Thursday, April 22, 2021

Kids

Oh those silly three year olds at one of our turnaround points skijoring atop French Creek this morning!

"I dare you!" declares Jack.
"I accept!" responds Rudy :)

We started the morning going to check the status of the spring crust over French Creek. I was hoping the crust was still solid enough to hold us. Well, success!!! The crust was perfect and even had an inch or two of fresh snow atop it!

Laying fresh tracks in the solid crust over French Creek.

We did multiple laps around and across the meadow in the prior photo. Then, we exited the crust to skijor to Sally Barber Mine and then come back. Well, coming back meant we stopped to turnaround at the mine. Yep, turnaround is roll around time:

The "snow angel twins" doing their usual turnaround antics :)

The trail to/from the mine was actually a little beat up from warm days and heavy use. So, we did less skijoring on the mine trail than usual and went back to the French Creek crust for another few laps before ending the day.

Great shot of the expansive meadow of crust over French Creek.
Nice shot of Jack & Rudy laying fresh tracks with snow
poofs behind them.

Today's video highlight is, of course, a fun clip of us skijoring atop the spring crust over French Creek. Watch at about 28 seconds along and I surprise Jack & Rudy by calling out a "right" to go through a gap in the bushes. But, the smart kids immediately find the gap for my "right" command and they quickly pass through and realign to keep on going. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Another fun day on the French Creek crust to report to elder Zorro:

"Sounds like they did good!" surmises Zorro.
"Skijor, play and snow angels - perfect outing!" adds the giggle twins.

Great crust outing today with a bit beaten down trail to/from the mine in between: 6.7 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2020/2021 Season to Date: 144 days on the trails covering 1173.0 miles with 100,600 feet of elevation climbed.


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Return

Another great morning Skijoring Breckenridge Ski Resort. Wheeee!

Jack & Rudy zipping along as we pass by trail
signage at Breckenridge Ski Resort.

We had so much fun skijoring Peak 9 yesterday that we got up early to go again today. As I described yesterday, Peak 9 is now closed for the season but you can still find a groomed trail or two (or more) as the ski resort is still doing maintenance and other tasks on the mountain. This does not go unnoticed to locals in the area. Everyone who lives here knows that Peak 9 is still useable with a random groomed trail here and there. You just have to skin or hike up the mountain to make use of the "tourist free" terrain :) As a result, we encounter the occasional kindred spirit along the way:

Jack & Rudy flying along as the "dot" in front of us is a
snowboarder coming down the mountain.

Come along for the fun video counterpart to the prior photo. Watch closely and you can see the snowboarder coming down in front of us. Jack & Rudy were intrigued and wanted to catch and inspect the moving object in front of us. But, alas, the snowboarder crossed by before we got to him. So we might as well continue flying along the trail we are on :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Yesterday we had a ton of soft powder to gallop through when not on groomed trails. Unfortunately, those same powder trails from yesterday were punchy trails this morning. Not solid enough to be a crust but hard enough to be punchy. But, once we got high enough in elevation, the untouched snow was soft again. As a result we went powder plowing for a while when we were above 10,500 feet in elevation.

Powder fun! Wheeee!

But, the majority of our outing was spent below 10,500 feet in elevation. Not a problem, we just stuck to every groomed trail we could find!

Flying along a groomie zoomie as we cross under a chairlift.

Remember ski resorts are designed for downhill skiing. Thus, we climb a lot of elevation on our tours around the resort. After each big climb, the silly kids needed to cool their jets before launching back down:

"Aahh!" declares the snow rolling giggle twins.

Back to the base area to meet up with our retired mentor, Zorro, to show him how well he taught us the last 2 years!

"Hi Zorro!" smiles Jack & Rudy.
"Looking good, I taught you well!" adds inspecting Zorro.

With a steep skijor on the ski resort this morning, we were able to surpass 100,000 feet of skijoring for the season. Yes, Jack & Rudy have towed me up (and launched me down) over 100,000 feet in elevation! Today's tally: 8.7 miles traveled with 1600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2020/2021 Season to Date: 143 days on the trails covering 1166.3 miles with 100,100 feet of elevation climbed.



Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Skijoring the Ski Resort

A beautiful "fresh tracks Tuesday" on this late April morning!

Jack & Rudy laying fresh tracks in about 4 inches of
fresh powder. Wheeee!

But, wait, look at the prior photo a little closer. What is that far to our left? Hey, a chairlift! What is that dead ahead of us? Hey, the Peak 9 Base Area of Breckenridge Ski Resort! Yes, that's right, today was one of our favorite annual traditions: Skijoring the Ski Resort! We try to get out on the ski resort trails shortly after they close for the season. Technically speaking Breckenridge Ski Resort is still open. But, the resort has ski runs across 5 peaks of the 10 mile range (Peaks 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10). With dwindling tourist traffic in April, the ski resort will shutdown operations on peaks 6, 9 and 10 around mid-April. Peaks 7 & 8 will stay open as far into May as the snow remains. 

Back to today. Peaks 6, 9 and 10 are now closed for the season and Peak 9 is our favorite peak to "Skijor the Ski Resort" so off we went this morning. For the first few days after these peaks are closed, the resort will still groom select trails for maintenance, training and other resort operations. If you are lucky, you can catch a freshly groomed trail on one of the closed peaks. Well, luck indeed, check out this fun photo:

Jack the "skijor bowling ball" and Rudy the "skijor missile" FLYING
along a freshly groomed track on Peak 9 as we cross under
a chairlift. 

Today was probably one of our best ever skijors on the ski resort. Why? Well, we had a nice dump of fresh snow overnight. Around 3 inches at the base of the mountain and upwards of 10 inches mid-mountain! So, whenever we ran out of a groomed trail, we transitioned to perfect powder trails along the way. POW!

Jack & Rudy plowing through over 8 inches of powder
along this trail under a chairlift. Pow, pow, POW!

This excellent combination of "groomed and POW" made for an incredibly fun outing. Come along for an extended video highlight of one of our laps. We start out FLYING along the fast groomed trail. Then, it's time for us to change directions so I call out a "Left" and Jack & Rudy transition onto a powder trail with me and off we go powder plowing. What a fun morning!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Remember that ski resorts are designed for downhill skiing, so the trails are steeper than our typical outings. That meant Jack & Rudy had to roll and cool the jets after each climb before we launched ourselves back down:

"Rub a dub dub, cooling the sled dog jets!" declares
the silly kids.

Finally, a fun shot of us arriving at the base of Peak 9 to meet up with Zorro and Nancy!

Happy kids towing me to the finish.
Excited Zorro greeting us to join in for end of run treats!

Such a fun day on the ski resort, we might go back tomorrow! 6.4 miles traveled with a top speed of 24 MPH and 1300 feet of elevation climbed (remember, ski resorts are steep :)

2020/2021 Season to Date: 142 days on the trails covering 1157.6 miles with 98,500 feet of elevation climbed.


Sunday, April 18, 2021

Thanks

Beautiful bluebird morning to hover over the trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center.

Beautiful morning to zoom along!

Breckenridge Nordic Center closes for the season after today. That meant Jack, Rudy and I had to get out for one last skijor on the fast, fun and easy "groomie zoomie" nordic trails. We knew the groomer would go out on the trails one last time today and were hoping to arrive just after for a fresh groomie zoomie. Unfortunately, we got on the trails before the groomer had been out. 

But, the trails were groomed yesterday morning and did not have too much use yesterday.  There was still enough soft snow from the groom for me to let Jack & Rudy go full throttle. If there had been too much traffic on the trails yesterday, they would have been too packed & icy this morning for me to feel comfortable going full throttle. Instead it was perfect conditions this morning!

Jack & Rudy FLYING along the fast & fun trail. Wheeee!

Come along for a video glimpse into the day's fun. Jack & Rudy really love to open it up on the nordic trails and I love to glide and corner behind them. Such fun!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Given that the nordic center is closed after today, this may be our last skijor on these trails. Probably not, though, as there is still a bit of snow, it just will not be groomed. But, don't tell Jack & Rudy that, they made a celebratory "good bye" to the Hallelujah Warming Hut.

Doing what we always to at the warming huts:
roll snow angels to cool off.

