Saturday, November 30, 2019


Rudy could taste the 'end of run' treats before I started handing them out!
"Slurp, I can taste them with anticipation!" declares slurping Rudy :)
"You have our FULL attention!" adds Zorro & Jack.
This morning we did a "split skijor" where I went out with young Jack & Rudy first before joining with Zorro to end the day's run. The plan was to do the Sally Barber Mine Trail with the kids and then join with Zorro to go out & back in French Gulch.

You can view Sally Barber as having 2 sides. There is the lesser used west side that does not get much traffic and there is the well publicized east side that gets lots and LOTS of use from both locals and tourists.  To get the most out of our initial run with the kids we went up, down and then back up the lesser used west side before coming down the east side to meet with Zorro. We found 2-4 inches of new snow on the trail so were laying fresh tracks up the west side and then reusing our tracks down and back up - fun!
Reusing the track we set on the way up to open up the throttle on the way down - zoom!
After going up/down/up the west side, we were stunned with what we found on the popular east side: another 2-4 inches of fresh and untouched snow!!!! It is RARE to ever be first tracks on the popular side of Sally Barber. I swear people usually get up at dawn (or before) to be first tracks. It helped that the temperature this morning was around 10 degrees F with a strong wind bringing the wind chill well below zero. But, still, fresh tracks on the Sally Barber east face is extremely rare!
Whee - a rare treat laying fresh tracks on the popular side of Sally Barber.
The previous picture does not do complete justice to our "fresh tracks" run, so how about a video. Come along as we lean to the left, then lean to the right before taking off along an open straightaway while laying fresh tracks all the way - yay!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Done with Sally Barber and we hooked up with Zorro to lay fresh tracks out French Gulch before returning back to the trailhead. I guess the subzero wind chill kept everyone except the Siberian Huskies (and their crazy human) off the trails this morning :)
Flying Z in the middle with sprinting Jack and Rudy on each side of him.
Today's comical interlude. We were gliding along the trail when suddenly Jack & Rudy did a synchronized "rodent dive" off trail and into the deep snow. I don't know what they smelled or heard, but it was tempting enough to launch off trail and into the deep snow!
Nice "rodent swan dive" from Rudy.
Nice "rodent cannonball dive" from Jack.
The result of synchronized swan & cannonball dives off trail? DUNK - buried in snow searching for rodents. Luckily neither came up with anything in their mouth :)
"DUNK - we smell and hear rodents under the snow!" says the head dunked hunting pair.
The rarest of treats - laying fresh tracks on BOTH sides of Sally Barber Mine with the kids and then laying more fresh tracks as we added Zorro in French Gulch: 8.1 miles traveled with 750 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 28 days on the trails covering 182.3 miles with 18,650 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Lane Change

Synchronized hover huskies - wheeee!
Nice shot of the trio in a synchronized sprint tuck as we fly along the fast trails this morning.
We did an "out & back" on the highest elevation trails of Breckenridge Nordic Center this morning. The conditions were fast packed and perfect. It was almost "too packed" at the trailhead, but the further we went the less used and better the conditions became. At the highest elevations we were probably the 4th or 5th tracks on the trail - just perfect!
Love this shot of out-stretched Zorro & Rudy with hovering Jack to the right. Notice
all the "powder puffs" behind their feet as the trail had seen very little use this
far out and up in distance and elevation.
Today's video fun showcases a high speed, high precision lane change from Zorro. Come along and note about 27 seconds into the clip and the right side of the trail has some exposed ground. Zorro clearly does not like the conditions of the right side of the trail. So, he simply backs off, gives a glance to the left to check for clearance and then launches himself over to the left side of the team. Then, once repositioned, off we go again - ZOOM! Nice lane change Zorro!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

At our turnaround point of the morning and guess what happened?
"You expected something different?!?" asks Zorro.
"Turnaround is also roll around!' demonstrates the goofy kids.
Another quick pause on the trail to rest my legs from flying on the fast packed trail. Let me catch my breath, everyone having a good time?
"YES!!!!!" declares happy Zorro & Jack.
"I WAS until you stopped!!!!" states all business Rudy :)
It is Thanksgiving, so we are very thankful for great trail conditions to skijor but we are also very thankful for 'end of run' pork treats!
"You have our FULL attention - dish them out!" says the happy & focused trio.
A fast & fun morning on the upper nordic trails: 7.8 miles traveled with 850 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 27 days on the trails covering 174.2 miles with 17,900 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019


