Sunday, April 30, 2017

Tracks and Freshies

A great morning playing in the new snow atop Rabbit Ears Pass. Wheeee!
Laying fresh tracks as Rabbit Ears Peak comes into if you draw a line straight ahead of Max.
The two large rocks (the ears) atop the peak are the feature for which Rabbit Ears Pass gets
its name.
We had all kinds of fun exploring different parts of Rabbit Ears this morning. We started by following snowmobile tracks for miles. As you can tell by all the tracks, everybody got word of how much fresh snow had fallen on Rabbit Ears the last few days (10 to 20 inches, depending on where you were on the pass).
Galloping along as we follow recent snowmobile tracks.
Eventually we decided to abandon the tracks and make our own way through open meadows atop Rabbit Ears. We found ourselves laying fresh tracks in 6-8 inches of powder during this part of the outing!
Max powering along as snow poofs up all around him.
Zorro going airborne to leap and fly over the fresh powder!
Finally, we dipped into the trees to find a few inches of untouched snow atop old snowmobile tracks as we sprinted along laying fresh tracks. Come along and watch the fun we had cruising through the forest. Zoom!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

A fun morning enjoying all the fresh snow atop Rabbit Ears Pass: 9.4 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 141 days on the trails covering 1182.9 miles with 125,800 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, April 29, 2017


Rolling synchronized snow angels to show the snow gods our appreciation of the recent snow!
"Rub a dub dub, we approve of this snow tub!" demonstrate the silly pair stopping to roll
synchronized snow angels on the trail.
It was overcast with light snowfall and temperatures around 15F for this morning's outing. That is one indication that the snow angel event was to show appreciation of new snow this late in April (as opposed to the usual rolling to cool off :)

We have been in this wonderful pattern of "nightly light snow" for the last 10 days with a big dump of 18+ inches Thu through Fri at higher elevations. Our hope this morning was that the recent snow had been enough to bring the lower French Gulch Trail back to life. The lower elevations of French Gulch were dry (not even muddy) with no snow just 12 days ago. Could we get one last run in the gulch with the recent snow?

Just enough snow cover in lower French Gulch for one last outing in the gulch this season. Yay!
Why is French Gulch one of our favorite trails? Moose! There is a growing moose population in the gulch and Max & Zorro love to go "moosing". You do not always see moose on French Gulch outings; but you are pretty much guaranteed to either get a "whiff of moose" or encounter moose tracks. Today had the wonderful aroma of moose filling Max & Zorro's noses.
The only thing that can bring Max & Zorro to a halt on the trail is moose. Both stopped in unison
here as I could see their noses twitching as they stared into the trees and gulch to our right.
Synchronized Moose Seeking! Talented :)
We did not see any moose; but Max & Zorro's actions told me the scent was strong and I did see moose tracks to our right in the prior photo.

Moose is the primary treat in French Gulch. The secondary treat? Well, if the lower elevations have enough snow for us to get to the upper elevations then we get to enjoy the incredible conditions up high!
Happy tails in the air as we trot along laying fresh tracks in 6+ inches of snow in upper
French Gulch.

A successful return to skijor French Gulch (for probably the last time this season): 8.7 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 140 days on the trails covering 1173.5 miles with 124,900 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Breaking Trail

Breaking trail in 12+ inches of fresh powder on April 28th! Woo Hoo!!!!
Max & Zorro the professional snowplows powering through 12+ inches of powder as they
tow me along the trails on Peak 6 at Breckenridge Ski Resort!
We may have finally had the "spring snowstorm" to set us up to skijor into June. We have been waiting all of March and almost all of April for one of Colorado's famous spring storms to arrive. Well, this was it! Breckenridge Ski Resort has a snow stake that gets cleared every morning around 5am. They publish a photo of the stake at 5am before they clear it for the day. So, the stake reports the 24 hour snow total from 5am to 5am. Here is the stake at 5am this morning:
12 inches of fresh powder fell on the ski resort from 5am Thu to 5am Fri. Woo Hoo!
We had a very entertaining outing combining trails from Breckenridge Nordic Center with Breckenridge Ski Resort (both of which are closed for the season). We started on the nordic center trails laying fresh tracks in 4-6 inches of fresh powder:
Whee we go hopping along laying fresh tracks in about 6 inches of fresh snow.
After doing a fresh tracks semi-circle on the nordic center trails, we hopped onto the summer service road that connects onto Peak 6 of Breckenridge Ski Resort. This was a fun climb in snow increasing from 6 inches to over 12 inches as we transitioned onto the Peak 6 ski trails. Once on Peak 6, well look at the first photo again... The snow stake was accurate as we were breaking trail in 12+ inches of powder on Peak 6 trails!

