Friday, October 29, 2021

Perfect Plan

Beautiful views to our right as we gallop along in a snowmobile track between Rabbit Ears Pass and Buffalo Pass!
Cruising along! The white patch you see down to our right are the
shores of Dumont Lake at the top of Rabbit Ears Pass. Yes, we
are this high above Rabbit Ears as we are returning from skijoring
halfway up from Rabbit Ears Pass to Buffalo Pass.

I had a great plan for our outing today and was really hoping the conditions matched my plan :) We started on a lesser used trail on Rabbit Ears Pass. This trail had evidence of a previous snowmobile track that was now covered in a couple inches of fresh snow. Perfect, we were able to lay fresh tracks along this section of trail for about 1-1.5 miles.
Freshies - Wheeee!

The trail we started on eventually connects with more popular trails on the pass. My hope was that we would find a snowmobile or ATV track to follow on the popular trails with a snowmobile track much preferred. Success again!
A wonderful solo snowmobile track to follow for miles & miles.

Rabbit Ears Pass and Buffalo Pass are two wonderful snow collecting passes in Colorado. By straight line, the passes are actually only about 7 miles apart. But, there is no "straight line trail" and, by snowmobile (or skis), it is roughly 15 miles of trails from Rabbit Ears up to the base of Buffalo Pass. The snowmobile track we found was on this path to Buffalo. 

We did not go all 15 miles to Buff, but, instead turned around after 7.1 miles and came back the same way. The result? Young Jack & Rudy's first ever 14+ mile skijor! Yes, the kids are full grown into professional sled dogs. I have lofty expectations for the two professionals this season as long as Mother Nature (i.e., the snow) matches our abilities!

After yesterday's breaking trail in 15+ inches of powder, Jack & Rudy were able to floor it today following this solo snowmobile track. Come along for a video glimpse into the fun. Wheeee!
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

7.1 miles out before 7.1 miles back - the kids needed to "cool their jets" rolling in snow before the return leg :)
Is it me or are Jack & Rudy's back feet touching?
Playing patty cakes while rolling snow angels, talented!

Zorro, of course, had run many 14+ mile skijors in the prime of his career - he's still accepting 'end of run treats' for past accomplishments :)
"Serve 'em up!" declares Zorro.
"Slurp, we can taste them in anticipation!" demonstrates the tongue
slurping kids.

What perfect day finding an endless snowmobile track between Rabbit Ears and Buffalo passes to cruise to young Jack & Rudy's longest skijor of their career: 14.2 miles traveled with 1100 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date; 6 days on the trails covering 43.9 miles with 4250 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

October POW Wow

Everyone approve of today's trail breaking skijor?

"I DOOOOO apprOOOOOve!" woos silly Rudy.
"Fun! Love breaking trail!" adds cool Jack.

Today was a real "POW Wow day" at Rabbit Ears Pass. A "POW day"? Well, that's breaking trail in upwards of 15 inches of fresh powder - POW. A "POW Wow day"? Well, it's still October!!! POW Wow!

We made our first outing of the 2021/2022 season on Rabbit Ears Pass today. Snow reports indicated there should be well above 9 inches of fresh snow on the trails. Well, we went to our favorite early season trail at Rabbit Ears, Harrison Creek (this trail tends to get the best early season snow totals), and we were thrilled to find ourselves first on the trail in what eventually ended up being 15+ inches of fresh powder!

Jack and Rudy broke trail out Harrison Creek:

POW go the powder plowing brothers.

Then after a very aerobic 2+ miles of extreme trail breaking, we turned around to run back in the track we set on the way out. 

Jack & Rudy, shoulder to shoulder, as they share the track we
set on the way out.

Now, in 12-15 inches of fresh snow, we certainly do not make a "set track" on the way out. Just two sled dogs and one set of skis cannot set a firm track in this much snow. But, we did carve enough of a trough in the snow for a fun, fun, fun ride back. Come along for the happy hard working kids towing me back through the trough we set on the way out. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

What could compete with the excitement of October trail breaking? Well, how about moose tracks in the deep snow too?!?!?

"Very fresh, smell great!" declares Jack dunking his head in
the moose tracks.
"Tasty indeed!" adds Rudy checking some tracks too.

Extreme October Trail Breaking - POW Wow! Let's get back to the trailhead to tell elder Zorro all about it!

"Yes, yes, 15 inches, we earned end of run treats!" declares all.