Another fun "shot from the front" as the happy sled dogs tow me to the finish of another fun run!
Happy, happy boys! And happy human to be towed instead of having to propel
himself on the trails :)
This morning was a day of views, views and more views. We climbed the relatively steep Prospect Hill Trail laying fresh tracks in increasingly deep snow the entire way up. After skijoring a bit on the backside of Prospect Hill, we turned around to ride in or next to the tracks we set on the way up and take in the great views of Breckenridge Ski Resort across the valley from us.

Here we go with view number 1 as we round a corner near the top of Prospect Hill. We are just at or above treeline at this point so the trail was windblown with occasional deep stretches and occasional windswept shallow stretches.
Jack laying fresh tracks in 5 inches to the right with Rudy in only 2ish inches to the left.
What a difference in "wind blown depth" from on side to the other!
Look at all the snow covered ski runs across the valley!
Once we got into the trees, but still up high, it was a bit deeper. Time to reuse the track we set on the way up while we still take in the great views :)
Zorro & Rudy shoulder-to-shoulder in the ski track while Jack rides a bit to the right.
Another nice view of all the snow covered ski runs of Breckenridge.
A few hundred feet lower and the snow was not nearly as deep. So, no reason to reuse the "out track" when you can lay fresh tracks in the shallow powder to the right :)
All three laying fresh tracks and there's the ski resort again.
But, my favorite view of the day? Here we are opening up the throttle in deeper snow up high. Polite Jack & Rudy are breaking trail in the untouched right snow while we let Zorro ride in the track we set on the way up. Exercise the youngsters in the deep snow while preserving elder Zorro in the set track - perfect!!!
Zorro flying in the set track while Jack, Rudy and I ride in the deep, untouched snow
on the right side of the trail. Wheeee!
Prospect Hill is one of the steeper trails we skijor. So, elevation plus increasingly deep snow leads to a 5.2 mile outing with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 26 days on the trails covering 166.4 miles with 17,050 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Got It

Jack and Rudy finally figured out the purpose of the warming huts on the trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center (or so they thought :)
"We figured out what to do with the warming huts!!!!" demonstrates the goofball kids.
"Um, I think they are still missing the idea!" adds happy Zorro.
So, here is what they figured out. Warming Hut definition (from Jack & Rudy): a structure to block wind and sun so as to preserve snow to roll in. Well, ok, at least they think they've got the warming huts figured out :)

We were first tracks on the upper Peak 7 trails of Breckenridge Nordic Center this morning with 2-3 inches of fresh snow to enjoy all morning. Love the following "fresh tracks" shot for a variety of reasons. First, we are going uphill yet my skis are parallel - I love riding the sled dog rope tow up the trails! Second, if you look closely, Zorro is ever so slightly backed off the gangline. This has been a wonderful discovery by 11.5 year old Zorro this season. He has figured out, on his own, that he can keep pace with the youngsters if he simply backs off a step on uphill sections of trail. This is perfect - let the youngsters do the uphill work (they need it) and preserve Zorro. As you see, he can keep pace just fine but he pulls back a step or so to let the kids do most of the uphill work. Perfect!
Laying fresh tracks up the trail as Zorro lets the kids tow most of the load (me, that is :)
Young Rudy is REALLY enjoying his first season skijoring without limits....
"This is SO much fun!!!!" Love you bros!" says Rudy to his brothers as we fly along the trail.
Today's video highlight is a perfect peaceful (and endless) glide. We are on the return to the trailhead, so the tracks you see are the ones we set on the way out. Notice that Zorro & Rudy take turns occasionally making use of the set track while Powder Jack keeps himself in the untouched side powder the entire ride.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

To end the day - happy, happy sled dogs towing me to the finish. Wheeee!
It doesn't get much better than this!
You don't see much happier sled dogs that this!!!!
Another 8 mile run with 11.5 year old Zorro!!!! 8.1 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 25 days on the trails covering 161.2 miles with 16,350 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Camera Failures