After doing an aerobic up/down of Peak 6, we connected back onto the nordic center trails to complete the morning's outing. By the time we reconnected with the nordic center, a few others had been out on the trails so we had set tracks to follow. Set tracks leads to zoom, zoom, zoom!
Zipping along as Max & Zorro are sharing a "set track" so we can go FAST!
Today's short video is a fun sequence... We start with a single set track and about 4 inches of side powder. Max has politely let shorter Zorro have the single track to sprint as Max and his long legs can easily sprint in the side powder. We round a corner to find more/wider set tracks but also a downed tree covering most of the trail. Max & Zorro so perfectly keep the speeds low until they get the human by the downed tree and then it is OFF WE GO as there are multiple set tracks for all to use and sprint. Fun!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Laying fresh tracks, breaking trail and sprinting in set tracks - all in one outing: 8.2 miles traveled with 1200 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 139 days on the trails covering 1164.8 miles with 124,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Fun day laying fresh tracks on narrow backcountry trails!
Weaving through the trees on a tight trail. About 2/3 of the outing found us on
narrow backcountry terrain like this - fun!
You have probably noticed by now that Max is famous for "rolling snow angels" on our skijor outings. Occasionally Zorro joins in, but Max is almost guaranteed to roll at least one snow angel per outing. This morning Zorro decided he wanted to take lead in rolling snow angels. Well, Max objected :)
"Woooooo - whoooo gave you permission to roll snow angels first?!?!?" woos Max at Zorro
when he stopped us all on the trail to roll a snow angel.
When it comes to "snow angels", Max has short term memory :)
"I'm stopping to roll angels, I'm the lead dog, rub a dub dub!!!" demonstrates silly Max.
"Talk about the 'pot calling the kettle black'! I got wooed at for doing this!" says all business
Zorro waiting for Max so we can get restarted on the trail.
In between snow rolls and woos, we did do some skijoring :)

We toured the seldom used backcountry trails connecting Baldy Mountain to Boreas Mountain. This is a fun sequence of narrow trails winding through dense trees.
Laying fresh tracks all morning long!
Eventually we landed on Boreas Mountain and then it was time to drop out of the forest and onto the wide Boreas Trail at Bakers Tank:
Still laying fresh tracks as we transition from "tight trees" to "open trails" at Bakers Tank.

I wonder what Max would say if I stopped to roll a snow angel? Maybe I'll have to try :)  8.9 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 138 days on the trails covering 1156.6 miles with 122900 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Breck Nordic

Laying fresh tracks all morning on the Breckenridge Nordic Center trails!
Riding the "Siberian Tow Rope" up a slight incline as we lay fresh tracks in 3-4 inches
of powder. Wheeee!
Yesterday we skijored Breckenridge Ski Resort as it is closed for the season. In similar fashion, this morning we skijored the Breckenridge Nordic Center. The nordic center is also closed for the season but you get this feature that the trails have been groomed and packed by the weight of a groomer for months. As a result, the trails maintain snowpack longer than ungroomed trails.

We have also been in this fun cycle the last week or so where we have been getting light snowfall almost every night. We wake each morning to 1-4 inches of fresh snow and find ourselves laying fresh tracks every day! A week of "daily fresh tracks" in late April - what a treat!
There really is a layer of recently packed & groomed terrain in front of us! You could feel
it under your skis & feet as you glided along laying fresh tracks all day.
The upper terrain of Breckenridge Nordic Center has some nice views if you dare take your eyes off the narrow trail in front of you :)
Zipping along as it looks as if we are on top of the world with valleys to our right.
What a fun day:
"Oh my, I LOVED it!" exclaims enormously happy Zorro.
"So fun laying fresh tracks every day!" states happy Max.

