Sunday, November 18, 2018

First Tracks

A rare treat - laying fresh tracks all the way up Boreas Pass!
First on the trail as we laid fresh tracks in 3-5 inches of new powder all the way up Boreas!
We got some nice new snow overnight, so the Big Boys (Zorro & Jack) and I set out for a long run up & down Boreas. Why a "rare treat"? Well, Boreas is one of the most popular cross country ski trails in our area. Usually you have to be on the trail near sunrise to be first tracks. But, to our joy & surprise, we were still first tracks even though not starting the outing until 9am! What a treat!

Quick geography lesson on Boreas in the photo below: if you crossed the open meadow in front of Zorro & Jack and then drifted through the trees for a bit then you would eventually run into Indiana Creek. Indiana Creek is a popular destination for moose and we have spotted moose in this meadow before. You can also see moose tracks traversing through the meadow. Clearly Zorro & Jack "sensed" moose and had to hop off trail to scan for moose.
"Sniff, sniff - we smell you -where are you?!?" say the moose seekers.
After laying fresh tracks all the way up, time to turnaround. But, first....
"Turnaround = roll around!" demonstrates snow angel rolling Jack.
"He's rolling angels again. Surprise - NOT!" declares Zorro.
I fully expected everyone to ride in the track we set on the way up on the way down. Silly me as even 10 year old Zorro wanted to continue in the freshies all day long!
Keeping in the freshies all the way down!
Why use the track you set on the way up when you can stay in the freshies all the way down?
End of a fun day laying fresh tracks all morning long!
"Ready for more!" says 'not tired yet' Zorro.
"Now that was FUN!" declares young Jack (this was his first outing laying
fresh tracks all day long).
A day of freshies with the Big Boys: 8.2 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 16 MPH (we were happily slowed by fresh powder :)

2018/2019 Season to Date: 11 days on the trails covering 52.1 miles with 5050 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Fast Packed

A ridiculously fast packed trail at Indiana Creek this morning!
Flying Zorro + Airborne Jack + Launching Rudy = Zoom!
The trail at Indiana Creek was thin & fast packed terrain this morning. Almost too fast as you see patches of shiny ice instead of snow in the photo above. But we did it as I was riding my skis hard to keep the 3 pack under control all outing :)

Today's short video clip demonstrates what I am talking about. Come along as we are on ridiculously fast packed terrain. Zoom!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

To date, Rudy had been perfect at all our skijor starts. Perfect meaning he was "lined out" with Zorro & Jack and took off with them. This morning, though, he was so busy talking about how much fun he was about to have that he forgot to line out and almost missed the start. Silly puppy!
Zorro & Jack taking off as little Rudy forgot to line out with them.
"Wait for me! Wait for me! Here I come!!!!" screams Rudy :)
Love this fun shot of the tightly configured 3 pack. Airborne Zorro leading the youngsters hanging off each of his shoulders.
"Keep with me kids!" declares lead dog Zorro.
As usual, lots of breaks since it is still "training mode" when young Rudy is along. And, as usual as well, snow angels from Jack at every break!
"Rub a dub dub!" demonstrates silly Jack.
"So many breaks, but still a ton of fun!" expresses Zorro.
"I love love love skijoring!" declares happy Rudy.
Skijoring over, time for "end of run" treats!
"Slurp, yum, yum!" says Jack taking a pork treat from my hand.
"Hurry back to my turn!" says Zorro.
"Me next, me next!" little Rudy is saying to me :)
Another short, fun & easy Rudy training run: 1.9 miles traveled with 100 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH (Rudy's fastest speed yet!)

2018/2019 Season to Date: 10 days on the trails covering 43.9 miles with 4250 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Snow Beauty

An absolutely beautiful morning to skijor great conditions atop Rabbit Ears Pass!
Zoom, zoom, zoooom we go with Zorro, Jack and little Rudy!
We planned a nice & easy training run to introduce young Rudy to Rabbit Ears Pass. A short 2.6 mile skijor with 3/4 of the outing being on downhill terrain and about 1/4 of the outing with a small climb. It is safe to say that Rudy officially "gets" skijoring. He has such a blast on these short training runs!

