Thursday, April 19, 2018

Just Enough

All smiles looking back to me at one of our break points on this morning's skijor!
"So fun being a 2 husky team again!" declares satisfied Zorro.
"I'm really getting the hang of this and LOVING it!" declares happy young Jack.
We went to the trails of Breckenridge Nordic Center this morning hoping that they would be freshly groomed for one of our last "groomie zoomie" outings of this season (the nordic center closes on Sunday). Unfortunately, the groomers had not been out on the trails yet today. But, not to be deterred, Zorro, Jack and I found a way to have a great outing anyway.

Our solution? Well, stick to the lesser used of the nordic trails and hope they were not too tracked up. The result? Success! Look at the following shot.... You can see some existing tracks in the middle of the trail; but the shoulders are pristine and/or barely touched! Now, look closely as the shininess of the set tracks - this is ICE! You cannot skijor on ice as the human becomes frictionless and the sled dogs take "lack of friction" as a signal to floor it. Well, "floor it" and "ice" rarely combine into a happy ending :) But, notice the angle of this photo and you see that I am on the shoulder with my skis while Jack is sprinting the easy set track with Zorro straddling the shoulder and track.
Fast & flying Siberian Huskies with just enough untouched shoulder for the human to
safely come along.
Today's short video clip goes with the prior photo. Come along and watch as I am able to safely ride the "just wide enough" shoulder and avoid the icy middle track as we top 16 MPH skijoring with Zorro and young Jack. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We are still taking 2 breaks during our short skijors as we train and grow young Jack. The breaks are good practice for him to learn to listen and stop on command and they are also good to give him a couple of chances to rest and catch his breath during the outing. Zorro, of course, could do these short runs with no rest; but that would only serve to discourage Jack as he could not keep up.
"Stop again? Ok! Did I mention I am having so much fun!" declares happy Jack.
"If I point us to the right, can we get started again?" asks Zorro.
Everybody loves puppy photos. So here's your closing shot for the day as little Rudy joins us for "end of run" pork treats.
"Here I come, here I come! Save some for me!" states cute little Rudy.

Another fun, fast albeit short "start to finish" run with Jack joining Zorro: 2.1 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 16 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 47 days on the trails covering 318.4 miles with 29,600 feet of elevation climbed.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Freshies

Young Jack's first skijor run laying fresh tracks all morning long!!! Whee!
Great view of sprinting Zorro & Jack laying fresh tracks in about 2 inches of new powder.
Great view of the ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort on the mountains across the valley
from us.
This morning was Jack's second "start to finish" skijor with Zorro and I. He was having a blast laying fresh tracks in the morning's new snow. Come along and watch as I have spliced together 2 fun video excerpts from the outing. First, you'll see us laying fresh tracks on a trail covered in wonderful untouched snow. Second, you'll see us running alongside our "out tracks" on a section of Prospect Hill where we did and out & back. Fun, fun, fun....
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

As with our first "start to finish" skijor with young Jack, we took multiple breaks and kept the distance 2 miles. Jack really understands what to do with a break:
"Hehehehe, so much fun rolling snow angels to cool off!" declares giddy Jack.
"Kid, you are a goof!" declares Zorro.
After skijoring a little more, time for our second break as I stopped and knelt down to give my partners some pats and hugs...
"Stop again? Ok, here we come for some group hugs!" says the happy pair circling around
to come back to me.
Finally we end the day connecting with puppy Rudy at the trailhead as we all share "end of run" pork treats:
"Fun day!" states happy Jack.
"I see the treats!" smirks Zorro.
"You came back, you came back! Yay!" declares silly Rudy.
Laying fresh tracks with young Jack on his second "start to finish" skijor with Zorro and I: 2 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 16 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 46 days on the trails covering 316.3 miles with 29,200 feet of elevation climbed.


