Thursday, January 30, 2020


The usual and WONDERFUL happy faces on the trio towing to the finish of another exciting skijor outing!
"Wheeee - happy!" says the happy running trio.
We did an out & back on Boreas Pass this morning with Zorro coming along for the full outing. There was a dusting of new snow on the trail making for just enough "safety powder" for me on the well-used and hard packed lower portion of the Boreas trail:
A glimpse of some of the ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort across the valley.
Nice shot of the sled dog trio towing me up & out wide and fast
packed Boreas near the trailhead.
Of course, the further up Boreas you go, the narrower the trail becomes as humans drop out being able to go this distance and those who do make it tend to reuse the narrow single tracks. As we got up a bit higher, I noticed that the trail was not 3 wide for coming back down. Zorro will often drop behind the kids on uphill stretches and let the youngsters do the uphill work (which is exactly what we want so 11.5 year old Zorro can come along). So, the trail was wide enough for Jack & Rudy side by side as we went higher but not wide enough to go 3-wide for the way down. So, I helped!!!!

Here we are turned around and heading back down Boreas. Now, look closely... Zorro & Rudy are in the well-used and hard packed single track while Jack is in a softer track to the right. I set this track on the way up, knowing Jack could use it on the way down while Zorro & Rudy took the set track. See, I really do help with skijoring - I don't just sit back and ride along :)
What a useful human to widen the trail on the way up so we could
run 3-wide on the way down!
Today's video shows the helpful human's assistance a little better than the prior still shot. Come along as we are cruising along Boreas with Zorro & Rudy in the well-used set track and Jack in my recently made side track. Patting myself on the back :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Okay, enough complimenting myself for helping out once... Zorro, Jack & Rudy would like to show you the real excitement on Boreas this morning. The signs of moose where everywhere!!!

Here we are cruising along the trail when moose tracks appeared and went along the trail for a bit. Look at the bottom center of this photo and you will see a big "two toed moose print"! The prints went along the trail for a bit and appeared to be very fresh!
I certainly scanned the terrain to our left once I saw Zorro looking that way!
Jack & Rudy and anxious to follow the moose tracks!
A little further along and a clear moose trough in the deep snow off the packed trail. Clearly a moose had been standing here recently eating the shrubbery just off the trail!
"Fresh smelling moose trough!" declare Jack & Rudy submerging themselves in
the moose holes.
"Sniff, sniff, the aroma in the air is moosely wonderful!" adds Zorro.
Once Zorro was done taking in the scent of moose in the air, it was time to switch places with Jack.
Zorro now climbing down into the moose trough.
Jack coming up from the trough to take in the scent of moose in the air.
Rudy taking a taste of the shrubbery to see why moose eat it :)
Done exploring that very fresh smelling moose trough and Rudy finds a moose exit point from the trail into the meadow to our left.
"Moose went THIS way!" says Rudy sitting in the moose track leading into the vast meadow.
"Nice find little brother!" says impressed Jack.
"Nice work indeed, you are coming along kid!" adds impressed Zorro.
Despite a TON of evidence of moose on & off the trail and a clear scent of moose in the air, we failed to actually see a moose. Oh well, it is still VERY entertaining to sniff the evidence of moose, just ask my partners! 6.2 miles traveled with 450 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 82 days on the trails covering 565.9 miles with 52,500 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


All smiles with an almost "connected" Zorro & Jack as we run to the finish of this morning's skijor.
Such happy kids!!!! I just love the smiles and connected bodies of Zorro & Jack.
Rudy has a nice smile going too; but the "connected joy" of Zorro & Jack is priceless!
Elder Zorro took the day off from most of the outing but, as you see above, he thoroughly enjoyed his short sprint to the finish once he joined the team.

As for the kids, Jack & Rudy took me on a 9.4 mile tour of Sally Barber and French Gulch. They have really learned the pattern of the Sally Barber Mine Trail. We climb from the back side and then pick up the pace as we crest at the mine. As long as there are no obstacles around the corner (such as moose or loose dogs), then they know I will let them uncork the skijoring engine down the front side of the trail.
Cresting at the mine and starting to open the throttle as all is clear around the corner.
Here we go with the "crest & go" Sally Barber Mine video for today. The conditions today really show the "trail preferences" of Jack versus Rudy. Notice that Jack is almost exclusively in the soft & hardly used snow on the right of the trail while Rudy is almost exclusively in the hard packed and heavily used left of the trail. This has become their personality - Rudy likes the fast & hard packed whereas Jack likes the soft shoulders. As long as the shoulders are not too deep to keep pace, Jack will tend to run on this terrain.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