Come along for today's short video clip as we fly along snowmobile tracks in what was a beautiful morning atop Rabbit Ears Pass.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

As with all our training runs, lots of breaks to rest & regroup before going again. The morning temperatures were in the single digits (F); you'd think that was cold, well, here's our first break:
"Having so much fun!" declares happy Zorro.
"Oh man, must roll snow angels to cool off!" demonstrates silly Jack.
"Why are we stopped?!?" asks cute Rudy.
A little further along and we took our second break at the official Rabbit Ears Pass marker. Remember it was cold (to humans) this morning :)
"Still having a BLAST!" says fun Zorro.
"Rolling, cooling, so hot!" suggests goofy Jack.
"Must eat snowcones to cool my jets!" demonstrates silly Rudy.
Time to complete the day's outing as we leave the top of Rabbit Ears to glide down into the forest leading to the trailhead:
Fun shot of the skijor triplet!
Another very successful "short & easy Rudy training run": 2.6 miles traveled with 200 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 15 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 9 days on the trails covering 42.0 miles with 4150 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Niner

Young Jack's first "skijor niner" (9+ mile skijor). What fun!
"He's really coming along nicely!" declares satisfied Zorro.
"I'm a sled dog, I'm a sled dog!" declares happy Jack.
We started the day on backcountry trails and found a narrow set track weaving through the forest. It was "shoulder to shoulder" skijoring as we glided through the trees:
Hard to tell where Zorro ends and Jack starts as we glide in the narrow set track.
The reward for weaving through the forest? Well, we eventually connected with the groomed trails of the Breckenridge Nordic Center. It is still "early season" so not a lot of terrain is groomed. But that which was groomed was VERY nice. Love this "tuck & fly" shot of Jack and Zorro as Jack is in an airborne sprint tuck while Zorro is in an out-stretched sprint fly next to him. Wheeee!
The "tuck & fly" brothers :)
Today's video highlight demonstrates just how good Zorro & Jack are as skijoring partners. Come along as we are comfortably gliding along the fast trail until we come upon some trail damage (the leftovers of a tree that had fallen and been removed). Listen as I do not say a single word while Zorro & Jack automatically slow for the damage, cross carefully and then open it back up after I get over the damage behind them. What partners! Jack has learned beautifully from Zorro that "preserving the human" is a good thing!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Today's trail comedy. Here we are at the start of the days run as I am putting my boots into the skis. We are stopped, so Jack decides to roll a snow angel. Love the look on Zorro's face watching goofy Jack:
"Beginning, middle, end - doesn't matter to me. You are stopped, I roll!" demonstrates silly Jack.
"Really kid, we haven't even started yet! How could you need to cool off?!?" asks perplexed Zorro.
Fast forward to our quick midpoint break of the days outing and Zorro shows the kid the rules.
"Stop & roll at the break when you need to cool off!" demonstrates veteran Zorro.
"Hehe, you are a fun big brother!" states happy Jack.
Woo Hoo - Jack's first 9+ mile skijor: 9.3 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 8 days on the trails covering 39.4 miles with 3950 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Bluebird

After 8+ days on constant snow, it was a beautiful bluebird start to this morning!
Zipping along the French Gulch Trail on beautiful & sunny morning!
This was Rudy's first skijor trip to French Gulch. He has been on this trail in the summer, but never on snow. He was ready to join his big brothers and experience this terrain at skijor speeds :)

Since we are still in "training mode" with young Rudy, we did our typical type of training outing: short & easy terrain with lots of breaks to rest, regroup and reflect on our fun. First break and Zorro & Rudy are ready to go while Jack has other plans:
"Wait, wait, gotta roll in the snow first!" demonstrates silly snow rolling Jack.
"Aw come on man! Let's go!" declare Zorro & Rudy lined out and ready to restart.
In between breaks it was zoom, zoom, zooooom! Come along and watch as we fly along the fast packed French Gulch Trail.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Usually we will take 2-3 breaks during training runs. But, everyone was going so fast today, that I had us stop and rest little Rudy 5 times. Sprint, rest, sprint, rest, sprint, rest, sprint, rest, sprint, rest, sprint - that was the day's outing :)

After the last break and it's role reversal from the first:
"Look who's lined out and ready to go now! Come on slowpokes!" declares Jack.
"Having a BLAST!!! A real BLAST!" exclaim happy Zorro & Rudy.
Break over and back to the day's action - sprint:
Zoom, zoom, zoooom!

