Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Season Finale

Despite the nice photos you will see below, today was our finale for the 2020/2021 Skijoring Season!

Laying fresh tracks midway up the trail from the top of Vail Pass
to the top of Shrine Pass.

We returned to Vail Pass this morning for what we expected to be our last outing of the 2020/2021 season. With deteriorating conditions in the open meadows we usually skijor in May and with fresh snow overnight, we were able to use the main trail that takes you from the top of Vail Pass (our starting point) to the top of the next pass, Shrine Pass. Here's a fun shot of Jack & Rudy plowing through some deep snow as we are now at the top of Shrine Pass.

Powder plowing kids. Wheeee!

Ok, now you have probably looked at the last two photos multiple times and are asking, "How in the world is this our last outing of the season?" Well, it is subtle to notice in the photos. But, the new snow was very wet and heavy and the surface under the new snow was slush and/or mud. If you look closely in the first photo, you can make out some dark footholes behind Jack - this is mud/slush his foot poked through to contact. If you look closely in the second photo, you can see some similar footholes behind Rudy. Basically, despite these two very nice looking photos from this morning, the reality is all this snow will be gone and the trail back to slush after a few hours of sunshine. The sun is now out as I am typing and the 2020/2021 skijor season has come to and end.

Back to today's outing, we went up from Vail Pass to Shrine Pass and then skijored across the top of Shrine for a while before turning around to come back down. Oh, did I say "turnaround"? I bet you are expecting the usual turnaround snow angel photo next. Well, nope, Jack & Rudy like to keep you guessing what form of comedy they'll produce at turnaround points.

Today's comedy act? Rodent dives and digs.

Rudy showcasing his patented "rodent swan dives" at our
turnaround point.

Not to be outdone, Jack had a very nice rodent dive of his own. He is not known for the high arching swan dives of Rudy, but had some today!

A high arching swan dive from Jack! Impressive!

It only seems fitting to close out the 2020/2021 season with a comedy (instead of skijoring) video. After all, the three year olds, Jack & Rudy, have provided constant entertainment this season. Come along for their funny sequence of rodent dives and digs atop Shrine Pass this morning. Oh, and "no", they did not actually catch any rodents :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Back to the trailhead for our final 'end of run' treats for the 2020/2021 season. Rudy would like to point out to everyone what a "mellow & chill" adult he has become. Yes, our wild red boy has become Mr. Smooth :) But, don't worry, Rudy is always one woo away from his wild side :)

"Poke, poke - me first!" Zorro reminds me.
"What a fun season!" adds happy Jack.
"Chilling!" declares mellow Rudy.

An aerobic run in wet & heavy snow to end the season: 5.8 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH.

2020/2021 Season Total: 154 days on the trails covering 1253.2 miles with 107,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Thanks for sharing in the fun this season. Check back in June or July for our "2020/2021 Season in Review" highlight video.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Red Black

Yikes! The signs of "end of season" are starting to rapidly appear!

Yikes! Barely enough snow to for my skis (and Jack :)

The prior photo is actually quite interesting in the context of all our years skijoring. For the 8+ years I skijored with Max & Zorro, I frequently made mention of the following: note how Zorro goes to all extremes to keep his toes on snow whereas Max will drift onto exposed dirt in order to keep going forward. This "risk/reward" blog entry from years ago is one such example of this.

Now fast forward to 2021 and compare the prior photo to my history with Max & Zorro. The black boy (history: Zorro, current: Jack) goes to all extremes to keep toes on snow while the red boy (history: Max, current: Rudy) has no problem drifting onto the side dirt to keep trotting. It must be a "red vs black" thing :)

Back to this morning, given the deteriorating conditions we had a gentle trot up, across and down the Sally Barber Mine Trail. At one point along the stretch the kids decided to discuss whose fault it is that the conditions are deteriorating :)

"Your fault it is melting!" demands Rudy.
"Is not! Dare you to say that again!" responds Jack.

While the conditions on the trail around the mine are quickly deteriorating, we did have one unexpected and pleasant surprise this morning. The spring crust over French Creek was still intact and firm enough to hold our weight! I was completely expecting the crust to have been melted or not firm enough to hold us. But, look at this pleasant surprise:

Wheeee! Flying along the firm crust despite the large number
of bushes starting to poke through!

