Monday, February 26, 2018

Runaway Truck Ramp

Laying fresh tracks as we zoooom around a corner on the trails yesterday morning!
Zorro laying freshies in 1-2 inches of fresh powder atop the fast trails at
Breckenridge Nordic Center. Zoom!
If you are from Colorado (or other mountainous areas) then you probably know what a "runaway truck ramp" is. For those who do not... Well, highways that have long stretches of steep downhill grade always contain runaway truck ramps. These are side roads cut from the main highway that are either flat or uphill in grade and filled with sand. Typically they are placed on curves of the steep downhill so that a runaway truck (a truck who has lost its brakes) can exit the highway curve by going straight into the runaway truck ramp. The sand plus flat/uphill grade work to bring the runaway truck to a stop.

Back to yesterday morning's skijor. Zorro and I have a runaway truck ramp (or a runaway skijor ramp :) we love to use on the fast trails of Breckenridge Nordic Center. The nordic center has one long stretch of fast and mostly downhill trail; but this stretch ends at a hard 90 degree left turn. Now, consider that cross country skis are not designed for making 90 degree turns and they certainly cannot take such a turn when skijoring 20+ MPH. So, Zorro and I love to approach this hard left like a runaway truck and fly off the trail into deep powder to stop us (e.g., the "runaway skijor ramp") before backing up and turning left to continue.

Come along and watch as today's video has us finishing the skijor along this fast section of trail until we come upon the 90 degree turn and use the straightaway (off trail) deep powder to stop us. Just like a runaway truck :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

More fun shots from the day's fast skijor. Wouldn't this be fun:
Dancing elks ahead?!?! We wish. But I always get a chuckle when we fly by this sign
stating we have been on the "Elk Dance" nordic trail.
Nearing the end of the day's run and hooking up little Jack for his 50 yard dash:
All smiles, all fun! Wheeee!
And, finally, fun day, right Zorro?
"Oh yes! Fun indeed! I love being a runaway truck!" says happy, happy Zorro.
Fun day laying fresh tracks in 1-2 inches of new snow on the fast trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center: 9.2 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 37 days on the trails covering 272.5 miles with 24,300 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Single Track

Cruising behind Zorro on the Mountain Pride Mine single track skijor trail. Wheeee!
Zoom, zoom, zoom we go...
Single track trails are always fun and challenging to skijor with Zorro. By "single track" I refer to a trail where the set track is only 2 skis (or 2 snowshoes) wide with powder outside of the track on both sides. As a result, the "set trail" is only 1 person wide (aka "single track"). All is fine if you are a solo human and riding in the single track. But, I have the additional engine named Zorro who wants to propel me along the single track much faster than a human was meant to go. How to proceed? Well, I ride with one ski in-track and one ski out-of-track. The in-track ski is the accelerator - shift my weight to this ski and we speed up. The out-of-track ski is the decelerator - shift my weight to this ski to add friction to reduce speeds. Note in the photo above that my left ski is in-track while my right ski is in powder out-of-track.

With that background... On to today's video highlight. Come along as Zorro tows me along the fun single track. If you watch closely you can see me alternating skis in versus out of track as we weave through forest. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Zorro is always fascinated by old, abandoned mining cabins we encounter in the forest. They always grab his attention and we joke that he is our realtor looking for a backcountry hut for us to move into. Well, Nancy jokes that she has 4 rules for Zorro's realty hunt and this hut below seems to satisfy them all. (1) Roof - check! (2) Walls - check! (3) Running water - look at all the snow to melt and it will run when melted! (4) Heat - look at all the free firewood around the cabin!!!
"Meets all the requirements, let's move here for 'skijoring out the front door!" declares realtor
Zorro as he gives the property an approving glance as we trot by.
Done with the backcountry single tracks around Mountain Pride Mine and we connected onto the wide and popular Baldy Mountain Trail. Time to really uncork the skijoring engine:
Done with the day's outing as we come back to the trailhead to hook up little Jack for a short sprint to end the day:
All smiles, all speed, all fun!
Skijor outing complete and time for the 'end-of-run pork treats' for the hard working sled dogs. Take a look at the role reversal in the following photo. Zorro, the usually composed adult, getting a little pushy while Jack, the wild puppy, is the composed & patient one! Haha, that was funny to write :)
"Get with it! I've been working hard!" declares pushy Zorro.
"Have you ever seen such patience & composure? I deserve extra!" declares puppy Jack.