Another successful training run with young Rudy: 2.6 miles traveled with 200 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 15 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 7 days on the trails covering 30.1 miles with 3050 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Milestones

Having a blast breaking trail in about 15 inches of fresh powder in French Gulch! Wheeee!
Gliding along in 15+ inches of powder. What impressive sled dogs!!!
This is young Jack's first real season of skijoring, so we will be experiencing a lot of milestones as the season unfolds (recall last winter was just short & easy training runs for Jack). Today had two milestones: (1) Jack's first 8+ mile skijor (8.4 to be exact); and (2) Jack's first extended time breaking trail (we had about 1 to 1.5 miles of what you see in the prior photo). Impressive young Jack (and just as impressive veteran Zorro :)

We are at the tail end of a great storm from the previous few days dumping upwards of 2 feet of snow in and around Breckenridge. Today we decided to take Zorro & Jack for a long run in French Gulch to enjoy all the new snow. There has been so much snow, that we were able to start on French Gulch Road and run in tire tracks until entering the real French Gulch Trail.
Flying along in packed tire tracks on French Gulch Road. Zoom.
Once we transitioned from the road to the trail, we were able to ride in a set of ski tracks for a while and then we eventually out skied all existing tracks. Once this happened, you got the first photo above: breaking trail for over a mile in 15+ inches of powder!

Besides great snow, the biggest attraction of French Gulch is ... MOOSE!!! We did not see a moose this morning, but the "scent of moose" drew Zorro & Jack off trail once into deep snow as they scanned the forest for the source of the moose aroma. No visuals, but still fun to scan:
"Come out, come out wherever you are. We SMELL you!!!!" declare the moose scanning
pair enjoying the deep powder as they scan for moose.
The only drawback to French Gulch - well there are a handful of property owners in the gulch who have keys to the "winter gate" and will occasionally run their evil plows down the trail. Anything that removes snow is evil (except the sun, as it has other uses so we will allow this one snow remover :)
Evil, just plain evil!!!! Why remove snow!!!!!
On to today's video highlight - the evil plow. Come along as we are flying along a "fast packed trail" until we encounter the source of the packness - the evil plow. Love my skijoring partners as they automatically slow as we approach Mr. Evil as we all consider "what to do". All it takes is one gentle "Left" command from me and Zorro & Jack hop into the left powder as we pass Mr. Slow & Evil. Once passed, hop back into the ski tracks on the trail, floor it and leave Mr. Slow & Evil in our dust :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]


What a fun early November snow run: 8.4 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 6 days on the trails covering 27.5 miles with 2850 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Almost

Almost our first "hover husky triplet" skijoring shot. Almost......
Jack & Zorro each have a toe or two on the ground while Rudy is hovering along the trail.
Almost our first "hover husky triplet" - we'll have one soon! :)
The upper section of Boreas Pass got a great dump of new snow overnight. So, we ventured out for what has been our standard "Rudy training route" of this early season. Specifically, we drove up Boreas and then Nancy drove the Jeep back down while Zorro, Jack, Rudy & I skijored down in the set tracks made by the Jeep. A perfect "packed & downhill" trail for training young Rudy.

I love this short section of video from the day's outing. Notice how Zorro has little Rudy along side him as they run in the set tire track. Jack, meanwhile, has put himself in the shallow powder just outside of the track. Zorro, at 10 years old, is happy to take the easy track and train Rudy while Jack is young and full of energy and needs the extra powder to get his exercise :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

As was the pattern when we were training Jack last winter, we kept the outing short & easy and took two breaks during the run. Break number one:
"Having a blast!" declares happy Rudy.
"Yes, yes - what fun!" adds happy Jack.
"A break ALREADY?!?!" asks veteran Zorro.
First break over and we got onto a well-traveled section of Boreas that had wide packed tracks. Everyone spread out and go...
Zorro taking point (notice my skis are shifted behind Zorro and Jack) while Jack provides
the mid engine and little Rudy runs at his own pace out to the right.
Break number two...
"Okay, I am having fun in spite of all these breaks!" says happy Zorro.
"Cooling my jets in the snow!" demonstrates little Rudy.
End of the day's run and time for our "end of run pork treats":
"Dish them out!" says intense Zorro.
"Yes, yes!" adds happy Jack.
"I'm right here too!" declares focused Rudy.

