Saturday, December 30, 2017

Good Times

Our first run of this season on the trails at Swan Valley with the dog sled teams from Good Times Adventures. Wheeee!
"Love running these trails! Love running with the dog sled teams!" exclaims super
happy Zorro.
Zorro really loves to get out on the trails to search, find, watch, pass and run with the dog sled teams. It is such a treat for him to encounter sled dog friends on the trails.

We had fun finding and watching:
"Hey buds! I'm over here - wait for me!!!!" says happy Zorro watching the 8 dog team
go by on a nearby trail.
We had fun finding and passing teams on the trail:
"Hey dudes, Zorro coming through!" says Zorro as we perfectly go on by a teams paused
on the trail.
Today's fun short video: Zorro and I cruising the trails in search of dog sled teams until we finally come upon a team paused on the trail along with a logjam of snowmobiles in front of us. Zorro and I simply slow down (due to the snowmobile logjam) and pass on by our paused friends. Perfect Zorro!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

After running the trails for miles and miles, we hooked up little Jack to finish the day's run and it was more "sled dog fun" as we got to run at a team crossing the trail in front of us. Jack's first day seeing the dog sled teams on the trails - he was very excited :)
"Wowee! That looks fun!" says little Jack as a team crosses in front of us.
"Stick with me and you'll have a blast!" says fun Zorro.
The bittersweet moment of the day... Running the trails at Swan Valley with dog sled teams was one of Max's FAVORITE skijor activities. These were probably his favorite network of trails as he would get so excited to run with the sled teams. If you've read past year's skijor blogs, you have likely seen photos and videos of Max bucking, wooing and sprinting these trails. This was our first visit to this network of trails since the passing of Max. Zorro and I could not do this run without a tribute to Max. We paused for a moment to spread some of Max's ashes on the snow and reflect on our special Max. The grey you see to the right of Zorro's shoulder and below the center tree is a sprinkling of Max's ashes.
"You said Max!!!! You said Max! I soooo miss Max!" says solemn Zorro scanning the terrain
after I spoke Max's name a few times.
"I miss him too, Zorro! Wish we still had fast Max on the trails today!" I replied.

A fun day of search, find, pass and run with the dog sled teams with a bittersweet pause to take a moment to honor and reflect on super Max: 8.4 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 20 days on the trails covering 135.3 miles with 12,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Birthday Fun

Zorro and Jack gave me exactly what a wanted for my birthday this morning: a fast & fun skijor on Baldy Mountain!
All smiles as Zorro and Jack take me to the finish of our morning skijor. Wheeee!
Before hooking up Jack for the finish you see above, Zorro first towed me up & down Baldy Mountain. It was fast, packed and wide down low:
Zoom we go behind flying Zorro!
It was narrow and deep up high. Barely wide enough for Zorro and I to fit :)
Fun Zorro towing in a narrow single track with "taller than Z" snow walls on each side!
Finally, we had beautiful views up high. How better to celebrate a view than to roll a snow angel while taking in the views :)
Silly Zorro rolling a snow angel while I paused to take in the nice view of the snow covered
peaks and ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort across the valley.
Back to the most fun: Zorro loves to uncork the skijor engine and really open up the throttle on the wide and packed trails lower on Baldy. Come along as we zoom, zoom, zoom along...
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

What a great birthday present: a great run up/down Baldy with Zorro and then a fun finish to the day with Jack and Zorro: 6.2 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 19 days on the trails covering 126.9 miles with 11,800 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, December 25, 2017

