We had a blast skijoring the full range of conditions in French Gulch this morning.
Flying along the trail with just enough powder for me to ride the middle under control. Zoom!
We left young Rudy out of today's skijor so the big boys (Zorro & Jack) could get a long fun run. Success as we skijored 9.3 miles in the full range of possible conditions...
It was fast packed and wide in lower French Gulch. Almost too packed:
Flying in the lower gulch - almost too packed as my ability to stop was sketchy!
It was perfect in the middle of French Gulch as there was middle and side powder for safety control. Come along an watch as I am riding the middle powder behind Zorro & Jack. Zorro takes the fast packed track the whole way and Jack flirts in/out of the side powder. He likes being in shallow powder more than a hard packed trail :)
Young Rudy got exactly what he wanted for his 1 year old birthday this morning:
A fun skijor alongside his big brothers!
"What a great birthday!" says happy little Rudy.
"We know how to throw a 'sled dog birthday bash'!" add fun Zorro & Jack.
Rudy is still too young to come on long "big boy" skijors with Zorro & Jack; but he is old enough for us to start adding new things to his outings. Today's "new" was increased elevation and fewer breaks. So, while the distance (3.7 miles) was in his current training range, the elevation (500 feet ascended and descended) was quite an increase from what he has done to date. With elevation, you often get great views:
Sprinting along Prospect Hill as the ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort come into view
across the valley. Beautiful day!
It was 2 degrees F when we started our outing. I was wondering if this was cold enough for Jack to skip his patented snow angels at our midpoint break. Silly me....
"Ha, I KNEW the goof would roll angels!" says Zorro.
"No kidding and I am the 'puppy'?!?" adds relaxing Rudy.
"So hot, must roll! Hehe!" demonstrates goofy Jack.
Coming to the end of Rudy's birthday bash and it is all smiles from the happy trio of sled dogs:
"Hi Mom! Wheeee!!!!!" say the perfectly synchronized trio.
1 year old Rudy's first skijor with noticeable elevation. We'll add new things as he continues to grow and he'll be up with the big boys in a few more months! 3.7 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.
2018/2019 Season to Date: 26 days on the trails covering 133.9 miles with 12,000 feet of elevation climbed.
I got exactly what I wanted for my birthday this morning - a fast & fun skijor with my three favorite pals! Wheeee!
"Happy birthday!" says happy Zorro.
"Hey, birthday? Ok - happy birthday!" adds cute Rudy.
"Shouldn't you come roll snow angels with me for your birthday?!?" asks Jack :)
The prior photo is exactly what I expected from my pals at our skijor break: total, happy focus from veteran Zorro, goofy snow rolling from silly Jack and a smidget of happy attention from little Rudy.
I have come to learn our best skijor configuration this season. Remember this is our first year as a threesome and Zorro is the stable veteran, Jack is the maturing youngster and Rudy is the youngster in training. Our perfect configuration: Zorro in the middle, Jack to the left, Rudy to the right with my right leg behind Zorro and my left leg behind or outside of Jack...
The perfect configuration for our current level of experience and skill. Beautiful.
Another fun shot of the perfect configuration:
All smiles as Nancy caught a fun "shot from the front" as we end the day's run.
Why the perfect configuration? Well, just come along and see for yourself in an extended video of perfect skijoring. Wheeee and zooooom!
Merry Christmas from me in my Santa Hat and Zorro, Jack & Rudy doing their best reindeer imitation towing me on the trails this morning!
"Merry Christmas!" say the happy trio as we end the morning's fun run.
We decided to skijor Gold Run Nordic Center for a Christmas treat. The trails had been freshly groomed this morning and we were the second tracks on the groomed track. Who was first tracks? A MOOSE!!!!!
Those are two-toed moose tracks to our left going down the groomed trail. Guess the moose
wanted a fast groomed day too!
"Fresh, fresh - let's go!" demonstrates Zorro kicking it up a notch and setting the lead to
go find the moose!
Did we find the moose? No, but we did find EXACTLY where it left the groomed trail to saunter off into the deep snow and trees:
"These tracks are VERY fresh!" declare Jack & Rudy submerging themselves in the moose
"I know, I know... Scanning, scanning - where are you?!?!?!" says intense Zorro.
Outside of the fun moose tracks, we were first tracks on the groomie zoomie most of the day.