Friday, April 13, 2018

Team

Zorro and I are thrilled that young Jack has grown to the point that we are now a "2 dog skijor team" once again!!!
Nice form as Zorro and Jack are in a synchronized sprint tuck as we fly along the top
of Rabbit Ears Pass.
Yesterday morning was a HUGE milestone for young Jack. First off, we skijored for two miles - his longest outing of his young life! Second, he started the day with Zorro. To date, Zorro and I had been doing skijor runs before hooking up Jack to finish. We did this so that Zorro could get some exercise and be ready to "go easy" with Jack for the finish (i.e., we did not want Jack to be discouraged trying to keep up with a fresh and rested Zorro). But, we decided that yesterday was the day to see if Jack could start with the big boys. Well, SUCCESS!!! Jack did fantastic. He actually surprised Zorro and I a few times with his speed as we were expecting a gentle jog all outing but had to pick it up to keep with Jack's pace a few times! Zorro, of course, can still go faster than Jack; but he is so excited to have a skijor partner again that he has no problem slowing to Jack's pace to have a partner.

Come along for a short excerpt from yesterday morning's skijor atop Rabbit Ears Pass. So proud of Jack's performance and so proud of Zorro's metering himself to match Jack's pace. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Being Jack's longest outing, we stopped twice to take rest breaks before restarting. Here we are approaching the official Rabbit Ears Pass Marker as I call out "time to stop" to my team:
"Okey dokey! No real reason to stop, but we are happy to listen!" declare the happy
pair glancing back at me as we glide to a rest break.
Jack has the whole "rest break" figured out. If you are taking a break, you might as well roll snow angels to cool off :)
"Nice form, kid. You remind me of Max!" says onlooking Zorro.
"Rub a dub dub, need to cool my jets!" demonstrates silly Jack.
Speaking of Max... He was famous for his snow angels that he would typically to roll during any skijor break. Jack has certainly inherited that trait from Max. In honor of Max, we took a chance to sprinkle a few of his ashes atop Rabbit Ears Pass during our second rest break. Zorro kept a solemn watch on Max's ashes blowing in the wind while Jack gave me a beautiful happy smile:
"Miss you Max; but happy to have Jack!" says solemn Zorro.
"I wish I had known him as Zorro speaks to highly of Max!" says happy Jack.
Done with our break and back to the trails. Go Jack Go!
Once again, nice synchronized form from the sled dog pair!
How was your first big outing young Jack?
"Oh my, that was FUN!" declares ecstatic Jack.
"Nice, kid, VERY nice!" states approving Zorro.
We have reached our pinnacle of skijoring with Jack for this season. Starting with a fresh & rested Zorro and going 1.5 to 2 miles will be our pattern for the rest of this season. Zorro and I are happy to go these shorter distances if it means we are a skijor team again! Yay Jack!

2.1 miles traveled with 2 rest stops for young Jack. A top speed of 16 MPH and 300 feet of elevation climbed.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 45 days on the trails covering 314.3 miles with 28,800 feet of elevation climbed.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Jack Mile

Jack skijored his first mile this morning! Woo Hoo, way to go Jack!
"I had a BLAST!" declares happy Jack.
"Yes, fun, but eating snowcones to cool off now!' declares Zorro.
"Hey big bro, what are you eating?" questions little Rudy (who has not discovered the
art of eating snowcones yet :)
Before hooking up Jack for his first 1+ mile skijor, Zorro and I did a quick 4.5 mile skijor out & back at Breckenridge Nordic Center:
Zipping along with Z, Wheeee!
Jack actually got to experience two skijor milestones today. The first, of course, going over one mile in distance. The second was experiencing "off trail" skijoring through tight trails in the forest. The next photo may look innocent; but bringing a young pup on his first weave through the forest is a milestone. Think of all the potential to go off trail and into the trees! But, no, Jack was perfect and kept in step with Zorro, following the narrow single track.
It is perfect skijoring form when you can barely tell where one sled dog ends and the other
starts! Shoulder to shoulder perfection!
The reward for being perfect on "off trail" single tracks? Well, then you get to open it up on the wide & fast main trail. Zoom...
Young Jack flooring it as Zorro jogs along letting Jack set the pace (Zorro is still much faster
than Jack if he floors it himself :)
Being Jack's longest skijor in his young life, we made sure to take 2 quick breaks along the way. Jack let me know he was having a blast at each pause:
"This is fun, no need to stop!" declares happy Jack.
"You need to learn to eat snowcones to cool your jets at break points!" declares snow eating Zorro.
A fun day and young Jack is really coming along, right Zorro:
"Yes, yes, fun all around!" declares ecstatic Zorro.
A fun 5.7 mile skijor outing: 4.5 with Zorro and then 1.2 with Zorro and Jack. Zorro's top speed: 20 MPH. Jack's top speed: 16 MPH! A total elevation gain of 700 feet.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 44 days on the trails covering 312.2 miles with 28,500 feet of elevation climbed.