Nice day cruising the backcountry around Mountain Pride Mine on Baldy Mountain: 6.1 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 36 days on the trails covering 263.3 miles with 23,500 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, February 17, 2018


Flirting as we run by a paused dog sled team on the trails this morning. "Hi Friends!" says Zorro.
"Look at me, wheeee!" says flirtatious Zorro to the paused team as we pass on by.
Passing and being passed by the dog sled teams from Good Times Adventures on the trails at Swan Valley is one of Zorro's favorite skijoring activities. Typically all the "on by" encounters go perfectly by both us and the dog teams ("on by" is the dog sled term for ignoring & passing other teams). Yet, every once in a rare while, things do not go as planned. Today a team was coming up the trail so Zorro and I pulled to the right to pause and let them pass. But, the team forgot its manners and swerved left to meet & greet with Zorro instead. Oops!!! :)
"Hi fun looking guy! Can we come play with you?!?" say the 2 team lead dogs who have
ignored their "on by" command and decided to get close & flirty with Zorro :)
Close encounter with the flirting team over and back to real action as Zorro hops off trail to pause and watch another team go down a parallel trail:
"Wheeee! Wait for meeeee!" says Zorro :)
Today's video highlight: doing our favorite skijor activity at Swan Valley. Come along and watch as we run & search for dog sled teams then find a team to "flirt on by". Listen closely as we pass the paused team and you can hear all the sled dogs on the team wooing out, "Hey, let us come with you!!!" to Zorro as we go by :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

End of the day and we've reconnected with little Jack to celebrate the morning's fun run:
"Smack! I had fun watching you, Zorro and the dog teams run!!!" says affectionate Jack.
"Let's get to the 'end of run' treats!" declares Zorro in the background :)

A flirtatious day skijoring around Swan Valley: 8.1 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 35 days on the trails covering 257.2 miles with 22,700 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, February 15, 2018


Zorro had a blast sprinting and towing me around the fast trails yesterday morning!
"Yes indeed! I am having FUN!!!!" exclaims happy Zorro during a short pause on the trails.
We started on fast & narrow trails sprinting for a couple of miles...
Zooming behind sprinting Zorro on this fun & narrow trail with a high snow wall to
our left and great views in front of us.
After sprinting the narrow trails, we transitioned onto the wide and freshly groomed trails of Gold Run Nordic Center. We were thrilled to be first or second tracks on the fresh groomie zoomies for the entire outing. Zorro was FLYING!!!
See - Zorro was FLYING!!!! :)
Today's video highlight showcases fast Zorro on the groomie zoomie as we top 24 MPH somewhere along this stretch. Watch closely at about 22 seconds into the video. There is a slight dip in the trail which caused me to dip and "catch air" since we are going so fast. You'll then hear me utter a "Woo!" of relief after coming back under control as I am happy to still be upright. The "dip and catch air" is very subtle looking in the video; but, oh boy, did it feel wild in real life!!!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Done sprinting with Zorro and we hooked up little Jack for a short wind sprint to end the day. Jack got the most out of his wind sprint and needed to cool off rolling snow angels :)
"Oh boy, must roll and cool my jets!" declares silly puppy Jack.
"Me too, must eat snow to cool my 24 MPH jets!" says snowcone eating Zorro.

A ridiculously fast & fun day on newly groomed trails: 7.8 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 34 days on the trails covering 249.1 miles with 22,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Steep and Deep

Entertaining the curious onlookers as we fly by skijoring Baldy Mountain this morning :)
Entertaining the crowds who always pause to watch & smile at fun Zorro launching
me along the trails. Wheeee!
Baldy Mountain is an interesting mix of two types of terrain. The bottom half takes you through heavily wooded forests and everyone shares the same main trail to go up & down. The upper half, though, starts just below treeline (with thinning trees) and continues up above treeline. Without a dense forest, you can pretty much pick your own path to go up & down the steep terrain.

Zorro and I chose to break trail, reuse our own trail and reuse a snowboard trail as we had a blast at and above treeline in the morning's fresh & deep snow.