After going up/over the Sally Barber Mine Trail, we went out & back in French Gulch. What is French Gulch known for? Well, MOOSE of course. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that youngest Rudy's "moose detector" is really maturing and becoming fine-tuned like Jack & Zorro. As a result, I now have to start paying attention to things like the following from Rudy!
That looks like a "moose detecting glance" to me!!!!
A month ago and I would have ignored such a glance from Rudy as he was equally distracted by a leaf as a moose. But, not today, I had to quickly scan the gulch to our left based on this moose alarm from Rudy. Despite the glance, we failed to see any moose although I am convinced there must have been some nearby based on Rudy's glance.

No more "scent of moose", so time to floor it on the fast packed French Gulch Trail. Love aerodynamic Rudy in this shot - look at those ears pinned to his head to avoid any drag!!!
Rudy missile alongside sprint-tucked Jack.
You knew this was coming. We did an "out & back" in French Gulch so we had to stop and turnaround eventually. Oh those silly kids!
Jack & Rudy are getting very good at rolling conjoined snow angels.
Where does Jack end and Rudy start?
Back to adding Zorro in to finish the day. A couple steps closer than the first photo and we still have the happy, smiling trio:
Smiles all around! Look at those happy sled dogs!
An entertaining 9 mile tour with Jack & Rudy and then a fun finish to the outing with Zorro: 9.4 miles traveled with 750 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 81 days on the trails covering 559.7 miles with 52,050 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Lost Footage

Such fun to share the 'end of run' treats with my happy sled dogs!
The "happy & very focused" trio :)
Unfortunately, today was a day of "lost footage" as I did not realize the GoPro inexplicably turned off early on in our outing and did not record most of our fun day. Oh well, come along for what little footage I did get...

Fun shot of the power trio launching me up the initial hill from the French Gulch Trailhead Parking Lot. Zoom!
Up we go, zoom, zoom, zoom!
Once you leave the parking lot at French Gulch, you quickly encounter an access gate which prevents all but a few people from driving out the gulch (there are a few private cabins in the gulch and the owners have keys to the access gate). I love showcasing my PERFECT skijor partners with complex obstacles to navigate with me on the trails.

Come along and watch as my perfect partners slow (without command) on the approach to the gate. Then, all 3 move right to tow me through the pedestrian slot in the gate (again, without command). Then a simple "wait" request from me and all 3 pause until I am safely through the gate. Finally, once the human is safely through, we TAKE OFF skijoring up & out French Gulch. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

As the video showed - cautious through the gate and then zoom:
Flying along French Gulch.
A few minutes after the prior photo and the darned GoPro stopped recording. Here's a description of what I wanted to show today. First, we eventually out skied all existing tracks on the trail and found ourselves laying fresh tracks in 4-5 inches of powder far back in French Gulch. Second, we were doing an "out & back" on this trail so we stopped in some deep side powder to turn around and Jack & Rudy rolled snow angels in some beautiful deep snow. Finally, we came back the same way and polite Jack & Rudy let elder Zorro run in my ski tracks from the way out while the two youngsters continued laying fresh tracks on the other side of the trail. What a fun day!

Anyway, at least Nancy's camera worked so we got the fun 'end of run' treats photo above and the following nice shot of the happy faces towing me to the finish of the day's outing:
"We had a BLAST!" says the happy, happy trio.
A wonderful day in French Gulch for us but, unfortunately, not much footage to share with others: 6.2 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 80 days on the trails covering 550.3 miles with 51,300 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, January 27, 2020


Love this "profile shot" of the out-stretched trio as we sprint past Nancy on the side of the trail this morning!
Quite the impressive looking sled dog trio!!!
This morning was one of our "light days" for Zorro where I took the kids, Jack & Rudy, out for a long skijor before meeting up with Zorro to add him for a short run to the finish. We went to one of our "it's a secret" network of trails. Few locals know of these trails and almost no tourists know of them, so the trails are lightly used backcountry terrain.

The day started just as we expected - lightly used backcountry terrain:
Nice shot of flying Jack & Rudy on a nice backcountry trail. Wheeee!
But, here is the shocker of the day - we ran into a network of groomed trails that has NEVER existed before - seriously!!!! The area we were skijoring has a few "vacation lodges" tucked away in the forest that I know large groups of tourists can rent. Well, apparently one or some of these lodges have got together and groomed a network of trails around them. What a surprise.

