Thursday, November 30, 2017

I Want to Go

Catching air skijoring Rabbit Ears Pass with Zorro - wheeee!
Airborne Zorro as we zip along the packed snowmobile trails at Rabbit Ears.
Today we feature silly little Jack - our adorable puppy who REALLY wants to come skijoring with Zorro and I. Jack gets to come to the trailhead to send us off and then meets us at the end of our runs. In just a matter of a few outings, Jack has gone from "watching us start" to bucking up & down declaring "I want to go too!!!!!" as Zorro and I take off. He is still too young to come along; but he is certainly giving all indications that he will take off with us once we hook him up!!!!
"Let me go! Let me go! I want to go too!!!!!!" declares bucking bronco Jack as Zorro and
I start the days run. Nancy is getting a good workout holding Jack back :)
Out of sight of the silly puppy and Zorro and I opened it up as we cruised the trails near the offiical Rabbit Ears Pass Marker. Come along and watch as we zip along the packed snowmobile trails as the Rabbit Ears Marker comes into view on our right (the large rock that appears in the video). There is a plaque on the other side of the marker from our approach that declares this the official geographical point of Rabbit Ears Pass.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Skijoring done and back to silly little Jack. We cannot stop laughing about how much skijor outings wear him out! He "participates" at the beginning and end of the runs and then goes for a gentle walk with Nancy in between. So, Zorro and I run while Jack waddles; but Jack always seems to be the most tired at the end of every skijor outing :)  Jack's favorite "post skijor" activity: curling up on Zorro and passing out :)
"Phew, EXHAUSTED!" demonstrates little Jack curling up on Zorro to rest from the day's
big outing. Zorro lays down to rest too; but it is hilarious that little Jack immediately curls
up on Zorro and passes out!
Another fun day running the trails at Rabbit Ears Pass, right Zorro?
"Yes, fun indeed!!!!" states happy Z!
Today's outing was a short & easy route. It is mostly flat or downhill with one little uphill rise. A perfect short run to put on back of yesterday's long run: 4.7 miles traveled with 200 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 9 days on the trails covering 62.5 miles with 5900 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Fast and Bumpy

A fast (albeit very bumpy in areas) skijor atop Rabbit Ears Pass this morning.
Flying along behind out-stretched and sprinting Zorro. Wheeee!
It has been a relatively dry and very warm November in Colorado. So, the trails with enough snow to skijor are slim pickings. But, Rabbit Ears Pass is one of the gems still offering enough snow coverage while we wait for winter to really arrive.

Zorro and I had a great time using all the snow still holding up on Rabbit Ears Pass.

We enjoyed rolling snow angels (well, ok, Zorro rolled, I did not :)
"Aaahhhhh, feels soooooo good!" declares snow-rolling Zorro.
We exchanged happy talk and were all smiles all morning long.
"So much fun on the 'Rabbit Ears Snow Cache'!" exclaims happy Zorro.
The rock formation in the upper left of the photo are the 'ears' from which Rabbit Ears is named.
The only slight drawback... Well, the trails received a lot of snowmobile traffic over the past holiday weekend. Warm days + lots of traffic + freezing nights + no new snow leads to some very bumpy terrain along sections of the trail.

Come and watch as Zorro and I zip along the trails to finish the day's run. But, also watch as I (i.e., the camera) am bouncing up and down as I struggle to keep pace with sprinting Zorro as he tows me over and through the bumps. Boy did my legs get quite the workout today :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Back to the finish and Jack joined us for our "end of run" celebration. Everyone look at Nancy and say cheeeese:
"Hi mom! When will this kid be big enough to help tow this human?" asks Zorro.
"Hi mom! When do I get to run too?!?" asks Jack.
Soon Jack, soon.....

A fun 7.1 mile outing at Rabbit Ears with 500 feet of elevation and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 8 days on the trails covering 57.8 miles with 5700 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

First Groom

The "first groom of the season atop Vail Pass" lead to Zorro and my first "groomie zoomie" of the season too. Wheeee!
Zorro catching air as we fly along the freshly groomed main trail atop Vail Pass.
Vail Pass always offers a range of skijoring treats for Zorro. His two favorite treats, though, are flirting with the crowds at the backcountry huts and flying along the fast trails around the pass. Yesterday morning had both flirt and fly opportunities for Zorro.

