at Rabbit Ears Pass this morning. It was dumping snow yesterday and, since the snow season is winding down, only a few snowmobiles made it out on the new snow since yesterday afternoon. Instead of following the set trails at Rabbit Ears, we decided to wing it and just follow snowmobile tracks wherever they took us. There was 1-2 inches of new snow in all the tracks we encountered, so we were laying fresh tracks all morning as we meandered all over the pass.

Sometimes the tracks would end (or turnaround actually) and we'd be left with the decision of turning around too or seeking out a new track. I would scan the terrain, and if a fun looking track was in sight, then we would hop through the powder to pick the new track to follow.
Hopping through 3-4 inches of snow making our own way to snowmobile tracks in the distance.
Take note of the track left/center in the previous photo that is going up into the trees. That was the target I set Max & Zorro on the path to intersect. It looked so much fun to connect to that track and cruise up into the trees. Want to know why.... because...
What goes up, must come down - zoom!
We connected with and climbed up the track in the center photo so that we could eventually
turn around and fly back down The clump of trees to our left is the same clump you see to
the right of the track in the previous photo.
Notice my skis are actually out of the track in the prior photo. I am having fun swooshing through the side powder as Max & Zorro sprint down the snowmobile track. So much fun to tow the human up so that we can fly down - right guys?
"What a blast!" exclaim the happy pair veering left and looking back at me as I called out a
"left" after we came flying down that snowmobile track.

Pick a track/follow a track all day long on Rabbit Ears Pass: 7.9 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 124 days on the trails covering 1049.6 miles with 115,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


We are happy to report that we have very little footage from this morning's skijor outing as it was snowing so hard that the GoPro was constantly covered and blurred by snow! Yay!
"Fresh snow, laying fresh tracks - what a fun day!" says Max to Zorro as we zip along
making our own trail with snow falling all around us.

The forecast was for "light snow" this morning on Rabbit Ears Pass. We are ecstatic to report that the forecasters blew it as it was dumping snow during our entire outing! We found ourselves laying fresh tracks in 2-5 inches of new snow all day. We typically follow snowmobile tracks around Rabbit Ears; but this morning the tracks were all covered by new snow. So, we did small, semi-connected loops through the forest instead with the intent of continually finding our own tracks to keep our bearings. Yet, we found that any loop that laster longer than 10 minutes meant our tracks were re-covered in new snow and barely visible. What a late April treat -  here we go:
Laying fresh tracks in the new snow at the start of the outing. The GoPro was clear for the
first 5-10 minutes and then started having trouble keeping clear...

About 5 minutes later than the first photo and:
Snow covered Max & Zorro. Big flakes showing as white spots against the trees. The GoPro
started to blur and the snow intensity increased.

That's all folks.... Not much clear footage from a great day of skijoring in a heavy snowstorm: 8.6 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 123 days on the trails covering 1041.7 miles with 114,300 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, April 22, 2016


Celebrating Mother Earth's greatest invention on this Earth Day: SNOW!
"Such a great day!" exclaims super happy Max.
"Snow, snow - love snow!" declares ecstatic Zorro.

There is still plenty of snow to get out and have a great time at Vail Pass. Come along for the ride...

(1) Cresting Shrine Pass with snow as far as the eye can see!
Jogging the snowshoe trail that takes you up and onto Shrine Pass. Incredible snowpack!

(2) Making our own trail trotting atop the spring crust:
Wheee - the crust is hard enough to hold us all as we glide all over the terrain.
Snow all around us with a nice view of the snowcapped Rocky Mountains.

(3) Opening the throttle on the connector trails between the backcountry huts on Shrine Pass!
Zoom we go! The packed trail was actually too icy for me (no ability to slow down). So, you
can see from the angle of the gangline that I am skiing the crust next to the trail for control.
Fast packed trail for Max & Zorro with a firm "control shoulder" for the human - wonderful!

(4) Done playing on the side trails and spring crust, time to head back to the trailhead via the main snowmobile trail:
Beautiful finish to a beautiful day!