What a fun "short & easy" training run with Rudy: 2.4 miles traveled with a top speed of 16 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 5 days on the trails covering 19.1 miles with 2050 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Treat

No tricks today as were treated to a dump of fresh snow this halloween!!!
Laying fresh tracks in about 4 inches of fresh snow on Boreas Pass Rd. Beautiful halloween treat!
You may have looked at the previous photo and wondered, "That is Zorro and Jack, where is Rudy?" Well, Rudy is still too young for long skijor runs or extended stretches of deep snow. So, while we have a blast doing short training runs with Rudy, we need to drop the little guy now & then to get in some real skijor runs. Our plan for this winter is to drop Rudy once or twice a week and give Zorro and Jack a serious run. Eventually, probably in March or April, Rudy will be old enough to come along full-time. But, until then, you get a "Zorro and Jack" long skijor treat once a week :)

Anyway, back to today's run. We planned on driving up Boreas Pass Road until the snow was fresh and deep enough to skijor. Well, we found it "fresh and deep" at the trailhead, so did not need to drive up the road at all. As you can see in the previous photo, we were first on the road and were laying fresh tracks all the way up to Bakers Tank. What fun!!!

The only flaw in starting at the trailhead was that the trail got sticky now & then on the way down (due to mud creeping up from under the snow). I had to stop a few times to scrape mud off my skis. Well, you know Jack and his "stop antics"...
"You scrape the skis, I roll snow angels!" demonstrates silly Jack.
"Sigh, dumb human equipment, I want to GO!" declares "lined out and ready to go" Zorro.
Partway down and we ran into a Jeep coming up the road (Boreas Pass Road is open to 4WD vehicles until mid to late November). Zorro and Jack provided some entertainment for the tourists coming up the road:
Windows down and iphones out to take photo/video of the pretty sled dogs and the
crazy human attached to them on skis :)
After encountering that Jeep, we had tire tracks to follow the rest of the way down. While the tracks exposed mud in a few places, it also provided a packed speedway in other stretches! Zoom!
Zorro flying along the packed tire track as Jack wants to ride in the powder next to the track.
Here we go flying along the packed tire tracks. Zoom, zoom - love getting towed along by my sled dog pals!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

What a halloween treat, right guys?
"Oh my, that was fun!" declare the happy, happy brothers at the end of the day's run.
A fun day laying fresh tracks all the way up and then opening the throttle in tire tracks down low: 6.2 miles traveled with 750 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 4 days on the trails covering 16.7 miles with 1850 feet of elevation climbed.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Getting It

Our second short & easy training run with young Rudy.
He's definitely "getting it"!!! 
Beautiful shot of the skijoring trio as they run in set tracks while I glide safely in the side powder!
It snowed all day Sunday, so we headed back to Boreas Pass early Monday morning to get in the fresh snow. The plan was similar to our last outing: drive up Boreas Pass until the snow was great for skis then let Nancy drive back down for about 1.5 miles while we skijored down this same track. This served two purposes: give young Rudy a "set track" and "easy downhill path" for his second training run.

This morning's run was PERFECT! Rudy has really picked this up (not that we expected any different). What is most fun to notice about the prior photo is how Zorro, Jack and Rudy auto-aligned for a perfect training setup. Note that I am skiing the shoulder snow to the left and Zorro is also to the left of the 3 pack. Zorro is "setting the pace" in this position and the one I will primarily talk to if any commands are needed. Jack is in second slot - following Zorro's lead but also towing the human. Finally, young Rudy is out in the third slot. He is so far away from me that he is not pulling, his only job is to run & jog at the pace set by his brothers. PERFECT! I planned to try and enforce this configuration; but I said nothing - Zorro & Jack took the 1st & 2nd slots on their own.

Come along for our first "3 pack" skijoring video - WHEEEE!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Time for a quick break for young Rudy and I directed us to some fun "side powder":
Rudy's first "fresh tracks" (for about 10 yards :)
Zorro knows we get "pork treats" at any break. Jack knows he rolls snow angels at all breaks. Rudy is just having fun!
"Break time - serve them up!" declares smart Zorro.
"Rub a dub dub!" demonstrates silly Jack.
"I'm having a blast!" says happy Rudy.
Here we come arriving at Bakers Tank on Boreas Pass to end the day's short training run.
As was the case all day: in perfect form and perfect configuration!
A successful and very fun 2nd training run with Rudy: 1.7 (downhill) miles traveled with a top speed of 14 MPH.