As we were finishing the day, we ran into the groomer driver coming to do the final groom of the season. Darn, we missed the groom; but he was going out later than we like to skijor. We did stop and chat with him for a bit. Our conversation went roughly as follows: Me: "Is this really the last groom of the season?" Groomer: "Probably, but never say never." Me: "Darn, well THANKS for all the grooming you did all season." Groomer: "No, thank you for supporting us and giving me some entertainment to watch on the trails!" (the drivers LOVE seeing Jack & Rudy towing me around).

"Hey dude, thanks for the groomie zoomies!" says Jack & Rudy.
You can see a bit of the groomer machine in the upper right.

Back to the trailhead. Pretty view of the pretty sled dogs. Pretty view of the mountains far to my right.

So focused for 'end of run' treats.

Our last time on groomed nordic center trails this season (we may still find a groomed snowmobile trail if we are lucky): 8.2 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2020/2021 Season to Date: 141 days on the trails covering 1151.2 miles with 97,200 feet of elevation climbed.


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Fresh Tracks

So happy to be laying fresh tracks in mid-April!

"Yes! Happy, happy, happy!" declares smiling Jack & Rudy.

With fresh snow Thu night and Fri day, we went to some of our "secret" trails this morning that get very little use by others. The result? Perfect as we were still first tracks in the fresh snow on seldom used backcountry trails!

Fresh tracks fun! Wheeee!

Eventually we connected onto the upper trails of Gold Run Nordic Center. The nordic center closed and stopped grooming trails 2 weeks ago. So, we expected to find tracks from others who had made use of the fresh snow over the nordic trails yesterday. But, to our surprise and delight, we were first to lay fresh tracks on the well-known nordic trails too! Nice!

Laying fresh tracks on one of the trails in Gold Run Nordic Center.

Come along for a video glimpse into the surprising "first fresh tracks" time we had on trails this morning. What a fun time!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Now, on to the "cool shot" of the day. Here is a great shot of Jack & Rudy in the morning sun whereas the mountains and ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort are still enveloped in clouds across the valley.

Cool sun vs clouds contrast shot.

Next, on to the "comedy shot" of the day from the silly three year olds. Did you know it was possible to roll snow angels as conjoined twins? :)

The goofballs somehow rolling snow angels while
connected at the hips! Goofy but talented!

Finally, on to the "fun shot" of the day as we met Zorro & Nancy a bit up trail. Zorro hopped in line with Jack & Rudy and the fun threesome towed Nancy & I back to the Jeep. Go Zorro!

The retired elder still showing us he has plenty of energy
for short bursts :)

A fun "fresh tracks" day between backcountry trails and closed for the season nordic trails: 7.2 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2020/2021 Season to Date: 140 days on the trails covering 1143.0 miles with 96,400 feet of elevation climbed.


Friday, April 16, 2021

April Powder Day

A mid-April powder day on Baldy Mountain! Yay!

Nice shot of Jack & Rudy plowing through 10+ inches
of powder with some impressive snow troughs they
have carved behind them!

We have been waiting days for this predicted storm to finally arrive. Each morning we kept waking to only a trace to inch of new snow for days and saying, "Darn, the storm didn't arrive yet!" Well, it FINALLY arrived last night and into this morning as there was 9 inches of new snow mid-mountain with even more as you went higher. What to do with 9+ inches of fresh powder? Well, head out to Baldy Mountain, our favorite powder day set of trails. Oh boy did we have fun galloping through the deep snow!

Another impressive shot of powder plowing Jack & Rudy!

Come along and watch some "backcountry powder skijoring" as Jack & Rudy are flying along in the morning's new snow. What happens about 10 seconds into the clip when Jack & Rudy go out of sight from the camera? Well, I almost lost it and barely avoided a wipeout! Nice recovery by the human, though, as I ride through the "slip" but keep upright and then back in line with Jack & Rudy. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

If you are a sled dog, mid-April powder makes you frisky! If you are three years old, frisky makes you looney! Oh those silly kids.

