Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Everyone was a tad bit frisky to be back on snow after two LONG days off :)
"Hehe, want to play 'tag & tackle'?!?" suggest the silly pair to one another.
Unfortunately our 2016/2017 Skijor Season is starting to show signs of ending. We returned to Rabbit Ears Pass this morning which is usually the second to last of our trails to dry up for the season. Compare and contrast the following two photos showing the conditions down low versus up high...

1) Open patch of dirt, mud and puddles down low:
Ugh! Luckily Max & Zorro know to stop at the edge of the snow. The will automatically stop
and wait for me to figure out how to cross (either take the skis off or backtrack a little if there
is snow to our right or left to cross). Smart guys!
2) But still perfect up high:
Zooming along the perfect upper elevation terrain.
Today's short video clip goes along with the prior photo. Watch and see how nice the snow still is up high! Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Bonus moment of the morning's outing: fresh moose tracks!
"Sniff, sniff, moose in the area!" say my moose track inspectors.
Max & Zorro's noses are in a moose track and you can see another moose footprint in
the bottom/center of the photo (between the two ganglines attached to Max & Zorro).

Despite needing to be creative getting in & out of the upper terrain, there was still enough great snow up high to get an 8.4 mile skijor with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 167 days on the trails covering 1390.3 miles with 146,900 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, May 28, 2017


How is this for pristine & untouched open space on May 28th?
Flying along laying fresh tracks in 2-3 inches of powder on the untouched back side
of Walton Peak
Temperatures at Rabbit Ears got into the low 20s last night and remained in this cool range long enough to re-establish a spring crust under the fresh snow. This made for the beautiful picture you see above where we were able to abandon set & packed trails and go exploring terrain untouched by others.

As we approached the trees you see in front of us in the prior photo, I called out a "right turn" to my partners as I started turning right too. This lead to a fun profile shot of my impressive partners:
Flying Zorro and Kicking up Powder Max!
To get to the untouched back side of Walton Peak, we skijored up the front side. This is a trail used by others that takes you along a high ridge for miles. There was a set track under an inch or so of new snow, so I skied outside the track to set one next to it. Why make a separate track? Well, I knew we would be coming back this route and if I set an additional track then I knew Max & Zorro could each pick a track, if they wanted, and fly side by side back down.
Flying back as Max is in the original track and Zorro is in the one I set on the way up.
Today's short video clip goes with the prior photo. Come along as we fly along the front side ridge trail of Walton Peak at Rabbit Ears Pass. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

What a fun day, right guys?
"Oh yes! Incredible!" says fun Max.
"I could go all day!" expresses happy Zorro.

Believe it or not: but winter is finally supposed to end starting today. With warm temperatures starting to arrive, this was probably our last run in the "9 mile range" for the season. But, the impressive May snow we have had has certainly left enough snowpack for us to reach 1400 miles. Today's tally: 8.8 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 166 days on the trails covering 1381.9 miles with 146,000 feet of elevation climbed.

Approaching 1400 miles... Stay tuned :)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Snow Day

A Snow Day atop Rabbit Ears Pass!

Yes, a snow day on May 27th!!!
Snow covered Max, snow covered Zorro, snow covered trees, snowflakes falling all around us.
May 27th powder day - yay!
It was dumping snow when we started our outing this morning. I could not keep the GoPro clear of snow for more than a minute or two before it would be completely covered and blurred by snow. The photo above is one quick glimpse of the morning just after I wiped the camera clear of snow.

About halfway through the outing, though, the snowfall let up and I wiped the camera clear one final time to get some great footage of Max & Zorro towing me through 4-6 inches of fresh powder on this late day in May.
Great shot of Max leaping over the snow while Zorro is "kicking up powder" behind him.
Notice their footprints behind them leaving fresh tracks in 4-6 inches of new snow.

Nice shot of Max & Zorro flying over the snow as you see my skis in tow behind them.
Today's video highlight is a compilation of short clips from the day's fun. We start with a short clip of us skijoring amongst the heavy falling snow as Max & Zorro tow me along as the camera gets more and more blurred by snow. We then transition to later in the day when the snow has let up and Max & Zorro are having fun launching me down an incline. Finally, we finish with Max & Zorro galloping along, laying fresh tracks, in pretty & snow covered meadows. What a fun day!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

A perfect May morning if you are a sled dog:
"Oh my, this has been FUN!" declares ecstatic Zorro.
"Is it going to snow all summer too?!?" asks happy & pleased Max.