White Christmas

A Merry, Merry White Christmas from Zorro, Jack and I!
Celebrating the end of our short morning run with my very focused partners.
Notice the snowflakes you can see against Jack's dark black and my coat and pants.
White Christmas!
Every once in a while, it is snowing so hard that the plows cannot keep up. When this happens, we get the fun experience of starting a skijor run from our garage and tour the local streets and trails around our house. Now this is how you celebrate a White Christmas!
Starting out in our driveway as you see the stair railing to our front door to the right and a
neighbor's house at the end of the street in front of us.
We started from our driveway and then took a hike/bike trail to nearby Carter Park. We were first in the park and got to enjoy breaking trail in deep snow through the park:
Breaking trail in Carter Park! Wheeee!
After an aerobic plow through the park, we cut back onto streets and followed tire tracks with 2-4 inches of snow cover in the otherwise 12+ inches of fresh snow. Come along for a short run in the tracks as you see Zorro towing me "in track" while little Jack simply tries to keep up and fit in the track with Zorro.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

A fun little White Christmas run on the streets and trails around our house: 1.1 miles traveled with 200 feet of elevation climbed. Merry Christmas!

2017/2018 Season to Date: 18 days on the trails covering 120.7 miles with 10,900 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

All Terrain

We skijored all types of terrain this morning: breaking trail, laying fresh tracks and flying on a groomed sprint track. What a fun day!
Zorro levitating over the trail as we lay fresh tracks in 2-4 inches of untouched snow!
We started the day on a seldom used backcountry trail and found ourselves breaking trail in 10-14 inches for now for about 2 miles. What an aerobic workout!
Zorro breaking trail in 10+ inches of snow! Wheeee!
After the aerobic trail breaking run, we transitioned onto a more popular section of trail. This section had packed terrain under 2-4 inches of new snow. As a result, we found ourselves laying fresh tracks for about 3 miles. Come along for a quick view of Zorro laying freshies!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Eventually, we transitioned onto "nordic trails" to pick up Jack for the end of the morning's run. How did we end the day? Well, how about zooming on a freshly groomed sprint track with little Jack:
Flying Zorro on the easy groomed trail as we exercise little Jack on the fast track. Zoom.
You would think Zorro got all the exercise (breaking trail and laying fresh tracks). But, no, little Jack wore himself out on the short "groomed zoom" to end the day :)
"Phew, so hot from that 'big' run! Must roll to cool off!" declares silly puppy Jack.
"Really? You only ran a short distance on an easy groomie!!!!" says Zorro.

Breaking trail then laying fresh tracks and finally picking up Jack to sprint a groomed track: 5.4 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 17 days on the trails covering 119.6 miles with 10,700 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, December 23, 2017


Happy Zorro and Jack towing me to the finish on yesterday morning's skijor run!
All smiles on Zorro. All smiles on Jack. Pure Siberian Husky Happiness! :)
The prior photo shows happy Zorro and Jack as we finished the day's run. But, before hooking up little Jack for the finish, Zorro and I had a great time skijoring French Gulch.

French Gulch has two great attributes. I love it for the gentle terrain which lets me glide behind strong Zorro for mile and miles and miles...

Come along for a quick glimpse of the perfect trail conditions in French Gulch. So much fun to glide behind Zorro and take in the scenery.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Okay, so "endless, gentle terrain" is one great attribute of French Gulch. The other, you ask? Well... MOOSE!!! While we did not see an actual moose on the outing, we did encounter some VERY fresh smelling moose tracks. We were gliding along far back in the gulch and I saw some moose looking tracks to our right. Zorro did not acknowledge them at first, so I figured they were not fresh. But, just as I was declaring them "stale moose tracks", Zorro got a whiff and immediately launched himself off trail and hurried into the lovely smelling moose tracks.
"Oh my, these smell delicious!!!!!!" declares moose inspecting Zorro.
You know moose tracks are very fresh if Zorro sniffs and then immediately pulls his head up to scan for the moose itself. If they are only mildly fresh, he will sniff longer, but very fresh causes him to quickly snap his head up to find the lovely smelling moose:
"Was just here! Must be near! Let's go this way!!!!!!" declares Zorro and his moose sonar.
Even with Zorro's intensity & desire, we did not fall for following the moose tracks into the thick and tall brush you see in front of us in the prior photo. Those bushes are as tall as me once you get in deep and you can just imagine us running into a well camouflaged moose by mistake!