We decided to follow the groomed trails for a while to see what we found. Imagine our surprise when we came upon a warming hut in the middle of nowhere!
"What is it with you humans and your 'warming huts'?!?" ask perplexed Jack & Rudy.
While the concept of 'warming hut' perplexes Jack & Rudy, the concept of groomed trail does not. It doesn't matter if we know where we are or not, a groom is a ZOOM!
Zoom, zoom - we know what to do with groomie zoomie trails!
Originally I was thinking these trails might be an extension of the nearby Gold Run Nordic Center. But, that was not the case as eventually the trails went away from the direction you would need to go to get to Gold Run. Our planned destination was the nordic center, so eventually we got on backcountry trails again and dropped into Gold Run Nordic Center to meet up with Zorro.

Today's fun video is our "Zorro meet up & go". Come along as we are paused to start as we just added Zorro to the team. A quick "ok, here we go" from me and off my partners go. We fly past Nancy on the side of the trail and then I slow us as we approach the trailhead parking lot. This trailhead is known for often having loose dogs running around so I approach cautiously. Once I determine the "all clear" I release my partners again with an "ok, go" and we floor it again. Zoom!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We close the day with a fun "shot from the front" as we approach Nancy on side of the trail. Happy, happy boys!
All smiles from the super fun trio!
What an interesting day: backcountry skijoring, a surprise groomed track, more backcountry and then fast groomie zoomies with Zorro: 8.7 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 79 days on the trails covering 544.1 miles with 50,800 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, January 26, 2020


Enjoying some well-earned 'end of run' treats with my happy sled dogs!
"We sure earned them today!" says the happy & focused trio.
We went to the trails in Swan Valley this morning to run amongst the dog sled teams from Good Times Adventures. My pals love encountering the teams on the trails and playing chase, flirt and/or pass with the teams. Today was basically a "chase day" as we kept coming upon teams from behind but then would miss the chance to flirt or pass before they turned off on different trails. Oh well, it was a very fun chase day!

Here we come upon a team rounding a right corner in the trail in front of us. We were closing in on them but they turned off this trail and went a different direction than us just around the corner.
"We see you! Here we come!" says the sprinting trio.
You can see the musher as the black blob in the middle of the trail in
front of us. You can barely make out a few "sled dog blobs" too.
Further along and we were again gaining on a team on the trail in front of us. Once again, though, this team turned off the trail and went another direction before we actually caught them.
Look in front of us and you again can see the black blob which is the musher.
You can also see 3 smaller black blobs which are pairs of sled dogs
pulling the sled (the teams have 8 dogs but the two leaders are already
around the bend in the trail in this shot)
On we go again and another team appears that we are gaining on once again!
"Wait for us - here we come!" says my sprinting trio.
But, alas, no luck as this team also turned off our trail and went a different direction
before we could catch and/or pass them.
Finally, once again with today's theme of "chase and almost catch". Here's another team just in front of us as you can see the musher in bright blue and the 8 sled dogs in front of her.
"Here we come again - wheeee!" says my excited partners.
Today's video highlight goes along with the team in the prior photo. Come along as we spot this team in front of us and begin a game of "sled dog chase". But, this musher is clearly "riding the brake" as we are gaining much too fast on them. I know there is a fork in this trail ahead but we are gaining too fast to not catch them before the fork. So, I slow us down for about 10 seconds to give them a head start and then release my pals again. Off we go, gaining again, as Zorro decides to change lanes and take the left side of the team. Then, just as I planned, as we are getting real close to the team, we get to the fork in the trail and I take us right while the team continues forward. What a fun game of chase!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

A fun day of "sled dog chase" this morning: 6.5 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 78 days on the trails covering 535.4 miles with 50,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Deep and Fresh

Such happy faces as we cruise through the morning's fresh snow to end the day's skijor!
Smiles all around - wheeee!
Zorro came with us for an entire long run yesterday and we plan a similar outing with him tomorrow, so we gave him most of today off while I took the youngsters out for nice run before joining Zorro to end the day.

Our plan was to skijor the backcountry trails near Gold Run Nordic Center until we dropped onto the nordic trails to do some fast nordic skijoring until we met Zorro to complete the morning.