It turns out we got a bit of a late start, so most of the backcountry hutters had already packed up their gear for the day and were on the trails. Not a problem, though, as that meant Zorro got to flirt with many small crowds and we skijored up, down and around Vail Pass. Here are two of Zorro's flirt encounters.

(1) Bringing smiles to a pair of hutters as we trot on by:
"Hi... Bye...!" says little Zorro towing me by the pair as he brings smiles to their faces.
(2) Flying (literally :) by a snowshoer who has paused to admire the pretty sled dog sprinting on by with human in tow:
"Coming through... Wheeee!" says flying Z.
Our unexpected treat for the day's outing: freshly groomed terrain!!! The main trails at Vail Pass do get groomed throughout the season; but the snowmobile/ski season at the pass does not officially start until December 1st. Before that date, you do not know when the Forest Service may (or may not) take the groomers out for some preseason trial runs. We were THRILLED to discover the groomer had been out on the Shrine Pass Trail just before we got started yesterday morning.

Come along for a short clip of our fun skijor sprint (topping 20 MPH) along the groomed Shrine Pass Trail. Groomie Zoomie!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

What a fun day atop Vail Pass, right Zorro?
"Oh my, YES! I had a GREAT time!!!!" exclaims happy Zorro at the end of the day's run.
And, yes, that is silly puppy Jack in the background. He was so busy watching the crowds in
the parking lot that he barely noticed Zorro and I arriving! Nosey Puppy!
A fun "flirt and fly" day at Vail Pass with happy Zorro: 7.7 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 7 days on the trails covering 50.7 miles with 5200 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Freshies and Zoomies

Having a blast skijoring the backcountry trails on peaks 6 and 7 near Breckenridge Ski Resort.
Just ask Zorro!
"Why YES! I am having a blast!!!!" exclaims happy Zorro at our midpoint of the day's outing.
It was a fun day of "freshies and zoomies"!

We started out following a snowmobile track on Peak 7. But, after a short distance, the snowmobile veered left towards the ski resort while Zorro and I had plans to go right. What did we find to the right? Well, miles & miles of untouched terrain as we found ourselves laying fresh tracks in 2-4 inches of fresh snow for about 3/4 of the day's outing. Fun!
Cruising along as Zorro is laying fresh tracks in 2-4 inches of fresh snow!
After skijoring a large loop through the forest, we reconnected with the snowmobile track higher up on the mountain. You know what that meant... Zoom! Zorro and I had a blast uncorking the skijoring engine along this set track for a fast sprint to the finish.
Zooming along as Zorro opens it up in the set snowmobile tracks.
Put these two activities together (freshies and zoomies) and you get today's fun video clip. Come along as the first 1/2 of the clip has Zorro laying fresh tracks and then the second 1/2 has him opening up the throttle on the set track. Freshies and zoomies...
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

A day of 9's skijoring with Zorro: 9.2 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 6 days on the trails covering 43 miles with 4300 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Soon Jack

A beautiful bluebird day to skijor the fresh snow up & down Boreas Pass!
Cruising along behind Zorro as a nice shot of the snow-covered runs of Breckenridge Ski
Resort comes into view across the valley.
About 6-12 inches of new snow fell overnight in and around Breckenridge (6 at lower elevations, 12+ up higher). Zorro and I set out to skijor the new snow on Boreas Pass. It is still hunting season, so Boreas is open to 4WD vehicles. Hunting ends this weekend and, then, Boreas is closed to motor vehicles until May and it becomes one of the most popular cross-country ski and snowshoe trails in the area. But, the benefit of it still being hunting season - well, look at the photo above and video below... When there is enough snow, then a vehicle traveling the pass serves to pack the terrain and produce a nice fast-packed trail to skijor!