"Tag! You're it!" announces Jack starting an unauthorized
game of tag & tackle on the trail.
"Coming back at ya!" responds 'never back down' Rudy :)

I reeled in the gangline to stop the tag & tackle episode. While reeling in I was saying something along the lines of "No, that's not skijoring, we don't do that on the trail!" I always get this response to such lectures:

"Who? Us? Don't know what you mean!" declares the innocent
acting troublemakers :)

You should have seen the wrestle twins Zorro, such kids!

"Children!" Zorro consoles me :)
"Who? Us? Don't know what you mean!" Jack & Rudy continue
to press their innocence.

A great mid-April powder day with silly kid entertainment along the way: 8.1 miles traveled with 1100 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2020/2021 Season to Date: 139 days on the trails covering 1135.8 miles with 95,900 feet of elevation climbed.


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Me Again

Rudy heard that people enjoyed his "turnaround woo" on the trails yesterday. Well, he has a woo for EVERY occasion, believe me!

Rudy showcasing his "sightseeing woo" at the historic Sally Barber Mine.
"Woooo! I have one for EVERY occasion!" declares wooing Rudy.
Jack doing his usual (rolling snow angels) at any stop on the trail :)

As you see in the prior photo, we spent some time skijoring up, down and around Sally Barber Mine this morning. But, before touring the mine, we first went off trail to skijor the great spring crust that is still solid atop French Creek! With warming spring temperatures, we got an early start as the sun was just starting to rise over the east mountains. With a light layer of overnight snow, we found ourselves laying fresh tracks over the frozen creek and wetland meadows. Wheeee!

The sun is about to peek over the mountain in front of us
as we lay fresh tracks over the French Creek Crust.

With such a fun crust, we made many, many laps around and across this French Creek marsh and meadow. Yes, this really will be a marshy wetland in 1-2 months!

Flying along. Wheee!

Come along for one fun lap across the meadow as we zoom forward, left and right. Note that all tracks you see now & then throughout the video are our own tracks from previous laps in and around this fun meadow. We had a great time going back and forth and back and forth!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

You know what else is nice about a fresh layer of snow over the crust? Well, it makes for really nice snow angel rolls :)

Rudy rolling with "angel prints" to the left.
Jack rolling with "angel prints" to the right.
Goofy kids!

Back to the trailhead with our favorite retired gentleman, Zorro.

"Thanks for coming back! I love you man!" Zorro is intent
on telling me :)
"Zorro first, then us!" adds the impressively patient youngsters!

A lot of French Creek Crust skijoring this morning followed by a little Sally Barber Mine entertainment: 6.9 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2020/2021 Season to Date: 138 days on the trails covering 1127.7 miles with 94,800 feet of elevation climbed.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Woo Bet

"Woo bet!" is Rudy's way of answering "You bet" to any questions on the trail :)

Time to turnaround, everyone having a good time this morning?

"Woo bet!" exclaims wooing Rudy.
"Turnaround? Ok! Great time? YES!" adds happy Jack.

We had about a 1/2 inch of new snow all to ourselves this morning on the upper elevation trails of Breckenridge Nordic Center. Fresh tracks in mid-April? Yay!

Laying fresh tracks all morning long!

What are those tracks to the right of Jack? Based on size, I believe they were coyote tracks as they seemed too big for a fox. Both coyotes and foxes are known inhabitants of this area. But, Jack & Rudy did not pay much attention to the tracks after an initial sniff. So, I was confident they were not very fresh and we did not have to worry about running into old Wile E. Coyote on the trail :)

Other than Wile E's tracks, the only other tracks we encountered all morning long were our "out tracks" on our return leg of the outing. What a perfect morning to enjoy the light layer of new snow!

Laying fresh tracks on the return leg as your can
see our "out tracks" to our left. Wheeee!

Come along for a fun video view into the morning. This clips starts in the trees at the highest elevation point of the nordic center and then transitions into stunning open views as the trees thin and the beautiful bluebird morning unfolds.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We had two turnaround points during the outing. The first got a Woo from Rudy as you saw in the first photo. The second turned into a game of "bow, tag and tackle" in the middle of the trail!

"I dare you to touch me!" suggests Rudy.
"No problem, I'm going to sock you!" responds Jack :)

Oh, and don't worry, Jack (and Rudy) rolled snow angels right before the unauthorized play session broke out in the prior photo. So, Jack's incredible streak of rolling at least one snow angel EVERY skijor outing of his young life is still intact!