Wheeee we go as we have flying Zorro in the middle and hovering Jack & Rudy on
each side of him.
A Christmas treat for all: a rare "from the front" video of the whole team (me included :) Most of our video footage is from the GoPro on my chest to you get the sled dogs from behind. But, every once in a while Nancy is able to capture a fun arrival video of the whole team. Often one (or all) of them slow or veer towards Nancy, but today we get a fun arrival video as we all gallop on by.
Happy boys at one of our "trail junctions" this morning!
"I'm having a blast!" declares ecstatic Zorro.
"Me too! Can we go this way?!?" adds happy Jack.
We took a calculated risk this morning and boy did it pay off. The risk? Well, deciding to try and skijor the French Gulch Trail. Why a risk? Well, some rude people have moved into the gulch the last few years and they PLOW the trail when it snows too much. Ugh! The "calculated risk"? Well, it has been snowing on & off the past few days but never a heavy & deep dump. I figured the gulch should be driven but not plowed. It has to cost these rude people a fortune to plow the entire trail (the county will not do it for them, they are footing the bill themselves). So, with a few days of light fresh snow, why would you waste money on plowing when you can drive it with a capable 4WD vehicle?
What did we find? Success!!!! Just as I hoped, the lower sections of French Gulch had been driven but not plowed. Nothing wrong with that as tire tracks simply make a packed & almost groomed trail for Zorro and Jack. See for yourself below:
"This is a 'groomie zoomie' to me!" says Zorro sprinting in the tire track.
"Middle powder for me!!! Wheeee!' demonstrates fun Jack ignoring the tracks and
having fun running the powder between the tracks.
In fact, the condition of the gulch far exceeded all of our expectations. We got to skijor the full range of conditions. First was the "fast packed" lower terrain you see in the prior photo.
Second was a narrow single track in the mid gulch (once you got past the rude people's cabin):
Running in a set single track barely 2 sled dogs wide. You've gotta like your brother to
run shoulder-to-shoulder this narrow :)
Third was out-skiing all existing tracks and finding ourselves breaking trail in 12+ inches of powder in the upper gulch! Wow!
No humans have made it this far - sled dogs making the trail :)
Fourth was taking a detour off French Gulch to flirt with tourists on the Sally Barber Trail. Young Jack is still learning the "on by" concept with people & dogs; but he is really "getting it":
"Just follow my lead." demonstrates all business Zorro.
"Hi folks! Are you having as much fun as me?!?" asks fun Jack as he trots by.
As usual, all smiles from the tourists seeing the crazy guy getting towed by sled
dogs on skis!
For today's video highlight - back to the "calculated risk success". Come along as we skijor tire tracks and shallow middle & side powder in French Gulch. Wheeee!
I was hoping to get a 10+ mile outing with the big boys. But, we were happily slowed by narrow single tracks and breaking trail in the mid and upper gulch: 9.3 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.
2018/2019 Season to Date: 23 days on the trails covering 122.5 miles with 11,000 feet of elevation climbed.
Flying Sled Dogs on the freshly groomed trail at Gold Run Nordic Center. Wheeee!
Sprinting skijor machines!!!!
We started the day on a narrow trail. Not a problem, it was just wide enough to fit three sled dogs:
Look - we all fit, just barely :)
The plan for the day was to start on the narrow backcountry trail and eventually connect onto the groomed trails at the nordic center. Once we hit the nordic trails we were thrilled to find we were first or second tracks on the newly groomed terrain.
Come along and watch as Zorro, Jack & Rudy are flying along the groomie zoomie. Love the personality contrast near the end of this clip. We encounter a hard left near the end of the clip. Polite Jack hears my skis scrape to handle the turn so he slows down to check that I make it. Meanwhile, "sled dog monsters" Zorro & Rudy simply connect shoulder to shoulder and lean & sprint through the corner. Wheeee!
Skijoring the "Blue River Rec Path" from Breckenridge to Frisco this morning. Fun time!!!
Flying Zorro in the middle with sprinting Rudy & Jack hanging off his left & right sides. Zoom.
The Blue River Rec Path connects Breckenridge to Frisco for bikes in the summer. But, last winter the parks department started grooming the path to connect Breckenridge to Frisco for skis in the winter. The rec path is the PERFECT training ground for young Rudy. It is basically downhill from Breckenridge to Frisco so the rec path is almost exclusively downhill or flat.