Thanks to Mother Earth for inventing snow! We love it :)  9.1 miles traveled with 1050 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 122 days on the trails covering 1033.1 miles with 113,600 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Single File

Single file skijoring in a narrow single track all day in French Gulch!
Max jogging lead as we head out & up French Gulch in a narrow single track.

We have been in the midst of a wonderful mid-April snow event. It started snowing Thursday night and has been snowing on & off until this morning (with more forecast for later this evening)! The result has been 2-4 feet of fresh snow deposited on our trails! The snow has been occurring daily since Thu, so each day we have new snow to pack on the trails while the powder on the shoulders keeps getting deeper and deeper. French Gulch is primarily a cross country ski trail and when it has been snowing daily for a week, the trail quickly shrinks to a narrow single track (essentially one pair of skis wide) as people keep reusing the same track instead of venturing into the deep shoulders. Eventually (once the daily snow stops) the trail will widen so that Max & Zorro can run side by side; but for the meantime, French Gulch is a narrow single track requiring single file skijoring to fit.

No complaints here, we will happily trade miles (due to slower single file skijoring) in April for snowpack through May. April (snow) showers bring May miles & smiles! Yay!

Max ran lead in our single file setup for the entire "out route" in French Gulch and then they traded and Zorro ran lead for the entire "back route". Such great team players!
Coming back in French Gulch - Zorro's turn to run lead.

We came to one surprise fork in the trail... The main French Gulch Trail to the left and a moose track trail to the right. Guess which direction Max & Zorro chose to pursue?
"Moose track! Abandon French Gulch and follow the moose!" declare the moose veering pair.

Midpoint turnaround but must roll snow angels to cool off first:
Max is just finishing his angel as Zorro is beginning his. Almost perfectly synchronized
snow angels :)

Happily slowed to a single track trot in French Gulch as we accumulate snowpack for May: 7.2 miles traveled with 750 feet of elevation climbed.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 121 days on the trails covering 1024.0 miles with 112,550 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Baldy Fun Run

Fun flying down Baldy Mountain this morning after towing the human up the steep trail. Wheeee!
Fresh snow + fast trail = fun, fun, fun!

Baldy is a popular trail for people to "skin up" and then enjoy the powder shredding down. Max & Zorro love flirting with people we pass on the trail and they always bring smiles to everyone's face.
"Hi.... bye!" say Max & Zorro flying by the uphill skinner.
"That looks fun!' exclaimed the smiling lady as we flew by :)

Trotting by another set of skiers. Same result - flirting Max & Zorro bringing smiles to their faces.
"Hi - coming through!" say the happy huskies trotting by.

Here is the video counterpart to the first "passing encounter" shown above. Unfortunately you cannot actually hear the lady say "that looks fun!" as we fly by as the GoPro is in its sound-muffling waterproof case. Some additional action in the video... Watch as at about 25 seconds into the video as Max decides he wants to move to the right side of the team. He backs off, ducks under the gangline and then speeds back up into configuration - talented! Max & Zorro are free to switch configuration whenever they want; but it is always interesting (to the skier) when they do it while running 20 MPH!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

At our turnaround point after climbing steep Baldy to then sprint back down. Everybody having a good time?
"You bet! Great conditions today!" states happy Max.
"Yes - and I've got some jets itching to sprint down!" declares happy Zorro.

Baldy is always a fun, steep day where we trade mileage for elevation: 7.2 miles traveled with 1400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 120 days on the trails covering 1016.8 miles with 111,800 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Breck Nordic

All smiles as we come to the end of our skijor run for the day!
"Hi! What a fun day!" exclaims Max hamming it up for the camera.
"So much fun, still going!" declares 'never stop' Zorro.
The previous photo captures Max & Zorro's distinct personalities perfectly. We are ending our run as you can see my left leg snowplowing to a stop. Max is giving his mom a big "HI!" as we come to a stop whereas happy Zorro still sees some snow in front of us - so why stop?

Breckenridge Nordic Center closed for the season yesterday. The closure was not due to lack of snow, just lack of tourists as the ski season is winding down. We love going to nordic centers the day after closing as you get to skijor easy & groomed trails. This morning we had the extra treat of 1-3 inches of new snow atop the recently groomed trails. Light powder over groomed trails - zoom, zoom, zoom!