We started on one of the backcountry access trails and found a set of ski tracks already on the trail to start the outing. We quickly caught the couple who had made the new tracks and entertained them while passing on by.
Smiles from the onlookers as the second skier is also taking a video of
the impressive sled dogs towing me on by.
The tracks made by this couple ended pretty early into the run and we found ourselves in a ton of new snow all to ourselves! We ended up breaking trail for almost 2 miles in what was at least 15 inches of powder at our deepest points!
Jack & Rudy the "snorkeling snowplows" breaking trail in 15+ inches of powder!
The reward for 2 miles of breaking trail? Well, dropping onto the fast groomed trails of the nordic center. To our surprise & delight, we found 2-3 inches of fresh snow atop the groomed trails too! This lead to 6+ miles of laying fresh tracks on the nordic center trails. Such a treat to be on the new snow before everyone else!
Flying along the fast nordic trails with 2-3 inches of new snow all to ourselves!
Come along for the video counterpart of the prior photo. The new snow and laying fresh tracks are easier to see in the video than the prior photo. It was also actively snowing all morning long, so you'll notice a "snow spot" on the camera as the video starts. Eventually this flake will melt and disappear; but most of today's video footage had off & on snow spots blurring part of the field of view.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Breaking trail for 2ish miles and then laying fresh tracks for 6+ miles is quite a workout. We needed to stop and cool our jets midway through the 6 mile sprint :)
"So glad you taught me about snow angels!" says rolling Rudy to Jack.
"Yep, I am the snow angel MASTER!" responds rolling Jack.
Finally, as the first photo shows, we met up with Zorro to add him in for a short run to the finish. It was the same theme with Zorro in team: laying fresh tracks in 2-3 inches of new & untouched snow!
Wheeee - freshies with Zeeee!
A trail breaking & fresh tracks workout for Jack & Rudy with an entertaining wind sprint to the end with Zorro: 8.4 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 77 days on the trails covering 528.9 miles with 49,600 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, January 24, 2020


Beautiful morning to take in the awe inspiring views from the upper elevation trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center!
Pretty trail, pretty sled dogs and cool view of the cloud topped Rocky Mountains
to our right.
We did an out & back on the upper trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center this morning. There was a shallow layer of new snow on the trails with a few pre-existing tracks. The views from these trails are quite stunning on a clear day. Come along for more and more fun views...

Here we are cruising by the Hallelujah Warming Hut with the mountains of Boreas Pass in view behind the hut.
Zoom we go as Zorro runs in the set track while Jack & Rudy play
in the shoulder powder.
Then, on to a cool view of the tops of the mountains that make up Breckenridge Ski Resort. Draw a line up from Zorro's tail tip and that is the top of Peak 9 at the ski resort. Just to the left of that is the top of Peak 10. Draw a line up from Rudy's right ear and that is the top of Peak 8. Draw a line from the tip of Jack's tail and go a little right and that is the top of Peak 6.
Pretty shot of the tips of the mountains of Breckenridge Ski Resort!
A little further along and you get a fun shot of Kathy's Viewpoint warming hut with the mountains of Boreas Pass in view in the distance again.
Zooming along - wheeee!
Today's video highlight showcases some of the nice views you get from these upper elevation trails. So pretty on a clear & sunny day! Pretty sled dogs towing me along too :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Since we did an "out & back", that means you get a comical view of the silly kids as we turn around.
"What silly goofs!" says smiling Zorro.
"Stop, drop and ROLL!" demonstrates goofball Jack.
"Stop, dip and EAT!" adds snowcone chomping Rudy.
The best view, of course, is always the happy, happy sled dogs towing me to the finish of the day's run.
All smiles as we complete a day of awe inspiring views.

Beautiful morning high up at the nordic center: 6.9 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 76 days on the trails covering 520.5 miles with 49,000 feet of elevation climbed

Thursday, January 23, 2020


La-la-land Rudy seemed to forget about 'end of run' treats :)
"Ready!" announces focused Zorro & Jack.
"La la, huh? What 'end of run' treats?" says la-la-land Rudy.
Due to various appointments, we only had time for a short skijor yesterday and a short one this morning. Plus, I was too busy yesterday to get a blog update from yesterday morning's run. So, today you get yesterday and today's skijors put together.

What is fun is to compare & contrast yesterday to today given that we did basically the same trails. We started each day with the kids, Jack & Rudy, skijoring up, over and down the Sally Barber Mine Trail. We then completed each day by adding Zorro once we reached the French Gulch Trailhead.