It was a case of "failed cameras" on today's skijor outing.
At the trailhead "patiently" waiting for me to hook into my skis.
All of our cameras failed to operate this morning. The GoPro on my chest stopped recording 1.5 minutes after I turned it on even though its red light was blinking to indicate it was supposed to be recording (I glanced at the light twice during the outing and it was blinking both times). Then, Nancy's cam failed to record as well. She uses her cam to get video of us arriving at the end of the run and to get clips of our "end of run" treats. So, I had a grand total of 90 seconds of footage to use for today's outing with the first 40 seconds was me walking from the car to the trailhead. So, what did I get in the 50 seconds of "footage". Well, you have the prior photo of the trio patiently waiting for me to step into my skis.

As usual, according to Zorro, Jack & Rudy, I took WAY too long to step into my skis to get started. Zorro came back to see what was the holdup, Rudy simply "gave up" and Jack considered leaving to go run on his own :)
"You ok back here? Sure is taking a while! Oh look, now we have a 'Rudy flat' because you 
are taking SO long!" says Zorro.
"KILLING ME!!!! I must roll to distract myself!!!" demonstrates goofy Rudy.
"Maybe I'll unhook myself and go for a solo run if this takes much longer!" adds Jack.
Ok, now for the reality. The elapsed time between these two photos? 7 seconds!!!! Yes, in under 7 seconds everyone gave up on me declaring I was taking too long to hook up! What a bunch of impatient sled dogs :)

Total time it took me to hook into my skis and give everyone the "Ok, let's go" release? 35 seconds! So, a 35 second eternity later and off we go....
"FINALLY!!!!! Pedal to the metal!!!!" demonstrate the take off trio.
And that's all we got - 15 seconds after starting the run the GoPro stopped recording even though it kept blinking its "I am working" red light. Argh.

Oh well, we had a great time skijoring out & back in French Gulch. You'll just have to believe me: 6 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 24 days on the trails covering 153.1 miles with 15,550 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Huts and Views

Everybody enjoying today's skijor?
"YES!!!!" says the happy trio looking back to me during a quick pause on the trails.
Today was a beautiful bluebird morning with a couple of inches of fresh snow on the trails. To add to the fun, Breckenridge Nordic Center finally has enough snow to groom the upper trails on Peak 7. As a result, we had 1-2 inches of new snow over a freshly groomed nordic trail. We got to fly by the nordic center warming huts and take in all the great views. What fun!!!

He we go flying by the Hallelujah Hut - one of the two "warming huts" on the Peak 7 trails. I believe we may have all 12 feet off the ground in this shot, but I cannot see one of Rudy's feet and the snow puffs behind Jack blurs one of his feet. But, it sure looks like a "fresh tracks hover husky" photo to me :)
Flying by the Hallelujah Hut - wheeee!
Further along the trail and flying by the Kathy's Viewpoint warming hut. No reason to stop, who needs a warming hut? :)
Flying by another hut...
Eventually we got onto the highest shelf of the Peak 7 trails which offers stunning views of the Colorado Rockies!
Nice panorama of the rockies to our front & right.
Nice view of a perfect trail in front of us.
Nice view of the speedy sled dogs in front of me!
Today's video highlight is a beautiful bluebird morning with snow covered trees all around us. Come along as we cruise by Kathy's Viewpoint as we glide along the great conditions. You may wonder why Jack "backs off" a bit about 30 seconds into this clip. Look closely and you see a trail to the right that we could turn onto. Sometimes I call out "right" and sometimes we continue "forward". Jack is simply backing off a bit to see if I call out "right". Once I do not, he quickly launches back up into the team to continue forward. Nice trailwork by Jack!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Well, you probably knew this was coming, but it is even more comical today than usual. A conjoined snow angel from the silly kids:
"Oh my, look at this! What will they come up with next?!?" asks Zorro surveying the weird kids.
"Haha, conjoined snow angels!!!!" demonstrates the goofball twins. Look closely, you see Rudy's
body in the foreground and those are Jack's four feet in the air coming out of Rudy :)
Finally, a "shot from the front" to end the day. Unfortunately it is not the best with the dark lighting, but you can still make out the happy faces!
Here we come - wheeee!
Today's outing was just shy of 8 miles. To be honest, I did not think 11.5 year old Zorro had any 8 mile outings left in him. Well, he showed me! If we take him on easy & groomed nordic trails, there appears to be plenty of 8+ mile outings left in Zorro's tank!