Making our own path as we break trail high up on Baldy:
Getting an aerobic trail breaking workout with super Zorro!
Going up for a ways and then turning around to reuse the track we just set to sprint down:
Out-stretched Zorro taking advantage of our the track we set up to sprint down.
Coming across a recent snowboard track, so we hopped in this to take a rest from breaking trail while still sprinting along.
Following the snowboard curve down Baldy for a bit. Fun!
Once you get back into the thick trees, you are on the main trail shared by everyone. This trail gets packed quickly and becomes a fun fast track. Come along and watch and watch as Zorro and I open up the skijor throttle on the fast packed lower terrain and fly by curious (and entertained) onlookers watching the impressive Siberian Husky towing the crazy human along the trail :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Almost done with the morning's run, so we hook up little Jack for a short sprint to the finish.
All smiles as the happy brothers join to finish the morning's run!
A steep day with lots of powder fun at/above treeline and lots of fast fun below treeline: 6.2 miles traveled with 1300 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 33 days on the trails covering 241.3 miles with 21,600 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, February 8, 2018


Rolling Snow Angels was the "comedy of the day" on yesterday's skijor outing :)
Silly Zorro rolling to cool off as he also has his head and face doused in fresh powder :)
Notice the ski tracks through deep snow to our left - this is the trail Zorro carved for
me to follow deep in French Gulch. No wonder he needed to cool off!
It was a risk/reward day on the trails yesterday morning...

The risk? Well, lower French Gulch has suddenly become over-plowed this season. We had 15 inches of fresh snow the last 48 hours yet the lower trail had only a thin 1/4 to 1/2 inch of snow over frozen dirt. Argh - hate the city folks who have decided to destroy French Gulch this year!
Yikes, this is "risky skijoring" as my skis could catch a rock or dirt patch any second!
Why endure the risk? Well, the reward is the beauty of upper French Gulch and its miles of deep snow and scenic terrain.
Such a beautiful shot of Zorro towing me along the single track trail while a glorious
bluebird morning develops around us!
In addition to the great snow in upper French Gulch, the other reward is getting onto some of the deep snow side trails from the risky lower trail.

Come along and watch as Zorro and I skijor the narrow single track trail of Little French Gulch. Backcountry skijoring at its best! I love the end of the video as we approach the drop from the backcountry onto the lower main trail. Zorro automagically slows to a slow trot/walk as we approach the dropoff (without a word needed from me). He keeps the slow pace until he hears my soft "OK" letting him know it is ok to take the drop and restart preferred speeds. You have to have your volume up real high to have any chance of hearing my soft "OK" - but this was all Zorro needed. He knows unsafe trail conditions and will slow (without command) until hearing my release. Such a good skijor partner!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Rounding out the day as we picked up little Jack for a short wind sprint to finish the outing. Jack says, "Whew - what a wind sprint! I hear rolling snow angels to cool off is the theme of the day!"
"Chomp, chomp - eating snowcones is in order too!" says Zorro as you can just make out a
mouthful of snow he is chomping down on.
"Rub a dub dub, aaahhhh!" says silly puppy Jack.

Risky skijoring down low; but worth it to get to the incredible terrain up high and off to the sides: 7.3 miles traveled with 850 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 32 days on the trails covering 235.1 miles with 20,300 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, February 4, 2018


Another fun morning flirting with the dog sled teams from Good Times Adventures on the trails.
"Hi friends!!!!" says Zorro to the two wheel dogs of this paused team we skijored on by.
The dog sled teams love flirting with Zorro as much as he loves flirting with them. Notice the guy in second position (just behind the lead dogs) who is wooing (howling with his nose to the sky) as we pass on by :)
"And a WOO to you too!" is what Zorro is flashing back with his smile.
Even from a side trail, Zorro will toss happy glances to his pals as we wait for them to pass to we can start a chase.
"Hi again! I'll be right behind you!" declares Zorro watching and preparing to GO!
On to the day's video - "flirting" of course! Come along as Zorro and I are sprinting along the trails until we come upon a paused dog sled team. We then slow to a gentle jog to pass by safely (and exchange pleasantries) before restarting again. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Finally, back to the trailhead to meet up with little Jack and watch another dog team go by.
"I want to be a 'big boy' and go too!!!" says jealous little Jack.
"Soon kid, soon; and I could sure use your pulling help!" states Zorro.

A morning of "sled dog flirting": 8.4 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2017/2018 Season to Date: 31 days on the trails covering 227.8 miles with 19,450 feet of elevation climbed