Continuing our week of "daily fresh tracks": 9.1 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 137 days on the trails covering 1147.7 miles with 122,000 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Ski Resort

Skijoring Breckenridge Ski Resort - Wheeee!
Flying along the trail, laying fresh tracks, as you see one of the ski lifts to our right.
Breckenridge Ski Resort closed for the season yesterday. We have made it an annual tradition to "skijor the ski resort" shortly after closing day each season. Today was our annual skijor the ski resort outing. The beauty of skijoring the ski resort is that you have miles of trails that were recently groomed and ready for us to use. We had the added benefit of light snowfall overnight, so we were laying fresh tracks on the recently groomed resort! There was only about 1 inch of new snow down low but almost 3 inches up high. Look at Max & Zorro laying fresh tracks in about 3 inches of fresh powder in the previous photo! Yay!

Flying by some of the ski resort "trail signage" as we are mid-mountain here laying fresh tracks in about 2 inches of new snow:
Zoom, zoom, zoooom we go!
Remember that ski resorts are designed for "downhill skiing" and, as a result, are very steep so humans automatically glide downhill without trying. So, skijoring the ski resort always comes along with some steep climbs and nice "high elevation views"...
Trotting along near our high point of the day as you see a ski lift to our right, the town of
Breckenridge far down in front of us and some nice snow capped peaks all around.
Come along and watch the fun as we "skijor the ski resort"...
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Finally, nearing the bottom as we end our outing laying fresh tracks in about 1 inch of snow as the Beaver Run hotel comes into view.
Having a blast laying fresh tracks on the resort all day!

Once again, remember a ski resort is designed for downhill skiing, so you get the following kinds of stats for the day: 7.4 miles traveled with 1700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 136 days on the trails covering 1138.6 miles with 121,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Especially Rabbit

A rabbit crossing the trail today got everybody in the mood to hunt. Especially rabbit!

It was a snowshoe hare (e.g., white) so hard to see in the clips below. But, I have to show it anyway as it set the precedent for the days' outing :)
The black you see to the right of the arrow are the feet of the snowshoe hare as its body is
camouflaged against the snow. But look at Max & Zorro and you notice we all saw the bunny!
How about a slomo video to try and show you the rabbit. Watch closely at seconds 2-6 and you will see the rabbit come out of the trees from the left, cross the trail and exit into the trees to the right. Look really close (try watching the video full screen) for the black blob (the rabbit's feet) moving across the trail. Also watch Max & Zorro's gusto to catch the rabbit and you will know it was really there (and they'll show you exactly where it exited the trail :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

It was quite entertaining in person even though hard to see in the shrunk down video footage. But, as I said, it set the precedent for the day...

Max & Zorro were on high alert the rest of the morning. We heard something in the trees to the left at one point, must check for more rabbits:
"I hear something, but cannot put a body to it!" says scanning Max.
"Let me get a better view, where is the bunny?!?" says intense Zorro.
A little further along and passing by some old mining cabins. Do rabbits live in old cabins?
"No rabbits on this shelf!" declares curious Zorro stretching to look atop the shelf.
"No rabbits down here!" declares Max inspecting the cabin foundation.
Keep going and then something caught the attention of our noses...
"Must be rabbits in the trees! Must be!!!!" declare the hunting pair pausing to stare into the
Oh yeah, we did do some skijoring today too :)  Another amazing late April day laying fresh tracks (although the rabbit overshadowed this fact):
Gliding along laying fresh tracks! Wheeee!

I'll spare you the one downside of the outing... I had to take my skis off 5 times to cross over exposed ground and rocks. Unfortunately this particular network of trails is done for the season. "What?!? No more rabbit hunting!!!!!" is what Max & Zorro thought of this!

A fun day seeing a rabbit and then searching for miles & miles for more rabbits: 7.8 miles traveled (remember my skis had to come off 5 times, slowing us down) with 700 feet of elevation climbed.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 135 days on the trails covering 1131.2 miles with 119,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Freshies Again

Laying fresh tracks in late April, again, as we skijored all over Baldy Mountain.
Fresh tracks in late April two days in a row - yay!
Zipping along the main Baldy Mountain Trail with 1-3 inches of new snow all to ourselves!
Once you get into late April, you never know if this is our last outing laying fresh tracks or is this our last outing running with actively falling snow or is this our last outing on a certain trail? Well, we did all 3 today: fresh tracks on Baldy, active falling snow all around us and a late season run on Baldy Mountain (Baldy is one of the first trails we have to abandon once the snow stops). What a treat.