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

First Crust

Jack got his first experience skijoring the "Spring Crust" yesterday morning. 
Needless to say, he had a great time :)
Shoulder-to-shoulder Zorro & Jack laying fresh tracks in about an inch or two of new snow
atop a solid springtime crust.
What is spring crust? Well, it is the time of year where temperatures rise well above freezing in the daytime but still fall well below freezing overnight. The result is the snowpack softens every day and then the "soft layer" refreezes overnight into a crust that can support Zorro's weight (and, thus Jack's too) while also supporting my weight on skis (I would punch through the crust off skis, but can glide atop the crust on skis). What is so fun about the spring crust? Well, you no longer have to follow set trails, you can simply skijor and glide wherever your heart desires. This also provides great left and right training for Jack as he has to listen to me and/or follow Zorro's lead instead of sticking to set trails.

Come along for a short excerpt of Jack's first time skijoring the spring crust. You'll note Jack is a little "bouncy" in his execution but does a very good job of snapping back into line with Zorro whenever he drifts. Pretty good for a young guy on his first unset trail!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Back to the beginning of yesterday's outing. Zorro and I did a quick 4.1 mile skijor on Prospect Hill before collecting Jack for the finish. You get some great views of Breckenridge Ski Resort across the valley from Prospect Hill:
Zorro sprinting atop the spring crust as we make our own path on Prospect Hill and take in
the nice view of the snow-covered ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort.
For our second short video of the day... Come along with Zorro and I gently gliding and setting our own path on a great crust layer. It is fun to pay special attention just over 20 seconds into this video. If your volume is up loud enough, you'll hear me call out a "right" to Zorro (which he quickly executes) as I initially think drifting right is the best path to avoid obstacles. But, almost immediately after I say "right", I notice a better line of unobstructed crust to the left. As a result you can hear me call out "left" and see Zorro immediately abandon the right and cut us left instead. Zorro is such a great listener!!!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Back to the 0.6 mile skijor we did with Jack to end the day. Everybody glancing back to me as I request a right turn from my partners:
"Got it... turning right!" says happy Zorro.
"This sure is fun making your own path!" states happy Jack.
We ran out of open terrain at one point so it was time to turnaround. But, my partners had other plans first. Must pause and roll dual snow angels to cool off before making a new path:
Rub-a-dub-dub, dual snow angels from Zorro and Jack!
Our first spring crust fun of this season! 4.7 miles traveled (4.1 with Zorro then 0.6 with Zorro and Jack) with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 43 days on the trails covering 306.5 miles with 27,800 feet of elevation climbed.