Here we go in a out-stretched sprint along the Breck Nordic Trails:
Zoom! Need I say more :)

A nice 'synchronized sprint tuck' as the town of Breckenridge is partially in view down to our right.
Zipping along - wheeee!

Some more of the fun as we fly one of the warming huts out on the trail system (this one is known as Kathy's Hut).
"Warming hut? What a silly concept!" declare the Siberians.

Put it all together and here is a short video clip showcasing some of our fun on the nordic trails.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Fun day on easy nordic center trails: 9.4 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 119 days on the trails covering 1009.6 miles with 110,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Passing 1000

Surpassing 1000 miles for the season this morning.
1000 and counting...
Look at my focused partners as we prepare for our "end of run" pork
treats. Such intensity :)

We needed 6.2 miles on today's outing to surpass 1000 miles. We decided to go to the (usually) easy network of Sally Barber Mine and French Gulch trails thinking that we'd skijor 8-9 miles and fly by 1000 for the season. Well, that was the plan, here's what happened...

It dumped snow overnight and we found ourselves first on the new snow at Sally Barber and breaking trail in 12-18 inches of powder on both sides of Sally Barber Mine. Wow Pow!

Here is the backside of the Sally Barber Mine Trail - breaking trail in 12+ inches of fresh powder!
Getting an aerobic workout towing the human through deep snow!

Here is the frontside of the Sally Barber Mine Trail - pretty much a mirror image of the backside with 12+ inches of fresh snow to plow through!
What an April Dump of Snow! Wow!

Well, breaking trail on both sides of Sally Barber Mine certainly put our goal of surpassing 1000 miles in jeopardy. But, determined to hit our goal we aborted the French Gulch Trail (which would have been breaking trail in 12+ inches of snow too) and decided to skijor French Gulch Road. The road was plowed down to dirt, but there was just enough "snow shoulder" for my skis so we could keep going and hit 1000 miles.
It doesn't look pretty - but it did the job. Notice the angle of the gangline as I am skiing in
the shoulder snow while Max & Zorro are trotting on the plowed road.

So much for an easy day to blow by 1000 miles for the season :)  6.4 miles of extreme trail breaking and then sketchy road jogging with 600 feet of elevation climbed.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 118 days on the trails covering 1000.2 miles with 109,500 feet of elevation climbed. 1100 miles - here we come. 1200 miles - we hope to see you.

Friday, April 15, 2016


Exchanging happy glances as we cruise atop the spring crust in wide open meadows!
"Fun day, huh little bro?" says Max to Zorro.
"Having a blast!" answers Zorro back.

We were having a ball gliding atop the spring crust all over the terrain when we came upon some post hole tracks. "Some poor person thought he could walk out here and punched through!" is what I originally thought as the crust is solid enough to hold Max, Zorro or a person on skis (or snowshoes) but not strong enough to hold a person trying to walk. But, then I noticed two things: (1) these are some LARGE footprints; and (2) why is Max (and then Zorro) getting interested in some silly human post holes? Well.....
"These aren't human, I am getting interested!" states track checking Max.
"Most certainly NOT human!" declare the track sniffing pair. 

Typically it is only moose tracks that bring Max & Zorro to a halt as in the previous photo. But, it is not just moose tracks that can halt them. It is bear tracks too! When they stopped to inspect above, I looked down to inspect myself and, low and behold, look at the bear claws you can see in the top of the track! Oh my!
Yikes, look at those claw marks in this bear track!
Luckily bears are asleep most of the skijor season as we most certainly do not want to encounter a bear on the trail. But, April is a bit early to be finding bear tracks on the trails. This is usually a May or June phenomenon!

No sign of the bear so it is back to skijoring:
Zoom we go!

Finally, the video fun for the day - a short clip of us cruising the Prospect Hill Trail. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Note to "keep our eyes open, the bears are waking up!" today: 8 miles traveled with 1050 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2015/2016 Season to Date: 117 days on the trails covering 993.8 miles with 108,900 feet of elevation climbed.