2018/2019 Season to Date: 3 days on trails covering 10.5 miles with 1100 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Here's Rudy

Look who came along this morning for his first ever skijor hookup...
RUDY!!!!!
Jack then Rudy then Zorro running 3x3 in Rudy's first ever hookup! 
It has been cold and snowing on/off all week. Recall that Zorro, Jack and I did our first skijor outing of the 2018/2019 season high up on Boreas Pass on Tuesday. Well, we decided to see if enough snow had collected on the same terrain to hookup little Rudy for his first outing. Success!!!

Rudy is still young and this was his first time. So, we made it as easy as possible. We drove up Boreas and then Nancy took the Jeep back down so we could do almost all downhill for his first run. Also, we kept the outing very short and took 4 breaks to celebrate our fun during the small outing.

After a somewhat shaky start, it all started to click for the young guy and we got into a real groove!
Fun shot of "Jack in powder", "Rudy in packed powder" and "Zorro on packed tracks" as you
see my skis snowplowing in the powder too. Boy do I have long legs all of a sudden :0
We came across one really nice stretch of good conditions. I let everyone know we could "open it up" and Zorro quickly put himself in the middle of the crowd. I was so happy to see veteran Zorro take control of the puppy brigade when the conditions allowed speed!
"Puppy on each shoulder, follow my lead!" declares Zorro.
I had to take the skis off 2 times to walk over bad terrain. Here's one instance where we are paused while I put my skis back on - guess what Jack did at all pauses....
"Ah, rub a dub dub!" demonstrates silly snow angel Jack.
"What are you doing over there silly bro?" asks inquisitive Rudy.
"Children... Look at all this good terrain ahead and we are paused!" declares Zorro.
Back to the Jeep - did everyone have a good time?
"YES!!!! I'm a big boy!" declares supper happy Rudy.
"Love snow, love snow!" declares happy Jack.
"I see potential..." states Zorro.

A great first training run introducing Rudy to skijoring: 1.6 miles traveled with lots of breaks to talk about how much fun we were having!

2018/2019 Season to Date: 2 days on the trails covering 8.8 miles with 1050 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Season Opener

We started our 2018/2019 Skijor Season this morning high up on Boreas Pass!
Wheeee - so fun to be back on snow!!!
Nice shot of the good conditions up high. Jack and I are riding in "side powder" while
Zorro jogs along in the tire track.
As you can see from the prior photo, Boreas Pass is still open to vehicles. But, the road is wide and not many venture up high when it snows. This lead to "perfect October conditions" as I could ride the deep snow on the shoulders while Zorro and/or Jack could dip into the packed tracks if they wanted easy speed.

Jack was VERY excited to be back on snow. So frisky....
"Hehe, love snow! Hey bro, want to play?!?!" says silly Jack to Zorro.
"Kid, I'd flatten you!" declares Zorro.
We had to drive partway up Boreas Pass before the snow was good enough to get on skis. The bonus of driving up meant that we could reach the summit before the day got too warm and the snow started getting sticky. Fun brothers at the summit:
"Love making it to the summit! So happy to have a real skjior partner again!" states happy Zorro.
"I see endless, untouched snow this way!" declares happy Jack.
Come along for a short & fun clip as we cruise along high up on Boreas...
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

I was wondering if Jack would remember "what to do" during a skijor break. Yep...
"You are stopped, I am rolling snow angels!" demonstrates funny Jack.
"Tasty snowcones too!" declares Zorro.
A few notes on this fun season opener.

First, you may be asking "where is little Rudy?" Well, take a close look at the conditions in the photos and video. There was just barely enough snow to skijor. Zorro is an expert and Jack has some good training miles under his belt (in good to bad conditions). Rudy, on the other hand, has not been in a skijor hookup yet. It is not safe (for him or ME) for his first hookup to be on sketchy to bad conditions. Don't worry, though, Rudy will be coming along as soon as the snow permits a newbie.

Second, look at how Jack has grown into a real sled dog over the summer. Today was Jack's longest skijor of his young life: 7.2 miles. I see some real distance potential in young Jack once the snow is good!

A fun day to open the season on October 9th with Zorro & Jack: 7.2 miles traveled with 950 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 15 MPH.

Pray for Snow!