A great snow day in late May: 8 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a modest top speed of 17 MPH (what a treat to be slowed by snow on the 27th)!

2016/2017 Season to Date: 165 days on the trails covering 1373.1 miles with 145,000 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Miracle Mile

Flying along the "Miracle Mile" at Rabbit Ears Pass - wheeee!
Flying, literally flying (especially completely airborne Max) sled dogs. Fun!
What is the "miracle mile"? Well, there is a stretch of upper elevation (i.e., good snowpack) trail amidst thick trees (i.e., shaded and sun protected) that seems to hold good snow every year until late May or early June. This stretch of trail is a bit over 1 mile long, but less than 1.5 miles of "late season perfect conditions" - thus the name Miracle Mile.

Come along and watch us skijor part of the Miracle Mile on May 26th. Can you believe how nice this section of trail is so late in the year? A miracle!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

After the Miracle Mile, there is about another 2 miles of climb on more sun exposed terrain (and thus occasionally dirt exposed in late May) before arriving to the upper meadows of the south side of Rabbit Ears Pass. While sun exposed, these meadows are high enough in elevation to have good late season snowpack too. But, the meadows only go for a few miles before dropping you down the south end of Rabbit Ears Pass. When we reached the upper meadows this morning, we had skijored up into a thick fog bank. Note the trees in the photo - snow covered!!!! Yes, there was a dusting of new snow atop the pass last night! Just a slight dusting; but dusting is the opposite of melting!
Dense fog, snow covered trees and Max & Zorro laying fresh tracks. Yes, May 26th!
Now, before you think the entire outing was on "miracle terrain" this morning, check out the following:
You have to endure this to get to the Miracle Mile! Zorro and I hugging the thin strip of snow
while Max has to hop the puddle to make it through. 
There were many patches like the previous (with many much worse in length and lack of snow); but it was worth the cautious conditions down low to go up/down the Miracle Mile and frolic around the upper elevation meadows. Right guys?
"Oh my, SO WORTH IT!!!!" say the ecstatic pair at our turnaround point of the morning.

A late May miracle: 9.3 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 164 days on the trails covering 1365.1 miles with 144,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, May 25, 2017


Today's skijor was cut short due to....

RAIN! Egad!
Cruising along the trail trying to out run the rain :)
The forecast was calling for rain and the sky did not look pretty, so we knew the outing could be cut short due to rain. As a result, we did not stray very far from the trailhead and tried to have fun looping around the forest knowing we could abandon ship and get back the trailhead quickly if the rain started.

As you see above, it was a nice start to the outing without too much threat of rain as the sky is only partly cloudy. But, behind us the sky was DARK and we knew the rain would catch us eventually. So, we skied away from the rain as fast as we could - eventually needing to take a break to cool off (i.e., if it was going to rain, it was well above freezing):
"Outrunning rain means you need to roll dual snow angels to cool off!" demonstrate the silly
pair stopping momentarily to roll and cool themselves.
There are three things wrong with the following photo. Can you spot them?

First: dirt! You can see my ski tips as the bottom of the photo as we are cautiously gliding along a very narrow patch of snow.

Second: rain spots! Look closely, the blur just above Zorro and just to the left of Max are rain spots on the camera. Yuck! It started dumping seconds after this photo as we raced back to the trailhead to get out of the rain.

Third: bear tracks!!!! Look to the right of my ski tips and you see a bear footprint in the snow with Zorro's footprint to the front/left of the bear print. That's a nice comparison for the difference in foot size between Zorro and a bear. Oh my! At first I wondered why Max was not studying the bear trail you can see Zorro is aligned on and inspecting. Well, the bear had walked down this trail and then come back up it. There was a second set of prints coming the opposite direction that Max is inspecting. At least we knew the bear was not in front of us as he'd been back & forth on this section of trail.
Little bitty Zorro footprint in front and to the left of a big bear print. Eek!
More wildlife fun from the day's short outing: Moose Prints!
"Sniff, ah, yes, love moose prints!" says the moose inspectors.
If you look closely you can make out another moose print in the snow behind Max's back feet.