7.8 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 23 days on the trails covering 147.1 miles with 14,950 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Road Run

Nice shot of Jack & Rudy breaking trail in 10+ inches of new snow as we crest at Sally Barber Mine.
Impressive shot of the youngsters breaking trail and towing me up & past the mine!
We did a "split run" today where we started with the youngsters (Jack & Rudy) and then eventually met up with Zorro to add him in for the end of the run. A great day to exercise the kids in the fresh snow around Sally Barber Mine and then finish the day with a nice, easy cool down with elder Zorro.

We started on the lesser used west side of Sally Barber and found a few existing tracks at the trailhead. We quickly caught and passed those on the trail before us and, as you see in the first photo, then found ourselves breaking trail for a few miles climbing to the mine. The reward for towing me up? Well, we got to open up the throttle in set tracks going down the east (and popular) side of the trail. Zoom!
Nice shot of Jack & Rudy each taking one "set track" and uncorking the skijor engine. Zoom!
I mentioned the other day that young Rudy apparently needed to re-learn his "on by" tactics this season. Well, as it turns out, Rudy only needs to WANT to "on by", he still understands the concept completely - he showed me that twice today! Classic Rudy - he "knows" he just has to "want to" :)
"Yeah, yeah, look - I get it - I just have to want to!" demonstrates perfect 'on by' Rudy.
The original plan was for us to meet with Zorro at the Sally Barber/French Gulch trail intersection and then skijor out/back in French Gulch. But, once we got to the French Gulch Trail with Zorro, we found the trail untouched and we'd be breaking trail in 6-10 inches of snow in the gulch. Well, we do not want 11.5 year old Zorro to be breaking trail much anymore, so we turned around to check the status of French Gulch Road (the road leading to the trailhead). We were thrilled to find that the plows had not been on the road yet and only 4WD vehicles had been on the road. This made for a perfect "easy finish" for us to run with Zorro. Jack & Rudy took one tire track and Zorro the other and we skijored a few miles on the road to end the day - perfect for Zorro!
Yay, we beat the plows out and have 4WD tracks to use as a pseudo groomed trail!
Here we go with today's short video highlight. Come along as we skijor French Gulch Road gliding in 4WD tracks with deep snow in the middle and on the shoulders of the road. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Finally, as usual, we ended the day celebrating with 'end of run treats' with my happy & focused partners.
"You have our COMPLETE attention!" says the focused trio :)
A perfect mix today exercising the youngsters in deeper snow and then running a packed road to end the morning with Zorro: 9.7 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2019/202 Season to Date: 22 days on the trails covering 139.3 miles with 14,150 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, November 21, 2019


Fun shot from the front of the happy sled dogs towing me to the end of a "fresh tracks" outing this morning.
"Love laying fresh tracks!" declares the happy trio!
We were first on the upper elevation trails on Peak 7 and found ourselves laying fresh tracks all morning long. Beautiful shot of my fun partners laying freshies:
2-4 inches of fresh powder all morning long - fun!
We did see one set of tracks on the outing - our own! :)  We did an "out & back" on the main Peak 7 trail, so the only tracks we saw on the way back were our own from the way out. With a light layer of new snow, my pals pretty much ignored our set "out tracks" and enjoyed laying freshies on the other side of the trail for the way back:
Our "out tracks" to the left as we lay fresh tracks to the right on the way back.
Today's video highlight? A "skijor minute" as we glide along the right side of the trail as we enjoyed the morning's fresh snow for miles and miles.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Here's a shocking photo - I stopped to check our time and the youngsters are upright - whoa :)
"Hey, we don't ALWAYS roll snow angels when you stop!" state the kids.
"Yeah, right, just wait..." adds Zorro.
Sure enough, I stopped once more to text Nancy our estimated arrival time and...
"Oh look, I'm shocked. NOT!" states Zorro.
"Well, we cannot stay upright through TWO stops - get real!"  demonstrates the goofball twins.
Laying fresh tracks certainly gets you some 'end of run treats' - well earned!
"Fun day - now hand them out!" says the happy & focused trio.