Come along and watch a short video clip of Zorro towing me along the packed tire track on what turned out to be a beautiful bluebird morning with lots of fresh snow. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Here is a great shot from the front of happy Zorro towing me along as we near the end of our run up and down Boreas:
"Wheeee! Look at me!" says happy Zorro towing me along.
Who took the prior "shot from the front"? Well, Nancy of course. Not just Nancy; but Nancy and Jack!!! Introducing Jack, our new little puppy and Zorro's future skijor partner. Jack is still a baby at this point, but we will start introducing him to short & easy skijor runs in a month or two and plan to have him up to medium length skijor runs by the tail end of this season. As you can see from the photo below, Jack believes he is ready NOW as he is airborne, bucking up & down to get loose from Nancy and join Zorro. Soon Jack, soon...
"I want to come! I want to come!" exclaims bucking bronco Jack.
"Soon kid, you couldn't hang with me yet!" says Zorro running by.
A better shot of Jack with his big brother Zorro as our parting shot of the day:
"Love you big bro!" says cute little Jack sleeping on Zorro.

A fun cruise with Zorro up & down Boreas Pass: 6.7 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 5 days on the trails covering 33.8 miles with 3400 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Solo Run

Zorro and my first "solo skijor run"...
"Such nice snow!!!" exclaims happy Zorro.
Our first skijor run since the loss of Max (see Miss You Max), so it was a mix of sad and happy as Zorro and I were missing our partner but really enjoying being out on the snow-covered trails doing our favorite thing.

We had a fun mix of activities and terrain on this outing at Rabbit Ears Pass.

We started from one of the more popular trailheads. It is still hunting season at Rabbit Ears and there was 15+ inches of new snow. This meant we encountered a range of snowmobile tracks and 4WD tracks along the high use areas. Zorro was quite happy to switch into high gear and floor it along the fast packed terrain:
Little Zorro catching air as we skijor the fast-packed terrain near the trailheads.
After going full throttle for a while, we got to enjoy another favorite activity: smelling fresh moose tracks!!! I let Zorro take me off-trail to follow the delicious smelling moose tracks. We never spotted the moose itself, but filling your nose with the scent of moose was almost as good!
"Sniff, sniff - yum! Moose was here RECENTLY!" declares my moose inspecting partner.
After failing to find a moose, we returned to the main trail to continue on. I expected to find the same snowmobile+4WD fast-packed terrain the rest of the outing. But, to our surprise, the vehicle tracks ended and we found ourselves breaking trail in about 12 inches of fresh powder for almost 1/3 of the outing! What an aerobic workout for short Zorro and I!
12+ inches of untouched powder as far as the eye can see! Breaking trail with little Z - whee!
Our final form of entertainment for the day: rolling snow angels!!! Zorro was in rare form getting his entire body deep into the snow and dousing his head with powder:
"Ah, now this is a 'Siberian Facial'!" demonstrate snow playing Zorro.

A short, fun day returning to the snow with my wonderful partner Zorro: 4.7 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 4 days on the trails covering 27.1 miles with 2800 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Miss You Max

Many followers of this blog also follow our adventures via Nancy's Facebook page, so you know the sad news.

For those of you who have not heard... Our beloved Max passed away on October 18.

This was shocking and came from "out of nowhere". At our annual Vet checkup in June, Max was deemed to be in perfect health. The first week of October, he was "fit, trim & happy" and skijoring in the early season snow. But, on Oct 11th, Max started acting a bit sluggish. On the 13th he was diagnosed with a fast spreading cancer in his liver and spleen. On Oct 18th, he was taken into emergency surgery at the CSU Canine Cancer Center in Fort Collins, CO. He did not make it out of surgery as the cancer had spread too far.

We put together a tribute to Max's incredible personality and life - Max: Feb 17, 2007 - Oct 18, 2017.

We miss him so much and still struggle to believe that he was taken from us so suddenly and so much sooner than we ever expected.

Zorro and I will continue to skijor this season. Obviously, our outings will be less frequent and not nearly as far as he and Max were able to tow me as a team. But, Zorro and I still love the snow and will dedicate all of our outings to our "gone but not forgotten" leader Max.