Friday, March 30, 2018

Rudy

Despite still being too young to skijor, Rudy provided PLENTY of entertainment at all of the trailhead interactions on yesterday morning's skijor :)
"I'm still having trouble with this 'too young to go' concept. Explain that again. I think
I am PLENTY big enough!" states perplexed Rudy who is more than convinced he is
big enough to run with the big boys :)
Despite many questions from Rudy at the start of the day's run, Zorro and I still left him (and Jack and Nancy) behind to do a quick 5.4 mile skijor before arriving back to pick up Jack...
Flying Z as we are 2nd or 3rd tracks on a freshly groomed speed track!
Done with a quick out/back with Zorro and time to pick up Jack for his turn to skijor:
"Hey little bro, ready to go?" says Zorro to Jack.
"You bet, hook me up!" declares Jack.
"Wait, wait, WHAT ABOUT ME!!! Didn't you come back for ME!?!?!?!?!" exclaims silly
Rudy trying to look as big as he can so he can run with the big boys.
As I split the gangline off Zorro to add Jack, Rudy made sure he was front and center to get my attention. Clearly the musher (me) was unaware that we had really come back for Rudy :)
"Just say it! JUST SAY IT! Say you came back for MEEEEEEE!!!!" demands silly Rudy.
"Really, this silly kid!" states happy Zorro.
Despite the question (and protests) from Rudy, we really did come back to hook up Jack and not Rudy. Zorro, Jack and I did a fun 0.4 mile skijor as we are slowly building growing Jack into more distance. If you remember years past, Max and Zorro were famous for their "hover husky" shots where they would appear to be levitating above the trail in unison. Well, we almost got our first hover husky of Zorro and Jack; but Jack was just a few toes away from a perfect shot:
Sprinting hover huskies as Jack is a couple of toes away from levitating with Zorro.
Time to call it a day and get our "end of run" pork treats:
"Serve 'em up!" declares happy Zorro.
"Don't forget about me!" states happy Jack ducking under my left arm to make sure he is in view.
"I'm still confused on this 'too young to go' thing; but I'll certainly accept the treats!" declares
silly Rudy.
Amazing how entertaining a 3 month old puppy can be when he is left behind and his only interactions are at the trailheads! Silly Rudy! Anyway, the big boys did a 5.8 mile skijor (5.4 with Zorro and then 0.4 with Zorro and Jack) with a top speed of 22 MPH and 700 feet of elevation climbed.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 42 days on the trails covering 301.8 miles with 27,100 feet of elevation climbed.


Friday, March 23, 2018

Go Jack Go

Yesterday morning was young Jack's longest skijor - 1/3 mile of sled dog fun!!! Go Jack, Go!
"Now this is FUN!!!!" declares happy Jack at our turnaround point of his 1/3 mile run.
"The kid is really coming along!" states fun Zorro happy to have a skijor partner again,
if only for short distances...
It was a beautiful morning to run the trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center yesterday. Before hooking up young Jack for his 1/3 mile, Zorro and I did a fast out & back on the trails for just under 5 miles. It was zoom, zoom Zorro to start the day:
Zorro catching air as he flies along the fast trails.
After a quick run with Zorro, we hooked up young Jack for his 1/3 mile skijor. Zorro is so good at changing his pace to allow Jack to keep up. While he could floor it and go much faster than Jack, he instead takes his speed down a notch to let Jack keep pace and gain confidence. Here is a great shot of "jogging Zorro" with "floored Jack" next to him. Love Jack's form - airborne sprint tuck with ears tucked in for aerodynamics! He really gets it :)
"Wheeee, I'm flying with Zeeee!" says airborne & sprint tucked Jack.
On to the video highlight of yesterday's outing. Come along for a fun 30 seconds skijoring with Zorro and Jack. Nice effort from Jack on just his second skijor longer than a 50 yard sprint and nice form from Zorro keeping the speed to a Jack Pace.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

End of the day's run and time for "end of run" pork treats. Little 12 week old Rudy gets to join in for the treats too :)
"Fun day, fun day!" exclaims happy Zorro.
"My turn, my turn!" declares happy Jack.
"Yum, yum!!!!" says little Rudy getting one of his pork cuts.
1/3 a mile for Jack - whew, that's work! Sideline cheerleading for Rudy - phew, that's REAL work....
Young Jack and little Rudy zonked out in the back of the Jeep on the way home.
What a big outing :)

A fast & short solo run with Zorro followed up by a fun 1/3 mile run with Zorro and Jack: 5.2 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 41 days on the trails covering 296.0 miles with 26,400 feet of elevation climbed.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Three

All happy faces as Jack got to participate in his first "extended" skijor yesterday morning (extended being 1/4 mile for young Jack :)
"Wow, that was FUN!!!" exclaims ecstatic Jack at our turnaround during his 1/4 mile skijor.
"I see potential, finally, REAL potential!!!" declares approving Zorro.
Three great things to talk about from yesterday morning's skijor...