Look closely at the prior photo. Do you see the snow on Rudy's back? Do you see the snow on Jack's right side? How did then get snow on top of themselves? Well...

When you roll snow angels in wet/sticky snow you then have
snow on your back when you are done :)

Back to the surprise crust. Come along for a short & fun video clip of the morning surprise. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Done for this morning's short outing and Jack & Rudy are in goofy moods due to lack of sufficient exercise. Silly kids.

Chilling Rudy sitting up high on a snow wall.
Goofy Jack propped up sideways on a snow wall.
Veteran Zorro at full attention for 'end of run' treats.

Sad to report the season is winding down. We may only have one outing left. Today's condition shortened run: 4.4 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2020/2021 Season to Date: 153 days on the trails covering 1247.4 miles with 106,900 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, May 2, 2021


Everyone ok skijoring the spring crust atop Vail Pass for a third day in a row?

"Oh yes! We'll threepeat anything for toes on snow in May!" declares
the happy kids.

Yes, this morning was our third day in a row making use of the great conditions high up on Vail Pass. How great? Well, take a look at this incredible photo for May:

Jack & Rudy catching air atop a perfect and vast spring crust!

Once we got up over 600 feet in elevation, we were able to leave the vast meadows and skijor the crust through groves of trees. What fun!

Zipping along as the crust among the trees was perfect
and firm this morning too!

I mentioned yesterday that we had to navigate through exposed shrubbery at the lower elevation to begin and end the outing. Well, 24 hours later and we found we had to navigate through and around occasional patches of exposed shrubbery at the mid elevations of the outing too. Plants poking through at the lower and mid elevations now. Eek! But, here's a perfect shot of perfect Jack & Rudy getting together tight to navigate me through a shrubbery minefield. We all just barely fit through these occasional obstacles!

Jack, Rudy and my skis navigating the shrubbery minefield :)

Today's video highlight goes along with the prior photo. Come along as we are on really nice crust but have to navigate the occasional minefield of shrubbery along the way. Perfect navigation by all and perfect listening to me calling out "right" at two points along the way to avoid large bushes. Great skijor partners!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Fun shot of mentor Zorro spotting us approaching at the end of the morning run. Zorro always spots us as soon as we are in view and watches his mentees perform :)

"Nice work kids! Bring dad back, I have plans for him!" says
onlooking Zorro.


"Yes! End of run treat plans!" declares Zorro.
"Good idea big brother!" adds cute Jack & Rudy.

A nice threepeat of Vail Pass the last three days with today's outing covering 8.8 miles with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2020/2021 Season to Date: 152 days on the trails covering 1243.0 miles with 106,500 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, May 1, 2021


Beautiful morning to "catch air" skijoring atop the solid spring crust at Vail Pass!


We had so much fun yesterday skijoring Vail Pass that we returned again this morning. As I mentioned yesterday, we are getting into that time of year where the only snow left to skijor is on the high mountain passes in Colorado. Well, Vail Pass is one such high mountain pass, so we'll be using it as much as possible while the snow holds up.

But, the change in conditions near the trailhead from yesterday to today was quite shocking. Oh those warm melting afternoons we've been having! Getting in and out of this morning's skijor required a lot of careful navigation through shrubbery starting to poke through the snowpack. Good thing Jack & Rudy listen so well!

Yikes! Shrubbery!!!!! But, Jack & Rudy nicely following
my verbal commands to weave through the weeds.

Yet, once you get through the shrubbery down low, you see why we did it. Compare and contrast the prior and following photo of the conditions down low versus the conditions up high. Amazing difference!

Winding through the shrubbery to get to this up high
was well worth it!!! Wheeee!

Come along for today's fun video highlight. We start out flying along the perfect crust and then eventually transition into a ravine to fly through. So much fun up higher where the conditions are still incredible!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Today's "non skijoring" entertainment from the silly kids, Jack & Rudy: snow angels with a view :)

Pausing to roll snow angels nice mountain
views in the foreground.

Done for the day, time to celebrate with our favorite retired gentleman, Zorro!

"Ready!" declares focused Zorro.
"Patiently waiting our turn!" adds sweet Jack & Rudy.

Two days in a row getting in some really nice skijoring high up on Vail Pass. Today's tally: 9.6 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2020/2021 Season to Date: 151 days on the trails covering 1234.2 miles with 105,700 feet of elevation climbed.