The sled dogs are sprinting while I'm still putting my poles in place.
Who needs ski poles when you have sled dogs? :)
Clearly I do not really need poles :)
Now for the video counterpart to "who needs poles". We are at our turnaround point on the trail and I am in the process of turning the skis around. My pals are REALLY ready to go, so as soon as my skis are lined out I mutter a very soft "ok" (need your volume up to even hear it). But, my pals hear it and BOOM - off we go. Meanwhile I don't even have my ski poles on properly. It takes me the first 10ish seconds of the video to align my equipment even though we are flying along the trail behind the fast sled dogs. Once finally aligned and it is a beautiful run on the groomed nordic trails. Clearly I do not really need ski poles :)
You might be thinking all of our "midpoint break" photos look the same. Hmmm, me too, but still love the antics for all:
"As usual, you have my full attention!" states happy Zorro.
"As usual, we stopped, I roll snow angels!" demonstrates comical Jack.
"As usual, we stop and I am in la-la land!" adds goofy Rudy.
To be fair, I do get Jack & Rudy's attention eventually....
"See, I can focus on the musher! You have my full attention!" states happy Jack.
"I'm paying attention too! I really can focus!" adds happy Rudy who is in Jack's snow angel
hole checking out Jack's work :)
A little backcountry and then a lot of nordic center flying: 4.8 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.
2018/2019 Season to Date: 42 days on the trails covering 224.9 miles with 20,000 feet of elevation climbed.
First tracks all morning long in French Gulch! Sweet!
Laying fresh tracks in 2-3 inches of fresh snow as we run out the French Gulch Trail.
The conditions were beautiful in French Gulch this morning. New snow and not another soul had been out on the trail yet! As this trail is very wide, we had fun being first tracks both out & back in the gulch. No need to reuse the tracks you set on the way out when the trail is wide enough to lay fresh tracks both ways!
Our "out tracks" to the left as we move to the right for freshies on the way back.
If the snow was deep, Zorro, Jack & Rudy would reuse the track we set on the way out; but
with shallow new snow it is more fun to be first tracks both ways!
Now, on to the comical points of the morning's outing. If you recall, the last two times we have skijored as a trio, I have used the word "polite" to describe both youngsters Jack & Rudy. Well, polite only lasts so long... :)
We are at our turnaround point of the outing and, well, it takes a while to turn a set of skis around. My pals don't care, though. If your volume is up high enough you can hear both Jack & Rudy complaining and protesting about how slow I am in turning around. Then, once my skis are lined out the correct direction, the three simply TAKE OFF. They are supposed to wait for my verbal release, not just take off when they see it is possible. So much for that trend of politeness we had going. Sled dog monsters! :) It's also fun to watch how this video unfolds. Jack starts far right to enjoy the freshies while Zorro & Rudy begin in the track we set on the way out. Zorro quickly notices it is not deep and Jack is enjoying fresh tracks so he slides over with him. Eventually Rudy notices the same thing and he abandons our set track to move over to the fresh snow with his bros and off we go (the rest of the day all 3 stayed in the freshies).
Second comical point of the outing. At our turnaround point and Rudy notices there is a narrow single track going off from the main trail and wants to go that way. Jack is oblivious to this single track as he ALWAYS rolls snow angels at any stop. Zorro notices Rudy has discovered a new trail and wants to inspect too.
"Hey, we can continue this way! Can we, can we?" asks trail inspecting Rudy.
"Hey kid, what did you find up there? It that a set trail?" says Zorro coming to join Rudy.
"Huh? What trail? We stop, I roll!" adds goofy Jack.
End of the day's run and look who rediscovered their politeness, nice!
"End of run treats! Yum!" says Zorro taking a piece of pork from my hand.
"Look how polite & patient we are waiting our turn!" state Jack & Rudy!
First tracks all day in French Gulch and the end of Jack & Rudy's run of politeness on the trail :) 4.2 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.
2018/2019 Season to Date: 41 days on the trails covering 220.1 miles with 19,600 feet of elevation climbed.
Another fun day running the trails along with the dog sled teams from Good Times Adventures!
"Love getting out with all my distant cousins!" says happy Zorro.
"Yes, these trails are FUN!" adds happy Jack.
We had quite a few fun encounters with the dog sled teams today. Come along for the ride...
We all paused to let a team cross the trail in front of us:
"Hi friends! Can we come?" ask happy Jack & Zorro.
You can see the sled and 6 of the 8 dogs on the team in front of us (the tree is blocking
2 of them)
We once again executed a perfect "on by" when encountering a team stopped on the trail. Young Jack is now 3 for 3 in executing textbook "on by's" - such a good boy and such good leadership from Zorro.