How deep was the snow all day today? Well, it slowed Jack & Rudy to a modest 4.1 mile outing. But, this was certainly more work than a 10-15 mile outing on groomed/packed trails! 4.1 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 15 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 5 days on the trails covering 29.7 miles with 3150 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Fresh Tracks

Turnaround, roll around from Jack high up on Boreas Pass :)

"Let me get this right... He's the mature older brother I'm supposed
to be taking after???
" smirks Rudy at our turnaround point.
"Yep, follow my lead - turnaround, roll around!" demonstrates always
rolling Jack.

After a 10 day October warm & dry spell, Mother Nature brought snow back yesterday and into this morning. It wasn't a ton of show, but enough to get back out on the skis if we got to the correct elevation. Well, when elevation is needed, Boreas Pass it is. We were thrilled to find ourselves laying fresh tracks all the way up!

Fresh tracks fun on Boreas Pass!

After an aerobic jog up Boreas, it was time to turnaround and head back down. Since Boreas is a road, there is plenty of space to lay fresh tracks up one side and then fresh tracks again down the other side!

Fresh tracks down. Wheeee!

Despite how beautiful the above photos look, the snow was actually a bit sticky and the dirt under the snow was not completely frozen. That means Jack & Rudy had to work hard to propel the large human through the soft/sticky conditions. No problem, Jack & Rudy enjoy the challenge! Come along for a quick glimpse into hard working Jack & Rudy as you can see their effort despite what ended up being moderate speed for them given the heavy human on sticky conditions. 

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Finally, our favorite part of the day: end of run treats with elder Zorro!

"You have my full attention!" Zorro is telling me.
"Fun day, fun day!" says happy Jack.
"Bored, I'm always third!" adds mellow Rudy.

A quick sunrise fun run up/down Boreas Pass: 5.5 miles traveled with 750 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 16 MPH. We can hardly wait for more snow to arrive so we can start getting in some long skijor runs! Pray for Snow!

2021/2022 Season to Date: 4 days on the trails covering 25.6 miles with 2550 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Fast Packed

Everybody having a great time skijoring Boreas Pass again this morning?

"Yes! I'm having a blast!" exclaims happy Jack.
"You bet, but why are we stopped?" adds Rudy.

After incredible conditions being first on Boreas yesterday morning, we returned with the hopes it had not deteriorated too much in 24 hours. Well, Boreas is still open to vehicles through October so, unfortunately, it had deteriorated a LOT in 24 hours! The reason we use Boreas Pass in October, despite being open to vehicles, is that we can drive the pass too and get up high enough in elevation to skijor in October. Trails lower in elevation have snow but not enough to ski or even dog sled. 

To avoid encountering vehicles, we start up the pass in the dark and begin our skijor outings just after sunrise:

Nice stretch of "vehicle packed" trail just after sunrise.

Despite lots of traffic in the last 24 hours, we did find some really nice stretches once we got up near 11,000 feet elevation. Here's our first "dual hover husky" shot of the season with Jack & Rudy hovering over the trail as we get into some nice speed. Notice my left ski in the loose snow and my right ski in the packed tire track: lean left to slow/control the ship, lean right to open up the throttle :)

The hover huskies are back!

Come along for a glimpse into a really nice stretch of vehicle packed trail near 11,000 feet elevation. Jack & Rudy truly understand when it is ok to open up the throttle and when they should tune it down a bit.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We had to drive very far up Boreas Pass Rd before we found conditions good enough to skijor. Unfortunately we were within 1.5 miles of treeline where we started. Once we reached treeline, the trail was very wind blown and void of snow - just ice. Skis & ice don't mix well :)

As a result we did 4 laps on Boreas: up 1.5 miles, down 1.3 miles, back up the same 1.3 miles and back down the same 1.5 miles. Sometimes Jack & Rudy will balk at repeating sections of trail but today the sides of trail were littered with elk tracks. Nothing like a little "scent of elk" to motivate you to go up, down, up and down the same short trail :)

Paused to inspect the numerous elk tracks just off trail.
"These smell very fresh!" states Jack.
"Where'd they go? Where'd they go?" asks Rudy studying the
tracks leading off into the trees.

Of course, going up/down/up/down means we had 3 turnaround points in the outing. That's way too many for the "turnaround, roll around" brothers to pass up:

Turnaround... Roll Around!

Back to celebrate a short but very fun outing with retired elder Zorro:

Rudy cracks me up in this photo! What a silly tongue!

A short, but fun, 5.6 mile outing with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH. It was short for Jack & Rudy's standards; but it was skijoring in October!

Unfortunately we are entering a string of warm days, so skijoring is on hold until Mother Nature brings us more! Pray for Snow!