First, Zorro and I had a blast FLYING around the freshly groomed trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center. It was a short outing, so Zorro kept it 'pedal to the metal' just about all morning long:
Flying Zorro on perfect "groomie zoomie" conditions!
Come along for a short highlight of Zorro's Zoomie day. We topped 23 MPH somewhere in this fast stretch of trail. Go Zorro, Go!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Second highlight of the day - growing Jack!!!! He's been wearing a "Jr Sledding Harness" the past few months when we hooked him up for his downhill 50 yard dash to finish every outing. Our approach has been, "as soon as he fills the harness, then we'll let him go farther." Well, it had been 8 days since our last skijor and, to everyone's astonishment and glee, when we slipped the jr harness on Jack yesterday morning, he filled it out!!!! Just 8 days ago, he fit the neck band of the harness but the body was loose and unfilled. 8 days later and he's filling the harness. Woo Hoo! What did this mean, Jack got to do his first real skijor. He is still young, so we still have to keep it short. But, Jack, Zorro and I did a super fun 1/4 mile skijor together. Jack had a BLAST (as did Zorro and I).
Woo Hoo, "little Jack" is now "medium Jack" and look at that great form as he is in a
synchronized sprint tuck with Zorro as we lean into a right along the trail.
Third highlight? Well sit down for this one...

Why had it been 8 days since our last skijor when we had been going out at least once and usually twice a week this season? Well, welcome little Rudy to our pack!!! Rudy is 11 weeks old today and joined our pack last Friday. With a new puppy under foot, you can understand why we have not been out on the trails for a bit. But, yesterday was the day to show Rudy what it is "all about". He got to watch Zorro and I leave/return, then watch Zorro/Jack/I leave/return and then experience "end of run" pork treats at the trailhead. Oh boy did he have fun! Here is the "end of run" treats shot:
"Hand them over! I've been working hard!" exclaims happy Zorro.
"Me too, me too, I did a 1/4 mile today!!!" declares happy Jack.
"This looks fun and sure smells DELICIOUS!" says newbie Rudy.
For those who have not seen him from the front yet, here is a great shot of little Rudy learning to "come".
Weeee, here I come!!!
What a fun day: 23 MPH with Zorro, 1/4 mile with Zorro & Jack and "end of run treats" with big Zorro, medium Jack and little Rudy: 4.6 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 40 days on the trails covering 290.8 miles with 25,900 feet of elevation climbed.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Wide

Beautiful wide-angle shot of immaculate snow covered terrain atop Rabbit Ears Pass!
Out-stretched and flying Zorro with incredible snow cover as far as the eye can see.
The main trails at Rabbit Ears get groomed for snowmobiles and we were ecstatic to find ourselves to be first or second tracks on the freshly groomed trails all morning long! What a treat. Zorro was having a blast flying all over the place!

When you are going super fast, it seems Zorro barely has time to "touch the ground" and seems to take off as a flying hovercraft :)
Zorro catching some serious height as he goes airborne along the trail!
Today's short video clip showcases a mix of perfect trails. We start on a wide section of trail that winds through the trees until we come upon an open straightaway as Zorro seriously floors it as we top 23 MPH. Wheeee and Zoooom!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Nearing the end of the morning's run and time to hook up little Jack for his 50 yard dash. Two fun things to notice in this photo. First, the happy face on little Jack. He LOVES to join Zorro for the final end-of-run sprint! Second, note that the gangline is really taut (e.g., straight) from me to Zorro and Jack is technically off to the right. He is still too young for real pulling, so I keep the gangline taut to Zorro and Jack simply has a ball doing his short sprint to Zorro's side. I cannot wait until this little guy is big enough to put it all together!!!
"Wheeee, look at meeee!" exclaims happy Jack.
"Just try and keep up, I'll tow the human!" declares Zorro the pro.
Did I mention Zorro had a blast yesterday morning on the freshly groomed and perfect trails? See for yourself:
"Oh my, I am having FUN!!!!" expresses super happy Zorro as he looks back to me at
our turnaround point of the morning.

A fast & fun day on the fresh groomies atop Rabbit Ears Pass: 6.7 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 39 days on the trails covering 286.2 miles with 25,500 feet of elevation climbed.