After a warm & dry start to November, we are happy that winter has finally returned. Fresh tracks this morning and it is snowing again this afternoon with many, many days of snow in the 10 day forecast!

7.4 miles of freshies this morning with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 21 days on the trails covering 129.6 miles with 13,450 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Fun shot from the front as the happy sled dogs tow me to the finish on the Harrison Creek Trail at Rabbit Ears Pass.
Wheeee - riding the Siberian Three!
Harrison Creek is our favorite early & late season trail at Rabbit Ears as it always has the best early/late snow. The reason is that this trail is heavily shaded at the beginning and rises quickly in elevation before breaking out of the trees. Shade at the start makes for great early season snow.
Mid winter looking in the shade at the start of the morning's run!
After rising quickly in the shade, the trail opens up at high enough elevations that the temperatures are cold enough to preserve the snow, even in the sun. Such a pretty trail once you get into the open:
Beautiful up high. Love this shot of out-stretched Zorro & Rudy on each side of sprint-tucked Jack. Zoom!
A very rewarding climb to get up high, right guys?
"Well worth the work to get here!" declares the happy trio.
How nice up high? Well come along for today's short video clip showcasing the great upper elevation terrain on Harrison Creek:
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Eventually we had to turn around and everyone wanted to go play in the side powder first. At first I though Zorro was going to roll a snow angel with the kids; but, instead, he led them into a synchronized head dunk.
DUNK!!! It must smell delicious under the snow! 
Oh, don't worry, Jack & Rudy did roll snow angels too; they simply joined Zorro in the synchronized head dunk first :)

If you tow the human, you get end of run treats - my partners know that :)
"Dish them out!" states the focused trio.
A great early season day on Harrison Creek as we await the new snow forecast this week to re-open all of our trails! 6.2 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 20 days on the trails covering 122.2 miles with 12,650 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Safety Dust

What a great day laying fresh tracks in the new snow high up on the trails of Peak 7!
"We are having a BLAST!" exclaims the happy, happy trio!
Today's blog is all about "Safety Dust". Those of you who remember the song Safety Dance from Men Without Hats in the 80s, well today we rewrote the song as Safety Dust. We got new snow overnight with a dusting up to an inch on the trails. We went to the same network of trails as yesterday and, oh boy, what a difference a day and a layer of safety dust makes! Yesterday the trails high up on Peak 7 were super hard packed - you could almost say "too packed and dangerous"! Well, this morning found us on the same trails with a layer of safety dust and we were able to really open up the skijoring machine. What a difference a simple layer of safety dust can make!
Safety Dust!
Beautiful conditions are we are laying fresh tracks in the safety dust on the right side of the trail.
Sorry to everyone who now has "Safety Dance (or Safety Dust)" ringing in your head all day. I cannot get the song out of my head either :)

Cool shot of the trio in a synchronized sprint tuck as we ride the safety dust leaning into a right corner on the trail:
Safety Dust - wheeee!
You will not believe the difference in today's video clip versus yesterday. This is roughly the same section of trail I showed yesterday with me bouncing and bumping all over the place on the hard packed terrain. Today, though, I am simply sitting back on the skis enjoying the Safety Dust as I ride behind my sled dog trio. What a difference safety dust makes!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

I did have to take my skis off to traverse over some rocky terrain. Stopped to put the skis back and, well, stopped... :)
"These silly, silly kids!" says Zorro.
"As usual - stopped, rolling!' adds the goofball twins.
Now for more silliness from young Rudy. We were coming around a bend in the trail when we encountered a hiker coming up the trail. Silly Rudy decided he needed to flirt with the oncomer and launched himself left to flirt as we flew by. Obviously we need to re-introduce Rudy to the "on by" concept this season :)
Nice "on by" from Zorro & Jack.
"Hi - flirt with ME!" says silly Rudy.

Ss-aa-ff-ee-tt-yy - Safety Dust! What a great day with perfect conditions as compared to the same "too packed" trails as yesterday: 7.3 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 19 days on the trails covering 116.0 miles with 11,850 feet of elevation climbed.