Today's video clip shows the perfect "on by". Come along as in the beginning of the video you can see a team drop from a side trail to our left onto the main trail we are running. Next we come around a corner and find the team paused and I get my pals under control for a perfect "on by". Then, just as we get ahead of the stopped team they all "object" - if your volume is up you can hear the protests from the stopped dogs as we go by :) Zorro simply gives a passing glance back to all the chatter and then continues on. Jack gets a little distracted by all this loud chatter and glances back and takes a moment to compose himself before connecting back up with Zorro to keep on going. Pretty good composure around such a loud crowd :)
We were on a collision course from a side trail to a team on the main trail, so I stopped us to let them go by:
"Let's go!" says bucking Zorro.
"Yes, come on!" adds intense Jack.
My skis were sideways and using all my strength to stay stopped!
And, finally, playing chase on the trails behind a running team:
Look straight in front of Jack and you see a tree in the distance. The black dot to the left of
the tree is a musher with an 8 dog team. We all could see the musher & team even though
this photo doesn't. Flying along as we play chase!
Fun on the trails with another perfect "on by" from Jack with just a momentary distraction from the loud crowd we passed: 9.4 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.
2018/2019 Season to Date: 40 days on the trails covering 215.9 miles with 19,200 feet of elevation climbed.
Laying fresh tracks in 4+ inches of new snow far back in French Gulch - wheeee!
Laying freshies far back in the gulch! Fun, fun fun!
The majority of our outing in French Gulch found us skijoring amongst 2 set tracks with powder in between (and 1/4 to 1/2 inch of new snow in the set tracks). Zorro took one set track - he's 10 years old and has earned the right to take any easy path he wants. Rudy took the other set track - he's still young so we want him in easy tracks too. Jack, who is just entering the prime of his life, took the middle powder and had a blast running in 2+ inches of fresh snow between his brothers.
Set tracks for Zorro & Rudy - middle powder for Jack. Perfect!
Eventually everyone decided they wanted to be closer together to get some real speed (they run faster when closer together). So, we entered a new configuration... Zorro still in the set track while Jack takes the outside shoulder with the deepest snow and Rudy takes the middle with the shallower snow. Another perfect configuration: hardest for Jack, easy for Zorro and mild for Rudy.
Zorro gets the easy, Jack gets the hardest and Rudy gets the mild middle.
Here we go with the video counterpart of the prior photo. Come along as polite Jack and Rudy let Zorro have the single track while they take the shoulders of the track. So polite!!!!
Powering through the occasional snow blown drifts on the trail this morning.
Drift POW :)
Look at young Rudy powering through the snow drift. POW!!!
This morning's outing had us starting off the beaten path to enjoy the new snow on the trail. We were delighted to find ourselves laying fresh tracks in 3-5 inches of snow on this trail and also encountering the occasional 6+ inch wind blown snow drift to power through.
Come along for the fun laying fresh tracks and hopping through some wind blown deep patches along the way...
We skijor this "off the beaten track" trail with the intent of eventually connecting onto the groomed trail of Gold Run Nordic Center. We had an interesting discovery today as the regular groomer had not been on the trails yet but the mini groomer had. The mini groomer is a snowmobile pulling a groomer sled as wide as the snowmobile. The mini groomer is used for side trails at the nordic center but it has to run on the wide, main trails to get to the various side trails. The result? We found ourselves on the wide, main trail with only a skinny mini groom track. Jack & Rudy were very polite as they gave Zorro the mini groom while the two of them ran in the "yet to be groomed" part of the trail all day. At 10 years old, Zorro has earned the right to have the groom while the youngsters get the shallow powder. Did I really just say "polite Rudy"? Never thought I'd say that :)
Zorro flying along the mini groom while polite Jack & Rudy takes the shallow powder parts
of the trail. So nice to their big brother!
Fun point of the outing... We were flying along when Zorro did his "I smell moose" glance to his left. I know this look from him and was immediately scanning around us for moose.
"Stinky moose to the left! I smell them!!!!" declares Zorro without breaking stride.
The youngsters are not professional moose detectors yet :)
10 or so yards later and there were moose tracks crossing the trail. Notice the moose tracks starting on the right, crossing the trail and going off to the left:
"Fresh, very fresh!" declares track inspecting Zorro.
"I think I smell them too!" adds glancing Jack.
"I'm still going, I don't smell anything!" states oblivious Rudy :)
Despite a lot of "moose intensity" from Zorro and encountering 3 sets of tracks crossing the trail, we never spotted any of the elusive moose. Why stink up the forest if you are going to hide?!?!?