Despite the wimpy human's refusal to follow the moose into the brush, it was still a great day skijoring French Gulch:
"New snow, fast terrain, fresh moose tracks and hooking up little Jack. What a day!" exclaims
happy Zorro.

A great run with tasty moose tracks and fun Jack tracks to complete the day: 8.8 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 16 days on the trails covering 114.2 miles with 10,300 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Crest & Go

Cresting the trail at Sally Barber Mine as Zorro kicks it into overdrive to fly down the front side of the trail. Wheeee!
Sally Barber Mine to the left with a nice patch of sun to show off sprint-tucked speedy Zorro :)

Sally Barber is a popular cross county ski destination in Breckenridge, so the trail is typically wide, packed and fast (especially when it has been many days since fresh snow). Come along with Zorro on the Sally Barber Sprint Track as we crest the trail at the mine and take off skijoring the front side of the trail. Zoom!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Zorro and I skijored 3 trails yesterday morning (Sally Barber, Trail of Tears and Weber Gulch) before arriving near the bottom of Sally Barber to pickup Jack for our usual "group finish" to the morning's skijor. We got to practice a new command with Jack - ignoring people on the trail and skijoring on by. This is a hard one for a nosey puppy who typically wants to stop and flirt with everyone and everything! But, with my verbal encouragement and Zorro's forward guidance, Jack executed a perfect on-by as we flew past a pair of people on the trail. What a good boy!
"Wheeee - come with meeeee!" says Zorro flying by the on lookers.
"Really? Ok, I'll fly by too!" demonstrates little Jack barely slowing down as he gives the
on lookers a quick glance as he flies by too!
Love the smiles on the faces - who couldn't smile at a flying Zorro and zipping Jack :)
Great day flying all over the trails near Sally Barber Mine, right Zorro?
"Yes, yes, fun indeed! I love the trails around this mine!!!!" exclaims happy Zorro at a
turnaround point on the trails.

Fast & fun day with Zorro topped with a perfect on-by from Jack: 7.1 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 15 days on the trails covering 105.4 miles with 9600 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, December 15, 2017

First and Fresh

First Tracks and Fresh Tracks on Peak 7 all morning long with Zorro. What fun!
"First & fresh - wheeee!!!!" says happy Zorro at our turnaround point of the morning.
Yesterday morning's skijor took us to the Breckenridge Nordic Center on Peak 7 near Breckenridge Ski Resort. The ski resort reported 6 inches of new snow overnight and the nordic center has the skijor-able trails closest to where the ski resort measures new snow. So we knew we would have a good fresh base to enjoy on the trails. Our expectations were met. About 2/3 of the outing found us on freshly groomed nordic center trails (groomie zoomies) and the other 1/3 found us laying fresh tracks on ungroomed side trails. What a fun day - come along for the adventure:

Zipping along behind the "Flying Z" as we are first tracks on the freshly groomed nordic trails. There was light snowfall most of our outing and I love the snowflake this shot has caught just below Zorro's left ear. First tracks amidst falling snow - Siberian Husky Dream!
"Wheeee - look at meeeee!" says flying Zeeeee :)
When we were not laying first tracks on the freshly groomed trails, we were on side trails laying fresh tracks in 3-6 inches of untouched, new snow.
"Love laying freshies!" declares Zorro gliding along through the morning's fresh snow.
At our high elevation point of the day, we decided to step off the groomed trails and test the untouched side trails. It is safe to say that the snowpack is "set" for a good winter once you get up high (although conditions are still sketchy at lower elevations):
"Deep as meeeee!" says cute Zorro pausing to check the deep snowpack off trail.
Back to the primary activity of the day: flying along the groomie zoomies of the Breckenridge Nordic Center. Here we go with Flying Z (watch closely to see the light snowfall coming down around us :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