There was about 2-3 inches of fresh snow yesterday morning. It then continued to snow lightly all day yesterday. While it never snowed very heavy, 24 hours of light snow can really add up. Compare and contrast the conditions in the following photo. The left is laying fresh tracks in 2-3 inches yesterday while the right is breaking trail in 10+ inches today!!!
Freshies to the left and breaking trail to the right.
What a difference 24 hours made on the Sally Barber Mine Trail!
On Wednesday, we met up with Zorro and noticed that French Gulch Road had been only 1/2 plowed. Then meant there was a nice shoulder for me to ski on 1/2 the road. So, as a treat we skijored French Gulch Road giving Zorro the easy plow surface with Jack, Rudy and I rode in the side powder.
Flying Z on the plowed road with powder Jack & Rudy on the shoulder with me.
Even though we got a lot of snow in the last 24 hours, the plow beat us to both sides of the road today. So, we couldn't skijor French Gulch Road and tried the French Gulch Trail instead. Unfortunately there was a very narrow single track on the trail and it is pretty hard for a 3 pack to fit in or share a single track. The out of track snow was too deep for the 'out of track' brother to keep pace with the 'in track brother(s)':
Zorro flying 'in track' with Rudy really trying to fit with him. Jack, meanwhile,
is in very deep powder 'out of track'.
As a result, we only did a short run in French Gulch and then tried the road once more. I rode in the shoulder as best as I could until I couldn't keep balance with my 'in road' partners any longer:
Sled dogs in the packed/plowed road with the human trying
to keep pace in the deep shoulder.
Today's video fun is Jack & Rudy laying fresh tracks near Sally Barber Mine yesterday while light snowfall is coming down around us. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Finally, you knew there had to be at least one comedic moment from the kids across two days of skijoring. The "dunk & dive" brothers:
"Dunk - where are the rodents?" asks rodent dunking Jack.
"Incoming!!!!" demonstrates rodent diving Rudy.
Two days of quick runs showing the difference in snow 24 hours can produce!

Wednesday: 5.6 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

Thursday: 4.6 miles traveled with 300 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 75 days on the trails covering 513.6 miles with 48,300 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

26 MPH

Look what we did today - topping 26 MPH skijoring!!!
Flying Zorro, Rudy and Jack as we top 26 MPH on the beautiful
groomed trail at Gold Run Nordic Center! Zoom!
Today was young Jack & Rudy's fastest ever skijor. Their first time topping 26 MPH! Their previous top speed was 24.8 MPH. I thought the kids might hit 26 MPH this season now that they are full grown and in their prime. Well, today was the day!

But, look at that photo above. Here's what really surprised me - Zorro was with!!!!! Yes, 11.5 year old Zorro topped 26 MPH this morning - wow! I expected Jack & Rudy's record speed to happen when Zorro was not with this season. Boy was I happily wrong! Zorro has topped 26 MPH 12 times before in his skijor career (and even topped 27 MPH once). But the last time Zorro hit 26 MPH was with Max in February 2017. Since then, Zorro & I skijored solo (hitting 24 MPH) and then we were training young & growing Jack & Rudy. I knew by the time Jack & Rudy were mature enough to top 26 MPH that Zorro would be over 11.5 years old and I figured he would not have that speed burst still in his engine. I am thrilled to be WRONG and Zorro still has an incredible burst when he's feeling it! Woo Hoo Zorro!

What is funny is that we took the day off yesterday. I think my partners were determined to show me today that a "day off" is a silly thing to do :)  Anyway, we went to the fast trails at Gold Run Nordic Center and were thrilled to be first tracks on the freshly groomed trail!
Freshly groomed for us to lay first tracks! Perfect for topping 26 MPH!
My pals were zipping around the trails all morning long - all that saved up energy from a silly day off yesterday. Our route took us out & back on the Peabody and Preston trails at Gold Run. Even though all three were juiced to run all morning, the kids HAD to get in one comedy act at our turnaround. The 2 year olds cannot go an entire outing without at least one comical interlude:
"Kids - it's FRESHLY groomed - get up and let's ZOOM!" says excited to go Zorro.
"But we are turning around - that means roll snow angels first!" responds Rudy.
"Ah, rub a dub dub!" adds silly Jack.
What does 26 MPH skijoring look like from behind? Well, come along and watch :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

All smiles as we complete the fast & fun day on the groomie zoomie trails:
"Whee - that was FUN!" says the happy trio towing me to the finish.
I would say today's 'end of run' treats were VERY well earned by my speedy trio:
"Ye of little faith - I still got it!' says focused Zorro.
"That was FAST and FUN!" adds happy Jack & Rudy.
I thought the highlight of this morning's outing was going to be that we surpassed 500 miles for the season, putting Jack & Rudy well on track for their first 1000+ mile season.

Well, I was wrong, the highlight was Jack & Rudy's first 26 MPH skijor and Zorro's first 26 MPH since we were with Max back in February 2017 - wow! 6.4 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 26 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 73 days on the trails covering 503.4 miles with 47,600 feet of elevation climbed.