An outing shortened by rain; but Max & Zorro knew how to get the most out of it: skijoring, snow rolling, bear inspecting and moose inspecting! All in a short, rain interrupted, 4.4 mile outing!

2016/2017 Season to Date: 163 days on the trails covering 1355.8 miles with 143,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Perfect conditions for a 9 mile skijor atop Rabbit Ears Pass on May 24th! Woo Hoo!
Sprinting along with a dusting of new snow over snowmobile tracks as it is still "all white"
as far as the eye can see!
The previous was a great shot of us sprinting East. Here's one of us sprinting Southwest...
Different angle of Max & Zorro's shadows but still superb conditions for late May!

Today's video highlight speaks for itself. Come along as we sprint in & out of sun & shade on near perfect conditions in late May. Sure the terrain gets a little bouncy occasionally (when you see the camera bouncing up/down); but it is May 24th. We couldn't ask for better than this! Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

In addition to perfect skijoring conditions, we found some wonderful smelling moose tracks!
"Sniff, ahh, tasty!!!!" say the moose inspectors.
A little further along and Max & Zorro stopped to dump their noses in another set of tracks. I was thinking, "those look pretty big for a moose"....
"Sniff - these are tasty too!" say my wildlife experts.
Yes indeed they were too big for moose. It was bear tracks! Eek. Bear tracks are a rare sighting given that they hibernate most of our skijor season; thus the reason I did not recognize them until getting a closer look:
I am leaning over slightly to inspect the tracks with Max & Zorro. Note the 3 sharp claw marks
you can see in the track right next to Max. This is when I said, "Eek, these are bear tracks! Time
to go the other direction!"

A beautiful late May day for a 9 mile skijor: 8.8 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 162 days on the trails covering 1351.4 miles with 143,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, May 22, 2017


Nice view of the snow & cloud covered Rocky Mountains from high atop Vail Pass this morning.
The "morning clouds" are beginning to burn off to bring out the sun and show off the
snow capped peaks all around us.
Last week's great snowstorm brought the trails at Vail Pass back to life for us! While the terrain high up on the pass still has a lot of snow, all the "entrance points" were down to dirt & mud until the super storm of last Wed-Fri. With all the entrances once again covered with snow, we climbed up the pass until flattening out well above 11,500 feet of elevation. Once up high, we found about a 1/2 inch of fresh snow over the snowmobile trails on the pass. Laying fresh tracks in May. Woo Hoo:
Max & Zorro leaving their footprints in the snow as we lay fresh tracks atop Vail Pass in May.
The terrain up high was so nice - time to put the pedal to the metal and zoooom:
Wheeee we go laying fresh tracks for miles & miles up high!
Eventually we had to turn around and come back down...
"Turnaround, really? Why, so nice up here!" asks 'listening but questioning me' Max.
"I'm with Max - why turnaround?" asks happy Zorro.

A great outing on the upper terrain at Vail Pass. Unfortunately, the "entrance points" will be back down to dirt & mud tomorrow (or within the next 1-2 days). So, we got a surprise trip back to Vail Pass in late May but must say good-bye to these trails until October: 8.7 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 161 days on the trails covering 1342.6 miles with 142,200 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


