Sunday, November 28, 2021

24 Again

Another Day, Another 24 MPH Skijor! Zoom!

Jack & Rudy flying along the fast nordic trails. Zoom!

I have been mentioning that the Colorado snowpack is far less than normal for the end of November. I've been omitting most ugly photos from our blog as it is more fun to showcase the good stretches of snow we do find on our outings. But, today, I had to show the following, yikes:

"Hey dad, wasn't this snow covered yesterday?!?" asks puzzled Jack & Rudy.

Yes indeed, the same patch of trail you see in the prior photo was snow covered just yesterday morning! This photo gives you an indication of the thin (to disappearing) cover we have at lower elevations and/or terrain exposed to afternoon (warm) sun. Yikes!

Now, compare the prior photo to the following. Wow, the difference is night and day! The prior photo was on the most sun exposed and lower elevation of our outing. The following photo is near our highest elevation and least sun exposed section of trail. What a difference! Hard to image we could crawl over ice & rocks at one point and floor it past 24 MPH at another point on the same outing!

Upper & sun protected trail - zoom!

Here we go with a great video clip of Jack & Rudy flying along the beautiful upper trails. While the two kids are really flying this whole clip, pay attention to the last 20 seconds or so as you see the speed demons kick it into another gear and zoooom!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Ok guys, we have an option. Go back & forth and back & forth on the perfect section of upper trail or loop around and deal with more of the lower, sun exposed and snow disappearing trail. Typically Jack & Rudy don't like to repeat the same section of trail. They'll give me a "boring, already did this" yawn or woo if I try to repeat too much. But, not today, given the difference in trail conditions!

"Repeat! Yes, Repeat! We love snow!" declares my happy partners
showing me their approval of turning to repeat the good trail instead
of wandering back towards the ugly sections down lower :)

Here's a new one from Jack (just when you thought you had the cracker all figured out :) We encountered some moose tracks on the side of the trail. Rudy did the usual "sniff inspection" of the tracks; but Jack, on the other hand, decided to roll snow angels in the moose tracks today. That's a new one from Cracker Jack!

"Sniff, fresh!" declares Rudy.
"So fresh I need to roll in them!" adds Cracker Jack.
Despite the apparent freshness of these tracks, we never saw the actual moose.

So fun to bring our favorite retired gentleman back into the team for 'end of run' treats!!!

"As usual, I'm front & center!" states elder Zorro.
"We are happy to yield to Zorro!" declares polite Jack & Rudy who
have so much respect for their retired mentor who taught them
how to skijor.

An ugly day on lower and/or sun exposed terrain versus a super fast day on upper & sun protected terrain! 8.1 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 20 days on the trails covering 155.3 miles with 14,900 feet of elevation climbed.


Saturday, November 27, 2021

24 MPH

Topping 24 MPH as we were first tracks on the freshly groomed trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center. Zoom!

Fast kids flying along the fresh groomie zoomie!

As I've been mentioning in recent posts, we do not have the best late November snowpack; but we have been making use of the few places where the snow has collected and is pretty protected from afternoon sun. The upper elevation trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center are one such group of trails. To our surprise and delight, we were first on the trails this morning after they had just finished grooming. A fresh groomie zoomie all to ourselves! Wow! You know what that means... Yep, our top speed of this early 2021/2022 season this morning: 24 MPH!

The groomed trails, though, only account for about 5 miles of skijoring. Jack & Rudy laugh at such short runs :) As a result, we spent some time off the groomie zoomie and touring around the slightly used side trails. 

Not groomed here, but we are still zooming :)

Come along for a peek into what skiing behind 24 MPH sled dogs looks like! You'll notice you see quite a bit of my waist hook and carabiner hooking to the gangline. When you see this much of my equipment, you know I am in a serious skiing tuck to keep pace. You'll also notice me swinging out wide right & left as we approach tight curves in the trail. I need to sweep out and back into corner at 24 MPH; unlike Jack & Rudy who take each such curve tight & fast! Hang on Human! Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

The kids ground to a halt at one point to inspect moose tracks crossing the trail. My original thought was, "Oh no, we are NOT following moose tracks on the trail until we run into a big body around some blind corner!" Luckily, the moose crossed and exited pretty quickly back into the trees!

"Oh fresh, moose entered here!" says Jack on the side of the trail.
"Yep, and crossed here!" adds track inspecting Rudy.

With a fresh groomed trail, Jack & Rudy were flying around today. That leads to serious snow angels to cool the jets whenever the human pauses.

I paused to check our time out on the trails.
"Paused time, roll around time!" declares silly Jack & Rudy.

Finally, our usual "end of run fun" with retired mentor Zorro.

"Yep, those look like the right end of run treats!" declares Zorro.
"Remember me over here!" says Jack peeking around my shoulder.
"Bring them on!" adds happy Rudy waiting his turn.

A wonderfully fast run today being first tracks on a groomie zoomie: 8.6 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 19 days on the trails covering 147.2 miles with 14,100 feet of elevation climbed.