Fresh tracks, drift pows and then a fast mini groom for Zorro with shallow fresh snow for Jack & Rudy: 4.5 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH (I sense 23-24 MPH coming very soon)!
2018/2019 Season to Date: 38 days on the trails covering 202.1 miles with 17,900 feet of elevation climbed.
It was a FAST day on the trails in French Gulch this morning. Zoom!
Flying Jack on the right with airborne Zorro & Rudy to his left.
Pretty shot of some fast & fun sled dogs!
Today's trail conditions: a hard packed base with 1/2 to 1 inch of snow on top. That makes for a fast trail with just enough powder on top that I was comfortable uncorking the skijoring engine. The result? A top speed of 22 MPH this morning - that matches the fastest we've done as a skijor trio. Of course, as Jack & Rudy continue to grow and mature, we'll be in the 24+ MPH range soon enough!
Love this shot of "Flying Zorro" with his young brothers working to keep pace on each side of him:
Flying Z - Wheeee!
Today's fun video highlight: polite Jack. Watch as we are flying along the fast trail with Jack on the right shoulder. At one point the shoulder gets a little choppy so that it is too hard for him to keep pace with Zorro & Rudy on smooth terrain. Jack has two options: (1) try and push his brothers left to get out of the choppiness; or (2) back off, slide a bit left to get out of the choppiness and then launch right to rejoin everyone once the trail smooths out. I knew Jack would opt for the more polite option #2. If it was Rudy, I guarantee he would have done option #1 with much force :)
Another perfect "on by" from Zorro & young Jack upon encountering a dog sled team on the trail this morning. Nice job!
You can see 3 of the 8 dogs from the paused team looking back at us as Zorro & young Jack
execute a textbook "on by". Perfect!
If you recall from a couple of weeks ago, Jack got the opportunity for his first "on by" and was perfect. In that pass, though, I shortened the gangline "just in case" as it was Jack's first attempt at an "on by". Well, since Jack was perfect with the shortened gangline, today I left it full length and, once again, we executed a perfect "on by" when we encountered a team paused on the trail. Zorro, of course, is also providing excellent leadership for Jack; but it is still impressive how good he is at going on by this early in his skijoring career!
Come along for the video counterpart of our perfect "on by". You'll note that I am poling as we approach the paused team. This is to keep a good speed and make sure everyone maintains focus on executing a perfect "on by".
Along with passing teams on the trail, it is also so much fun to just get a glimpse of teams on nearby trails:
Zorro & Jack hopped off the set trail and into the deep snow to flirt with the team on the
nearby trail. Follow their ears and look really close and you can make out 6 sled dogs
paused on the trail next to us.
The most fun, though, is dropping behind a team running the trails and getting in a good game of "sled dog chase" :)
Zorro & Jack flying along playing chase with the 8 dog team in front of us.
You can make out the musher in the bright coat down the center of this photo even
though it is hard to see the dog team. Zooming fun!
Chasing, passing and flirting with the dog sled teams on the trails from Good Times Adventures, a good time had by all:
"Yes, I love these trails!" states happy Zorro.
"So much fun! So much fun!" adds happy Jack.
And, no, we did not obey the 'SLOW' sign in front of us once we started going again :)
So proud of Jack (and Zorro's leadership) executing perfect "on by's" so early in his skijor career: 9.2 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.
2018/2019 Season to Date: 36 days on the trails covering 193.0 miles with 17,100 feet of elevation climbed.
Laying fresh tracks amidst active snowfall all morning long. Fun!
Laying freshies in 3-5 inches of new snow.
Active snowfall all around us! Note all the white "snowflake dots" you can see against Zorro and
Jack's black fur. You can also see some "snow dots" agains the green of the trees.
Today had a lot of fun "first time milestones" for young Jack and Rudy. Let's see if I can name them all... (1) First skijor laying fresh tracks in 3+ inches of new snow for the ENTIRE outing! (2) First skijor amidst heavy active snowfall. (3) First skijor where most of the GoPro footage was blurred by snow spots on the camera. (4) First time (for Jack) discovering how deep the snow is "out of track" and realizing you need to stay in track to keep pace with everyone :)
Come along for one of the few extended stretches where the GoPro was clear of snow spots. Love watching these three laying fresh tracks in the snow. Love the active snowfall you see all around us. Funny moment near the end of this clip as Jack wants to try running in the deep shoulder snow but immediately realizes he cannot keep up out there and he hops back in the shallow trail and rejoins his brothers. If you can take your eyes of the fun sled dogs, it is cool to watch my left ski gliding in the deep side powder (I have my right leg 'in track' for speed and my left leg 'out of track' for control).