What does a groomed trail system generate? Speed as Zorro hit his top solo skijoring speed of this season: 23 MPH while skijoring 7.5 miles with 650 feet of elevation climbed.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 14 days on the trails covering 98.3 miles with 8900 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

First Left

Perfect form as Jack executes his first "skijor left" with Zorro and I yesterday morning!
"I'm a sled dog! I'm a sled dog! Look at my perfect left!!!!" exclaims perfect puppy Jack!
"Nice, kid, you've got potential!!!" declares Zorro.
This has become our new skijor pattern: Zorro and I go out for a nice run and then we hook up Jack on a short downhill or flat slope to finish the day's run. To date, we have had Jack hooked up on easy straightaways where his only goal is to free run along with Zorro towing me. Well, yesterday morning we introduced some mind exercises into Jack's run - his first skijor left! It was perfect (see photo above and video below). Of course, we had already been working on lefts and rights during walks; but this was his first on-command left while skijoring - woo hoo, he gets it!

Come along and watch Jack on his first on-command left. A few things to note about how well Jack did. (1) The trail has both a straightaway and a left option, so he had to listen to know which way to go. (2) Nancy is on the straightaway and nobody is to the left, so he had to "abort Mom" and go left on command! (3) Jack is on the outside of the left, so he had to listen as opposed to having Zorro on the outside to nudge him left. Perfect, perfect, perfect!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Enough compliments on Jack, back to Zorro's run. We did a short & gentle semi-circle on the Harrison Creek main trail and side trails. It was a fast packed and fun day:
Launching Zorro as we sprint along fast packed terrain!
Okay, here we go zipping along behind Zorro. Watch as we open it up along a nice straightaway and then cut into a hard left before opening it up again. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

The trails were so fast that we were way ahead of schedule to meet Jack & Nancy near the trailhead for Jack's finish; so, Zorro and I followed a snowmobile track off trail and then found ourselves a moose track to inspect:
"Sniff, sniff - very fresh - moose this way!!!!" declares track inspecting Zorro.
Zorro tried to convince me that following the moose track into the thick trees was a good idea.
"Sorry, Zorro, the human is not that brave (or stupid :)!" I said.
Fast sprint tracks, fresh moose tracks and a perfect left with the young puppy. What a day!
"Yes, yes, what a day! I had a blast!" says cute & happy Zorro at a turnaround point of the day.

A quick & fast outing: 4.1 miles traveled with 300 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 13 days on the trails covering 90.8 miles with 8250 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Perfect Conditions

Look at these perfect conditions skijoring high atop Walton Peak! Sweet!
Flying along behind Zorro on an absolutely perfect backcountry trail.
It has been a pretty dry start to winter in Colorado. But, a few trails are actually set and ready to go. Walton Peak, near Rabbit Ears Pass, is one such trail. If you are currently in Colorado and looking at the dry conditions covering most of the state, you are probably shocked at the prior photo. But, yes, Walton Peak is in excellent condition!

Need some more convincing of the conditions on Walton Peak? Well, come along and watch Zorro and I flying along as we uncork the skijoring engine to top 21 MPH. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

In addition to the great conditions on Walton Peak, we found another treat to the day's outing. The initial portion of the trail had been groomed! Most of the terrain was as you see in the first photo; but the beginning of trail looked like what you see below - a groomed zoom trail. With such a nice groom at the beginning (and end), we took the opportunity to hookup Jack to finish the day with Zorro and I on the groomie zoomie. Here is a beautiful photo of getting Jack into skijoring! Notice that Zorro is significantly in front of Jack (compare their shadows) as he "sprint tows" me along the fast trail. Jack, on the other hand, is doing exactly what we want at this age - simply have fun and run along with Zorro and I.
Sprint stretched Zorro with "hover Jack" doing his best to keep pace with us.
Fun day, right Zorro?
"Oh my, who knew Walton Peak was in such great condition?!? Well, we do NOW!" exclaims
happy Zorro at a quick pause point on the trail this morning.