Friday, November 26, 2021

Backside

Nice view as we stop at a "vertical drop" on a side trail this morning.

"Nice view, but time to turnaround!" I am saying.
"What's wrong with the vertical drop in front of us? Come on Dad!" suggests
Jack & Rudy looking over the edge :)

We have had a slow start to this 2021/2022 season with less than average snow on all our trails. To date, we've been doing high elevation and known snow deposits for our outings: Boreas Pass, Rabbit Ears Pass and Peak 7 near/above 11,000 feet elevation. Today we decided to venture down and see what some of the lower trails were looking like. Well, we still need more snow!

On the sun exposed side of Prospect Hill, we encountered numerous patches of thin (to no) snow cover for slow and cautious skiing. Luckily, Jack & Rudy slow to my speed whenever we encounter sketchy conditions!

All three of us hugging the right side of the trail trying to find enough
snow for my skis to continue!

But, after a series of up/downs (mostly ups) on the sunny, front side of Prospect Hill, we transitioned to the backside. Wow, what a difference! First, the backside only gets a quick shot of early morning sun and is then shaded from the hot afternoon sun. Second, not many people make it to the backside as it is far from town. 

The result? Well we were finally treated to some great conditions following a snowmobile track on the backside of Prospect Hill! Yay!

Finally on some good conditions as Jack & Rudy are opening up
the throttle and catching air in a soft snowmobile track.

A little further along and an even better result... Untouched snow for a few miles once we got far away from the popular frontside of Prospect Hill.

Perfect conditions the further we went!

Come along for a fresh tracks romp along the backside of Prospect Hill. Jack & Rudy are so in tune with my skis, it is fun to watch. Note how they slow (without command) whenever they hear the skis scraping or feel me slowing a bit for safe passage. Such fun partners! Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Let's go tell Zorro about the front vs back side of Prospect Hill!

"I remember - front side has too much sun for thin cover!" Zorro is telling me.
"But we still had fun!!!" adds happy Jack and extremely focused Rudy.

Unfortunately, we still need more snow for trails that are not high mountain passes or high elevation terrain. So, this morning was a creative beginning with some nice stretches once we finally got onto the backside of Prospect Hill: 7.9 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 18 days on the trails covering 138.6 miles with 13,200 feet of elevation climbed.


Thursday, November 25, 2021

Groomie Zoomie

Our first "groomie zoomie" trail of this early 2021/2022 Skijor Season! Zoom!

Jack & Rudy catching air as they topped 23 MPH skijoring this morning
on our first groomed trail of the season. Zoom!

We finally have enough snow for Breckenridge Nordic Center to begin grooming some of the upper elevation trails. There is still not enough snow for them to groom all trails, but they were able to set a nice & fast groom track on the inner loop of the two loops on the upper elevation trails on Peak 7. 

Unfortunately the "inner loop" is not nearly enough exercise for Jack & Rudy, so we ventured out & up onto the soft powder past where the groomer had been. A fun mix of fast groomed trails and soft, slightly used, powder trails all morning long!

In the soft & slightly used powder as we cruise by the Kathy's Viewpoint
Warming Hut.

But, the groomed inner loop made for a lot of fun flirting this morning. When the trails are groomed, the people start to come out and use them too. Jack & Rudy love flirting with crowds on the trail. We had the chance to interact with 8 people today (3 groups of 2, 2 groups of 1) and put smiles on all 8 faces :) 

"Coming on by! Made you smile!" says Jack & Rudy flying on pair
this pair of skiers coming up the trail.

Today's video highlight showcases the fun combination of terrain this morning. We start out on soft & slightly used terrain until we transition onto the groomed surface and GO, GO, GO! Groomie Zoomie.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Turnaround. Roll around...

Cooling the jets rolling snow angels at our turnaround point of the morning.

Back to join up with elder, retired Zorro for end of run treats. Nice snow covered peaks in the background!

"Ready!" declares the focused trio.

Our first groomed trail of the season led to our top speed of the season: 23 MPH. We look forward to our regular 24-26 MPH outings once the conditions are perfect; but 23 on "just ok" trails is pretty good! 9.7 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 17 days on the trails covering 130.7 miles with 12,300 feet of elevation climbed.


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Let it Snow

Jack is now 500 for 500 on skijors in his young career :)

"Timeout.... Roll around!" demonstrates Jack the goofball.
"Boring! Can we go yet?!?" asks yawning Rudy.

500 for 500? You ask? Well, today's was 4 year old Jack's 500th skijor of his young career. Today was also the 500th straight time that goofy Jack has rolled at least one snow angel on the skijor outing. 500 for 500 - pretty impressive! No wonder we affectionately call him "Jack on Crack" sometimes :)

Anyway, back to this morning's fun outing. It started snowing a bit before sunrise and then really picked in intensity after sunrise. The forecast was not as good as the snow. It's been snowing for close to 6 hours now with no end in sight. Yay. Today found us laying fresh tracks on the upper elevation trails of Peak 7 for miles and miles of fun:

Laying fresh tracks as we zoom along the upper Peak 7 trails. Wheeee!