Our training pattern with Rudy is the same as we did with Jack at this age: we skijor 30 minutes with a minimum of 2 extended breaks as part of that 30 minutes. The result of this training pattern on the easy rec path: we skijored 4.2 miles with 4 breaks (that's covering 4.2 miles in under 20 minutes). Zoom!
Come along and watch the zoom for yourself in today's short video clip. Wheeee!
Young Jack's first skijor topping 22 MPH. Go Jack Go!
Speed/Distance summary from the GPS on top.
Sprinting Siberians on the bottom. Zoom!
We skijored the upper terrain at Breckenridge Nordic Center this morning. We always get some nice views from these trails:
Snow covered Rocky Mountains to the right. Sprint stretched Zorro & sprint tucked Jack on
the trail with a beautiful groomed track in front of us.
As we were flying around the trails this morning, I noticed Jack really getting into a nice speed form. The key to speed is really stretching long in your strides. Veteran Zorro is perfect at the "speed stride" but young Jack is just starting to learn. I said to myself, "We are going to be well over 20 MPH with the stride Jack is getting!" Well, I was right: 22 MPH! Come along for a short video segment. We surpassed 22 MPH somewhere in this clip. Zoom - go Jack go!
All smiles on today's beautiful "bluebird morning" skijor!
"Fun, fun, fun!" declares happy Zorro coming back to me at one of our short breaks.
"I'm a giddy puppy!!!!!' states ecstatic Rudy.
"I'm smiling, I'm smiling - but I'm rolling snow angels too!" adds silly Jack.
We started the day in shade and trees. Last time Zorro & Jack did this trail with me, we passed a car "dead in the backcountry" that will be there until at least April and maybe May before it can get out. Time to show Rudy the dead vehicle...
"Haha, we are still going!!!" says Rudy as Zorro & Jack show him how sled dogs are the
most reliable form of winter transportation :)
We quickly popped out of the trees and into a gorgeous sunny morning with fresh snow all around us.
All three sled dogs airborne as we sprint along in the fresh snow.
I love today's short video highlight. It is a little longer than our typical clip at 1:15 long; but it is so much fun I had to keep it all. We start gliding along this beautiful morning. Then, partway you get to see some skill from the trio. We are approaching a hard right and all three auto-magically slow down when they feel my tension so that we can safely move the human through the turn - perfect! Then, near the end we get to crossroads - the trail goes left but I only need to utter a single "forward" for everyone to abandon trail and continue forward into the fresh powder - perfect again! I'd say my trio really gets it!!!
Great shot of the trio: sprinting Zorro, airborne Rudy and flying Jack. Zoom.
Since young Rudy was with, lots of breaks. Since Jack was with, lots of snow angels. Since we were at Rabbit Ears, lots of visits to the official "Rabbit Ears Pass Marker":
"Stopped again? Hmmmm." says all-business Zorro.
"Stopped = rolling!" demonstrates silly Jack.
"I'm having a blast, can we keep going?" asks happy Rudy.
Upper right of this photo is the official Rabbit Ears Pass Marker.
Back to the excitement of the day - being first on the newly groomed trail:
Beautiful, just beautiful (the trail and the sled dogs :)
Here we go - topping 20 MPH skijoring a fast & fun trail. Zoom, zoom, zoom....
Sled Dogs: The most reliable form of winter transportation!
Great views of the ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort across the valley from us.
Great views of the pretty sled dogs in front of me.
Ok, that was a pretty shot to open this blog entry. Now back to the theme of the day: reliable.
Some think that 4WD SUVs are the most reliable form of winter transportation. Hmmm...
Dead SUV, running sled dogs...
What is really funny about the previous photo is that the forest service has built a 3 foot snow berm at the trailhead so that SUVs do not try to access the backcountry during winter. This berm will continue to grow as it snows. This car above must have broken down before the berm was built and it is now stuck in the backcountry until Spring. Dead SUV, running sled dogs...
Some think that snowmobiles are the most reliable form of winter transportation. Hmmm...
Dead snowmobile, running sled dogs...
You can tell by the dusting of snow on the snowmobile that it has been dead right here for at least a day or two. Plus, we did not encounter any people on the trail to attach to this vehicle. Dead snowmobile, running sled dogs...
Some think the most reliable form of winter transportation is the Sled Dog. Bingo - correct! Come along as the sled dogs are running while the SUVs and snowmobiles are dead :)