A fast day on great conditions: 8.8 miles traveled with 850 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 12 days on the trails covering 86.7 miles with 7950 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Baby Steps

We hooked Jack up with Zorro and I for his first ever little "mini skijor". Wheeee - he really gets it!
Jack giving it his all to keep up with Zorro.
Zorro and I did a 7ish mile skijor around Sally Barber Mine before arriving near the trailhead to hookup Jack for a short intro to skijoring. We purposely put ourselves on a section of trail with a downhill and flat grade so that Jack's only task would be to "free run" next to Zorro and try and keep up. Notice in the photo above that the gangline is taut from me to Zorro (e.g., Zorro is doing all the real work) whereas the gangline is 90 degrees to Jack (e.g., his sole mission was to "keep up" for this short distance :)

Come along and watch Jack's first little skijor with Zorro and I. So much fun to see Zorro towing me while Jack "gives it his all" to keep up for this short sprint. Pretty good for a first skijor run!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Okay, back to the real outing. Zorro and I skijored up, around and down the Sally Barber Mine Trail and added two side tours for distance and fun.

The first side tour was an untouched powder cache. We broke trail in 8-12 inches of snow along an untouched "power line trail" before turning around and retracing our freshly carved tracks.
Zorro hopping through 10ish inches of fresh, untouched powder as we break trail on an
unused power line trail.
The second side tour took on the narrow Trail of Tears. This is a fun, albeit very tight, trail that weaves you through dense trees. The trail had been used by others before us, so it was a packed fast track through the trees:
Zipping along behind Zorro towing me through the trees.
Back to the day's highlight: hooking up Jack for a tiny intro run... Finished skijoring and everyone has earned their "end of run pork treats":
"I earned mine, I earned mine!!!!" says happy little Jack.
"I get more! I did more!" proclaims cute & focused Zorro.

3 phases of fun with Zorro: fast & wide Sally Barber Mine Trail + fast & narrow Trail of Tears + trail breaking on a power line trail. Then, a short run to finish the day with Jack's first hookup. 7.1 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 11 days on the trails covering 77.9 miles with 7100 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Powder Face

Silly Zorro rolling snow angels, burying his head in powder and thoroughly covering his face with snow!
"Ahhhh, Powder Face!!!" demonstrates silly snow rolling Zorro.
You must be thinking it was a warm day for Zorro to roll such an extreme snow angel. Well... It was around 6 degrees (F) at the trailhead and under 10 degrees our entire outing. "Warm" is clearly a subjective word :)

The highlight of the morning: there is finally enough snow on the Sally Barber Trail to skijor!!! This is one of Zorro's favorite trails and we had a great time skijoring up, over and down this trail.
Flying along behind sprinting Z - wheeee!
While the Sally Barber Trail is very fun, it is too short for a full outing. So, we always try to connect an out & back on French Gulch after we skijor Sally Barber. The only issue with this plan: well, French Gulch gets plowed occasionally (there are a handful of private cabins in the gulch)! Unfortunately the trail had been plowed recently; but fortunately there was just enough new snow cover to skijor cautiously.
Zipping along behind Zorro on very thin snow cover. Note the snow wall to our left - this is
the wall created by the evil plow and is the snowpack that should be ON the trail :(
Back to the best part of the day's outing. Come along and watch and Zorro and I uncork the skijoring engine along the Sally Barber Mine Trail. Such fun...
[watch on youtube if no video load below]

Done skijoring both Sally Barber and French Gulch and back to the trailhead to meet up with little Jack:
"Smack! Thanks for coming back!!!!" says cute little Jack giving Zorro a 'welcome back' peck
on the cheek :)

Great day on Sally Barber and a cautiously skiable day on French Gulch: 8.3 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 10 days on the trails covering 70.8 miles with 6600 feet of elevation climbed.