Back to the trailhead and the fun trio are in tight to share 'end of run' treats!

Such focus! Such happy sled dogs!

A fun mid-April fresh tracks outing: 7.7 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2020/2021 Season to Date: 137 days on the trails covering 1120.8 miles with 94,300 feet of elevation climbed.


Monday, April 12, 2021

Crust Again

Another great morning abandoning set trails to make our own path atop the great spring crust at Rabbit Ears Pass.

Zipping along the crust! Wheeee!

See a trail in the prior photo? Nope, we are simply making our own path as we are in a gulley that will contain a river of snowmelt runoff once summer arrives.

If you thought the prior photo was nice, wait until you see the next one showcasing the endless spring crust!

Perfect conditions. Wow!

Come along for a fun video clip of skijoring the crust. Note the action around 12 seconds in. I call out a left but Jack starts out cutting the left too far (note the tree Rudy and I will peg if we follow Jack's hard left). But, smart Jack notices his error quickly and launches back in line with Rudy and I and off we continue flying along the crust. Nice recovery Jack!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

While the crust is super fun, it comes with Spring. Well, Spring brings warming temperatures and warming temperatures brings out the snow rolling sillies to cool off :)

Cooling our jets, Rub a dub dub.

Pretty fun morning to make our own path, right guys?

"Fun indeed!" states the happy pair.

Back to the trailhead to celebrate another fun outing with elder Zorro. Zorro has always been known for his intense focus, that has not changed with age :)

"You have my FULL attention!" declares super focused Zorro.
"Me next!" declares happy Jack.
"Chilling, waiting for third!" adds mellow Rudy.

Another great morning to "make our own path" all over Rabbit Ears: 8.4 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2020/2021 Season to Date: 136 days on the trails covering 1113.1 miles with 93,500 feet of elevation climbed.


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Perfect Crust

Beautiful morning for a skijor over the Spring Crust atop Rabbit Ears Pass, right guys?

"Wonderful morning!" declares the happy, happy kids.
Look at that endless crust in this photo!

We have had a couple of skijors with crust touring this spring; but today was the first day that we were able to completely abandon set trails and "make our own way" up, down and around the crust atop Rabbit Ears Pass. Here's a cool shot of flying Jack and hovering Rudy:

Away we go, making our own path!

What are those structures in front of us in the prior photo? Well, Rabbit Ears is an open range in the summer and these are the structures ranchers use to corral cattle, sheep and whatever else they let graze in these open pastures (we've seen cattle and sheep, that's why I know of those two :)

The further we got from the trailhead, the more untouched and perfect the crust became!

Wheeee! Catching air on a pristine spring crust!

Come along for a fun view into the perfect morning. Note how I call out the occasional "left" or "right" or "over the the left" or "forward" as I navigate us to stay on smooth crust and avoid snowmobile ruts. Surprisingly, this video clip looks somewhat bouncy from the camera view; but it did not feel bouncy to me at all. I was surprised to see how much the camera was bouncing once I viewed the clip. It felt smooth and comfortable to me in realtime! 

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

After doing a large loop around the pass, making our own path, it was time to return back to the trailhead. To return, we had to pass by the "open range pens" again. I swear Rudy suddenly realized what these structures are used for :)

"Wait! Cattle? Sheep? Where?!?" asks Rudy suddenly locked
on the cattle/sheep pens.
"I agree, where?" asks Jack (though not quite as focused
as Rudy on the structures).

The only drawback of the morning outing (to Jack & Rudy)? Well, temperatures were hovering around freezing all outing long. That's hot to the silly three year olds :)

"Never been so hot. Must stop, drop and roll!" demonstrates
the silly snow rolling kids.

Back to give a report of the outing to our favorite retired gentleman, Zorro:

"Did they listen today?" asks Zorro.
"We did, we did!" asserts the happy kids.

Our first "no trails, crust only" skijor of this season: 7.6 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2020/2021 Season to Date: 135 days on the trails covering 1104.7 miles with 92,800 feet of elevation climbed.

1100+ miles for the season! Woo Hoo! 1200 in our future? Maybe. 1300? Hmmmm, stay tuned.