A fun day cruising the upper elevation trails of Breckenridge Nordic Center next to Peak 6 of Breckenridge Ski Resort.
"Hehe, look - untouched snow in front of us!!!!" say my happy partners as we out-skied
existing tracks on the trails.
It was an interesting outing on the trails today. With all the new snow we had last Wed-Fri, we decided to return to the upper elevation trails of Breckenridge Nordic Center. We had declared these trails "done for the season" until this recent blast of 2+ feet of new snow. The trail we took is also a popular trail for people to "skin up" to get onto all this new snow on Peak 6 of Breckenridge Ski Resort. We completely expected to find a narrow single track from people skinning up - and this is exactly what we had:
Trotting along a single track from skinners. Just wide enough for Max and Zorro to trot
While the previous photo looks very nice, we ran into one problem - soft shoulders. When we are on flat or uphill terrain, Max and Zorro can fit side-by-side in most single tracks. But, if the track is too narrow, then they cannot fit side-by-side when we try to go fast unless the shoulder snow has a hard crust. That is, they can fit in a single track next to each other IF their outer feet can bounce out of the track occasionally and not sink in deep snow. Unfortunately this was not the case this morning - the shoulders were very soft and Max or Zorro would sink in very deep snow if a foot went out of track. As a result, whenever we tried to go fast, they would automatically switch to single file configuration so that both could stay "in track" and not sink in the shoulders:
Going as "fast as we can" in a single file setup as Max & Zorro are smart enough to keep
away from the deep and soft shoulders. I, on the other hand, have one ski "in track" and one
ski on the soft shoulder for safety and speed control (thus the angle of the gangline).
We knew we would out-ski existing tracks and were originally looking forward to that as we expected a hard crust of untouched snow where we could finally open up the speeds. While the first photo above looks to have a hard crust, it was misleading as Max & Zorro both punched through the crust and sunk just a few steps later. After determining the crust could not support us, time to turnaround. But, first....
"Got to roll, roll, roll in the coooool snow!" demonstrates silly Max.
"He sure is a funny brother!" smirks cute Zorro.
Notice the post holes next to Max - thus the reason we had to turnaround, the crust could
not support us :(

Oh well, it was still "toes on snow" in late May! A slower & shorter outing than expected due to narrow trails and deep, soft shoulders: 7.2 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 160 days on the trails covering 1333.9 miles with 141,200 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, May 20, 2017


Showing our thanks and appreciation of this great May snowstorm from last few days:
"Aaaahhhh, fresh May snow to roll in!" demonstrates snow loving & rolling Max.
"Yum, fresh May snow to chomp on!" shows snow loving & eating Zorro.
We returned to French Gulch today as this will be the first trail to lose snow from the storm of the last few days. We've got to make use of one of our favorite trails while it is still alive! Conditions were great far back and up higher in elevation:
Zooming along with just enough new snow to open the throttle.
Today's video highlight is amazing simply because of the fact that we are sprinting along the French Gulch Trail on May 20th. Come along and watch the fun - wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

One of the main attractions of French Gulch: the search for moose!!!! Only the "scent (or sight) of moose" can bring Max & Zorro to a halt and draw their complete attention off trail. No sighting of moose today, but the following photo shows you the scent was clearly in the air!
"Beep beep - our 'moose radar noses' say they are nearby to the right!" say the moose
seeking sillies.
Okay, now for the grim reality... French Gulch is one of the first trails to die because its entrance is lower elevation (compared to other trails in Breckenridge), it is sun exposed and it can get driven on by the owners of the few private cabins in the gulch. This morning was the official "last day in French Gulch" for this season. While the photo is ugly, we were still excited being able to get an outing on this trail on May 20th and get the upper elevation conditions you saw in the photos & video above.
Yuck... Trail dead.... The skis were still on; but only because Max & Zorro know to go
slow so the human can stay upright on such sketchy terrain.

A May 20th French Gulch Treat: 8 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 159 days on the trails covering 1326.7 miles with 140,500 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, May 19, 2017


A day of "breaking trail in snow up to 2+ feet deep" in mid May! Oh my!
"It's a workout, but we are having a GREAT time!" say my trail breakers pausing for a
moment in the deep snow to catch their breath and let me know they approve of the day!
How deep was it? Well, deep enough that short Zorro got in line behind long-legged Max to let "Max the trail breaker" take over:
Snorkeling up the trail behind "trail breaking Max" in 2+ feet of fresh powder!
How deep was it? Well, deep enough that Zorro had to take over trail breaking chores for a while. Max & Zorro will automatically switch trail breaking duties during long stretches of deep snow with Max breaking trail about 65-75% of the time and Zorro 25-35% of the time.
Still snorkeling through 2+ feet but with Zorro in lead this time.
How deep was it? Well, deep enough that even the "trail breaking snail human" had to take over for a short bit. If it is super deep for long stretches, Max & Zorro will eventually tire a bit to the point of pushing me to the front as they get in line behind me in my ski tracks. This is very rare (only the 4th or 5th time this entire season) as Max & Zorro have little faith and patience in my snail pace. Whoever is directly behind me will head butt my legs at every stride trying to get me to move faster :)  After a short distance one of them will give up on me and move back into the front. But, hey, at least I helped for a short distance!
My turn... Boy is this a lot of work while Max & Zorro take a quick break following in
my tracks behind me :)
Our day's plan was to skijor up the back side of Sally Barber Mine, then down the front side and finally do an out/back in French Gulch. Well, we found ourselves breaking trail in 2+ feet of snow the entire back side of the mine (this side of the trail is less popular). The reward, though, was knowing the front side of Sally Barber is very popular and would have set tracks for us to rest in. It was only a narrow single track on the front side, but still an easy trail to jog single file down:
This is like "resting while jogging" compared to the trail breaking we did up :)
Now for today's humorous shot... Remember that these trails were down to dirt, mud and flowing water just 36 hours ago. We came upon this active water flow across the middle of the trail with only a very narrow snow bridge to the right for crossing over:
"I don't think you can make it ahead!" says happy Max looking back to let me know the
trail is not passible in front of him.
"I can't even look, I can't even look. Let me know when you find a path over!" states
water averse Zorro hiding his head in the trail behind Max until the two of us figure
out how to cross the water.