2021/2022 Season Totals: 3 days on the trails covering 20.1 miles with 1800 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, October 15, 2021


Laying fresh tracks up Boreas Pass this morning. Wheeee!

New snow all to ourselves this morning!

But, wait, what is that in the bottom center of the prior photo? Yes, it's a "ski tip" and, yes, we were able to ditch the dog sled this morning and get out the skis for a wonderful skijor up/down Boreas Pass! We had the sled out for our first outing on Wednesday. But, with cool temperatures Wed/Thu and a new round of snow Thu night, we were able to break out the skis for our excursion up/down Boreas this morning! Yay!

Not only was there enough snow for skis; but we were also first on the trail this morning! It was a fresh tracks glide all the way up Boreas. The further we went, the more interesting it got...

How interesting? Well Jack & Rudy have their noses in a set of
moose tracks in this photo. You can make out one moose print next
to Rudy's right shoulder and then follow that line up the trail.

How interesting did it really get? Well, we found ourselves breaking trail in 8+ inches of fresh powder at our highest elevations on the trail this morning. Powder Fun!

Jack & Rudy powering through deep snow!

Come along for a quick video counterpart to the prior breaking trail photo. What powder plows! But, also look to our left and you'll see a set of tire tracks. While we were first tracks up Boreas, once we turned around, we encountered a Jeep coming up the pass (the road is open to vehicles June through October). Despite there being a tire track down the trail, Jack & Rudy wanted nothing to do with it and wanted to run in the deep powder outside the track all the way down. Powder plows!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

I stopped momentarily at one point to check our time out on the trail. Jack & Rudy quickly remembered what to do when the human pauses - the roll around twins!

"You pause, we roll snow angels! Wheeee!" demonstrates the
silly, silly kids.

Back down the pass and time to meet up with our favorite retired mentor, Zorro, for end of run treats!

"Ready!" declares focuses Zorro.
"Great day, waiting my turn!" adds happy Jack.
"Slurp, I can taste them with anticipation!" says silly Rudy.

Yay for the conditions to support skis on just our second outing of the season! 8.3 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 17 MPH. If it does not get too warm today, we might try for one more early morning run on Boreas tomorrow. After that we'll be in limbo waiting for the next storm to arrive. Pray for Snow!

2021/2022 Season Totals: 2 days on the trails covering 14.5 miles with 1200 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Season Opener

 Let the 2021/2022 Skijoring Season begin! Wheeee!

Pausing with Jack & Rudy to celebrate reaching the top of
Boreas Pass on the Continental Divide this morning!

While skijoring is our primary activity in the winter, sometimes we have to use the dog sled instead of skis to get out in early season conditions. Frequently our initial 1-3 outings are on the dog sled as the conditions are not good enough for skis. The sled can glide over frozen ground and bounce among exposed rocks, the skis cannot! 

But, it turns out that this was actually young Jack & Rudy's first time ever hooked to the dog sled. The lucky kids had me on skis every other season opener of their lives (Jack is 4, Rudy is 3). What did Jack & Rudy think of the sled? 

"If it glides on snow, we pull it!" demonstrates the youngsters in 
perfect form on their first ever sled outing.

Most of my footage usually comes from the GoPro on my chest. But, as you see above, when I'm on the sled, a lot of the action is blocked by the sled and my arms and Jack & Rudy are often completely blocked from view. No problem, though, look at what I have mounted on the sled handlebar above - a secondary camera! So, with the sled, I often get better shots from the secondary camera than the primary on my chest:

Nice shot from the secondary camera of Jack & Rudy flying
along near the summit of Boreas Pass.

Today's video highlight goes along with the prior photo and comes from the secondary camera. Come along as we are gliding along the trail near the summit of Boreas Pass. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Today was Jack's 485th "skijor outing" (ok, 484 skijors and 1 dog sled outing :) - well, he kept his record intact, he has rolled at least one snow angel on every single one of the 485 outings. What a silly goof!

"You didn't really think my streak would stop, did you?" says
silly Jack as he rolls his patented snow angels.

Back to the trailhead to meet up with our favorite retired mentor, Zorro. The 13 year old still loves joining us for "end of run treats" after every outing!

"Yum, just as good as I remember!" says treat taking Zorro.
"Me next!" Jack is telling me.
"I see the stash in your hand!!!!" declares Rudy.

A fun dog sled run to the summit of Boreas Pass and back to start the 2021/2022 season: 6.2 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 14 MPH.

Pray for Snow!