One more fun shot after I had wiped the camera clear of snow spots:
Out-stretched sprinting trio laying freshies all day long!
Happily, most of the day's footage was blurred by snow on the camera. That's a good thing, right guys?
"Love blurry footage!" declares happy Zorro.
"This was FUN!" adds happy Jack (yes, that is a 'snow angel' print behind/left of Jack :)
"Break over, I'm rested & ready for more!" states all-business Rudy.
Note the 'snow blur' covering more of the camera, note the snowflake spots you can
see against both the black and red fur!
A fun day of "fresh tracks" and "let it snow": 4.4 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.
2018/2019 Season to Date: 35 days on the trails covering 183.8 miles with 16,200 feet of elevation climbed.
Young Rudy's first skijor on the uppermost terrain at Gold Run Nordic Center.
The "upper groomie zoomie" :)
Flying along the winter wonderland of the upper groomie zoomie.
We've been waiting for Rudy to grow enough to take him to the uppermost terrain at Gold Run. Today was the day he got to experience this beautiful section of trail. It is tucked away deep in the forest and you find yourself peacefully gliding through dense snow covered trees. Such fun!
Here we go... Come along for part of the peaceful glide on the upper groomie zoomie:
Of course, once done with the thick trees of the upper terrain, it is time to drop out of the thick forest and into the morning's bright sun:
Sprint tucked Zorro & Jack with Rudy the flying reindeer to the right. Wheeee!
One quick break during the outing and the usual antics:
"Hi! You have my attention!" says veteran Zorro who almost always acknowledges the musher.
"Yum, has anyone tasted the snowcones over here? Delicious!" declare snow eating Jack.
"I'm still unsure why we EVER stop!" adds silly Rudy (we stop for him :)
Another successful skijor, another 'end of run treats' party:
"You STILL have my attention!" says focused Zorro.
"My turn! Yum again!" adds Jack.
"Look at my patience! So mature!" adds young Rudy.
Rudy's first fun run on the upper groomie zoomie: 3.9 miles traveled with 300 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.
2018/2019 Season to Date: 34 days on the trails covering 179.4 miles with 15,800 feet of elevation climbed.
Look at what pure evil we encountered on the trail this morning!
Yes, that is a PLOW in front of us destroying the French Gulch Trail!
As I have mentioned in the past, there are a handful of private cabins in French Gulch and the owners have access to open the "winter gate" that keeps all other vehicles out of the gulch. Unfortunately in the past few years a couple of the owners have been contracting a plow to occasionally blow away all the snow from this otherwise perfect backcountry trail!
As we arrived at the trailhead this morning, this plow passed us in the parking lot and started plowing the gulch. Ugh! It is actually okay the moments after the plowing (there is still enough snow to skijor); but the long term impact is that the trail will be dead and down to dirt & mud after one warm day.
The other problem with today's damn plow? It is slow (to a sled dog, that is). We let the plow get out of sight from us before starting on the trail and, then, within 1-3 weaves up the trail we would catch it again. This happened 5 times! Yes, we had stop 5 times and wait for the damn slow plow to get out of sight before restarting and catching it again. At one point we flew past a cross country skier on the trail and then had to stop again for the plow. While stopped, the skier came up to me and said, "I cannot believe you are faster than the plow! You guys are flying!" I then proceeded to tell her that this was already our third time stopping to let the plow get ahead of us (not knowing we still had 2 more stops to come). Everyone's reaction to our 3rd stop and my conversation with the other skier:
"Tell me about it! Can you BELIEVE we are stopped AGAIN!" says distressed Rudy.
"Yes we are pretty fast aren't we!" adds flirting Zorro.
"I say we just turn around and go fast the other way!" says happy Jack.
The only positive thing you can say about the plow is that it made for a fun fast track for today's run. How fast? Well, today's was young Rudy's top speed of his young life: 22 MPH!
Flying along the fast packed plow track. But look at how HIGH the snow wall is to Rudy's
right. This is how much snowpack SHOULD be in the gulch this time of year if the evil plows
didn't keep removing it! Ugh!
Just how fast? Well, come along for Rudy's first 22 MPH skijor. Zoom!
The skijoring trio catching air as we skijor the fast trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center!
Hover huskies floating above the trail :)
We had 2 firsts today for young Rudy. First, it was his first time on the trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center. Second, it was his first time skijoring two days in a row! We are still keeping his outings short & easy; but 2 days in a row is a nice milestone.
How did it go? Well, just watch this 30 second glimpse from the day's outing. It looked like this pretty much all day. Fast & fun! Wheeee!