Who ever thought we'd be slowed to a trail breaking crawl in mid May??? 6.1 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 15 MPH (which is pretty fast considering we were in single file configuration all day).

2016/2017 Season to Date: 158 days on the trails covering 1318.7 miles with 139,600 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, May 18, 2017


Breaking trail in over a foot of new snow on May 18th! Mid May POW Day!!!
Powering through 12+ inches of fresh snow on the French Gulch Trail. What a May treat!
Consider the following... The terrain you see in every photo today had NO snow a little over 12 hours ago! We woke to find a ton of new snow out the window. The super May storm that was forecast really came. Oh boy. With this much new snow, we decided to return to one of our favorite trails: French Gulch. It was April 29th the last time there was enough snow to skijor French Gulch yet we were able to return to this trail today! Yay!

As we were driving to the trailhead, we found the county road (just outside the town limits) had yet to be plowed. So we hopped out of the jeep and proceeded to skijor up the road until getting to the French Gulch trailhead and continuing up the actual trail. As luck would have it, someone had driven the road a few hours before we started. As a result, we were laying fresh tracks in a couple inches of snow for the beginning and end of the outing:
Look closely and you can see Max & Zorro are each in a tire track as we are laying fresh
tracks in a few inches to start the day.
We are happy to report that it was dumping snow all morning long. Every 1-3 minutes I would wipe the GoPro clear of snow only to have it get covered again within a minute or two. As a result, most of today's GoPro footage looks like the following:
Blurred by snow collecting on the camera. All you can see of Max is his back feet. Zorro is
a little more visible but a few seconds later and he was missing in the blurs too.
Today's fun outing went as follows: (1) lay fresh tracks in tire tracks up French Gulch Road to the trailhead; (2) arrive at the trailhead to find 12+ inches of fresh snow and break trail up the gulch for a bit; (3) turnaround and jog back in the trail we set until getting back to the road and following the tire tracks again.

I just wiped the camera clear to get this clip of us jogging in the track we set:
Jogging along in the trail we carved. Fun day!

A fun day of jogging in snow filled tire tracks and then breaking trail: 7.2 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 157 days on the trails covering 1312.6 miles with 138,900 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Catching air skijoring the great "upper conditions" at Rabbit Ears Pass. Wheeee!
Beautiful shot of Max & Zorro the "airborne hover huskies" :)
We took a route this morning that has a quick climb to get you onto a shelf of open meadows up in elevation. It was only a 500 foot climb but, oh my, what a difference in snow conditions & coverage just 500 feet up! See for yourself in this incredible wide angle shot for May 17th:
Looks like February to me :)
Okay, it wasn't really "February quality" as the terrain was a little choppy from warming & refreezing. But, it certainly was not too choppy to slow us down. Come along and watch as we open up the throttle with only a little bounciness to the terrain. Zoom!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We have been on quite the stretch lately of finding fresh smelling moose tracks everywhere we go. Here are today's tasty tracks:
"Sniff, sniff - tasty!" say the moose inspectors.
Max & Zorro each checking a footprint while you can see another moose print in the bottom
center of the photo.

A short & quick run this morning with the great decision to climb quickly to get into great terrain just 500 feet up: 5.2 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2016/2017 Season to Date: 156 days on the trails covering 1305.4 miles with 138,200 feet of elevation climbed.