We started the outing with a surprising amount of "active snowfall":
Notice all the snowflakes you can see against Zorro's black fur.
Notice all the "snowflake dots" agains the dark trees in front of us.
A late April "snowing run" - yay!
We did a unique tour of Baldy this morning. Instead of the usual steep up/down that is typical of Baldy, we skijored a diagonal up line to the south edge of Baldy Mountain. We then skijored across the west face of Baldy from the south edge to the north edge before coming back down. There is no actual trail for this route, but we knew the crust would support our weight to go off track wherever we wanted. To keep ourselves oriented, we got under the power lines that span Baldy from the south end to north end and skijored through the trees under the power lines.
Galloping along as we make our own trail weaving through the trees and keeping
under the power line above us.
Once we got to the north edge of Baldy, we dropped down onto the main Baldy Mountain Trail. We were thrilled to find no existing tracks on this popular trail. Come along and watch as we are laying fresh tracks down the main trail with the morning's new snow all to ourselves!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Fun day making our own way, right guys?
"Oh yes, now that was FUN!" say my excited partners at our quick midpoint break.

Fresh tracks, falling snow and making our own trail most of the day: 9.2 miles traveled with 1100 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 134 days on the trails covering 1123.4 miles with 118,700 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Max & Zorro were absolutely GIDDY to find fresh snow and cool temps at Vail Pass this morning!

So frisky that we could not contain ourselves and had to celebrate the snow with a silly siberian wrestlefest!
"Hehehe, new snow, hehehe!!!!! Let's wrestle!!!!!" say the silly giddy pair stopping on the trail
to get frisky with one another!
It was an absolutely incredible late April morning as we found ourselves laying fresh tracks all day in 2-4 inches of new snow!

We had fun laying fresh tracks going north...
Wheeee! Look at this incredible terrain. 2-4 inches of untouched, fresh snow as far as the
eye can see!
We had fun laying fresh tracks going south...
It really is late April, right? Oh my, how beautiful!
We had fun stopping to roll and thoroughly cover our bodies in the fresh snow! Most of the time Max & Zorro roll snow angels to cool off. But sometimes it is merely to "enjoy the snow" I can tell the difference between a "cool off roll" and a "we love snow roll". Today's was the latter - neither was hot but both were giddy to have new snow!
"Must get the new snow ALL OVER our bodies!" declare the silly snow rollers :)
We simply had fun, fun, fun all day! Come along for a short video clip showing us laying fresh tracks on perfect conditions in late April! Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

A day to get giddy in the fresh snow: 9.1 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 133 days on the trails covering 1114.2 miles with 117,600 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Passing 1100

Surpassing 1100 miles for the season this morning. 1100 and counting...
"I'm ready for 1100 more miles!" says Max to Zorro.
"I'm ready for 1100 more miles TODAY!" replies Zorro.
Love catching the two of them exchanging "happy chat" while sprinting along :)
A little known fact about backcountry skiing: power lines make for great trails! If you encounter power lines in the backcountry, then you know the trees have been cleared and are kept cleared a couple feet on each side of the line (to keep trees from interfering). As a result, power lines make for a great ski trail through the forest!
Galloping along as we follow a "power line trail" for miles and miles.
Note the "white stripe" between the trees extending as far as you can see in front of us.
This stripe is the "power line trail". Fun!
It was a tad bit on the warm side this morning (temperatures in the mid to upper 30s F) as Max will attest:
"Whew - have to roll snow angels to cool off!" demonstrates silly Max.
"Really? I say we keep going!" states all-business Zorro.
A great time surpassing 1100 miles for the season. 1200 is certainly likely whereas 1300 is looking pretty unlikely given the dwindling snowpack :(  Oh well, we'll just keep having fun as long as the snow holds up!
"Toes on snow, toes on snow, we love toes on snow!" exclaim the happy pair at our midpoint
of the morning outing.

A fun but short outing due to rising temperatures: 7.2 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 132 days on the trails covering 1105.1 miles with 116,700 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Water Sensor

Nice form Max!
Flying Max next to sprinting Zorro. Notice you can just barely make out the side of
the huge smile on Max's face :)
Another great day with cool morning temperatures allowing us to abandon set trails and tour the spring crust. What fun, right guys?
"Oh yes, what a blast!" says happy Max.
"I could go all day!" exclaims happy Zorro.
We spent almost the entire day sprinting and gliding through open meadows. It was nice to have a partly cloudy morning to keep the temperatures from rising fast (which would cause the crust to soften).
Zipping along - wheeee!
Today's video highlight features Zorro. First a little background: Zorro HATES liquid water (although he LOVES frozen water :)  I refer to Zorro as my "water sensor" as he will detect any & all water obstacles (hidden or visible) on the trail and swing away from them. This time of year, when things are melting, I watch Zorro closely as if he gives a "water hazard alert" I must quickly get behind him to follow the safe path to avoid the water hazard.

Okay, background in place, on to the video. Watch as we are happily sprinting along the sprint crust in a wide meadow. Then, Zorro's water sensor goes off and he cuts right to avoid an indent in the snow. Must be water right under this snow was my immediate thought. I quickly get behind Zorro and call "right" to Max (knowing he can leap this indent). Phew, water avoided as Max catches back up and off we go.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

To some, the day was quite warm :)
"Aw man, must roll to cool off!!!!" demonstrates silly snow rolling Max.
"Can we get going, YET?!?" asks impatient Zorro.

Another day of endless & fun crust touring atop Rabbit Ears Pass: 8.9 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 131 days on the trails covering 1097.9 miles with 116,000 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, April 16, 2017


Catching air skijoring the spring crust atop Rabbit Ears Pass - wheeee!
Airborne Max & Zorro as we went off-trail to skijor open meadows for miles and miles!
Today's short video clip: fun skijoring the spring crust. Come along as we fly through open meadows. Note the occasional "old snowmobile" tracks that go against our direction and lead to a slightly bumpy ride. But, we'll trade a little bumpiness for endless terrain any day :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Here is an impressive wide angle shot...
You must be thinking, "Wow, you'll be skijoring until July!!!!" 
Well, truth be told, the "signs of Spring (and Summer)" are starting to crop up. Water holes are starting to pop up here & there where the streams under the snowpack are beginning to run and pull the snow into them. Good news is that the "water holes" are still few and far between...
Sprinting along as you see 3 water holes in the snow where the streams beginning to run
under the snowpack have pulled the snow down.
A great morning with temperatures in the upper 20s (F) leading to endless skijoring atop the solid spring crust. What a fun time, right guys?
"Oh yes! What a FUN day!" exclaim happy Max & Zorro turning around with me when we
hit the end of one meadow where the crust softens.

What a peaceful glide we had today: 9 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 130 days on the trails covering 1089.0 miles with 115,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, April 15, 2017


A beautiful bluebird day with temperatures just cold enough to skijor the early morning spring crust!
"What a fun day!" exclaim the happy pair at our turnaround point of the outing.
It was a bright & sunny early morning with endless terrain to skijor all over the mountains!
Heading "into the sun" as we "make our own path" gliding along the spring crust.
We took a few dips out of the open meadows and into the forest to visit some of the old, abandoned mining cabins. Zorro is always so fascinated by the cabins :)
"Roof, walls, abundant water supply - I say we could live here!" states home inspector Zorro.
"Yeah, right, mom will NEVER agree to move here!" says sensible Max.
Turned around and heading away from the sun as parts of Breckenridge Ski Resort start to come into view in the upper left
A glimpse of peaks 9 & 10 of Breckenridge Ski Resort with a small hill in front of us
obstructing the rest of the resort.
Up & over the small hill in the previous photo and you get the full ski resort....
Beautiful shot of peaks 6 through 10 of Breckenridge with sprinting Max & Zorro
towing me along.

A pretty bluebird day to tour the spring crust: 9.2 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 129 days on the trails covering 1080.0 miles with 114,200 feet of elevation climbed.