The reward for laying fresh tracks all the way out was that we got to run in our tracks all the way back. Zoom, zoom, zoom!

Flying along in the tracks we set 15-20 minutes ago.

The highlight of the day, though, was the super deep powder stash we found at our highest elevation of the outing. While most of the lower terrain found us laying fresh tracks in 2-4 inches of snow, the powder cache we found up high had roughly 2 feet of untouched snow! Wow!

Jack & Rudy blasting through 2 feet of powder cache!

After a super fun romp through the deep powder, it was time to turn back. As we paused to turnaround, Jack caught the "scent of moose" deep in the forest. I saw tracks far away while Jack's nose caught the scent. Rudy took the chance to stand in the deep tracks we carved to show off our trail breaking fun.

"I smell moose!" declares forest inspecting Jack.
"Look at me standing in these cool & deep tracks we carved!" adds Rudy.
That's some pretty deep tracks we made that Rudy is showing off :)

Despite those super deep photos above, we actually spent the majority of the day on 2-4 inches of snow. A nice layer of snow for the human to control the skis and a nice layer of snow for Jack & Rudy to run for miles. Come along for a video highlight of the great morning!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

What fun - fresh tracks to deep powder, all on the same outing. Let's tell Zorro all about it:

"I remember my powder days!" sweet Zorro is telling me.
"Great fun and I'm 500 for 500!" adds proud Jack.
"Fresh snowflakes, tasty!" contributes silly Rudy.

A mostly fast & furious outing with a surprise powder cache to plow through at our highest elevations! 9.6 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 16 days on the trails covering 121.0 miles with 11,300 feet of elevation climbed.

 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Fast Packed

Happy kids flashing me a smile at a momentary pause this morning.

"We're having a blast!" declares the happy kids.

We spent the morning doing laps on the fast packed trail along Dumont Lake at Rabbit Ears Pass. The trail had been well traveled by snowmobiles and SUVs and was very fast packed! How fast, well Jack & Rudy were airborne with speed today :)

Nice of Jack & Rudy to hover out of the shade and into the sun to showcase
their hover husky abilities.

Second lap back/forth by Dumont Lake, a little cloud cover this pass; but same result from Jack & Rudy:

Yep, still zooming along. Hey look, the upper left is Rabbit Ears Peak with
the two rocks atop being the ears of Rabbit Ears Pass.

Come along for a video ride along the thin cover near Dumont Lake this morning. But, it was enough cover to uncork the skijoring engine and fast packed for Jack & Rudy to fly! If you can take your eyes off impressive Jack & Rudy, the peak in the upper left that is coming in/out of view is Rabbit Ears Peak and the rocks on top are the ears of Rabbit Ears Pass. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

After the fast packed laps near the lake, we got an unexpected treat to finish the run on a lesser used side trail. Woo Hoo fresh powder to finish the morning run!

Powder poofs!

Zorro! Thanks for coming to pick us up!

"You can rely on me!" states focused Zorro.
"I'm ready too!" adds happy Jack.
"Am I still third?!?" ponders Rudy.

A fast packed 7.6 miles with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH near Dumont Lake this morning.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 15 days on the trails covering 111.4 miles with 10,300 feet of elevation climbed.


Monday, November 22, 2021

Half and Half

Taking a quick break to roll snow angels after carving our own track through the backcountry snow!

We just turned around to start back and Jack & Rudy need to "stop, drop and roll"
first to cool off before restarting. Fun shot of the ski & foot prints we just
carved in the fresh snow before turning around.

It was a great "half and half" day skijoring from Rabbit Ears Pass towards Buffalo Pass and then returning the same route.

The beginning and ending of the outing found us flying along miles of snowmobile tracks. Zoom!

Jack &  Rudy flying along in the snowmobile tracks.

But, to our surprise, we out-skied all existing snowmobile tracks and found ourselves, as you saw in the first photo, setting our own path in miles of untouched snow. What a treat!

Wow, look at the untouched powder cache we found to explore!!! Fun!

Today's video highlight is a glimpse into our fun carving our own tracks in miles of untouched snow. What an aerobic workout!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

The only thing that can top "fresh snow"? Well, how about fresh moose tracks! As we were returning, we encountered some moose tracks on the trail that were NOT on the trail on our initial pass by this section of trail. So, somewhere in the 30-ish minutes between our out & back on this section of trail, a moose had entered the trail, walked for a bit and then exited the trail. 

"These are VERY fresh moose prints!" declares smart Jack & Rudy!

Back to the trailhead to enjoy 'end of run' treats with Zorro at the official Rabbit Ears Pass Marker. Typically, you cannot drive to this marker by late Nov until sometime in June. But, with our light snowpack in November,  we were able to drive Zorro to the marker and start/stop here and enjoy our treats at one of Zorro's favorite "points of interest".

"Ah, the rabbit marker! How about some treats?" suggests Zorro.
"Glad old man Z is with us at the fun marker!" adds Jack & Rudy who
each had many training/learning-to-skijor outings with Zorro which
involved pausing at or passing by this fun marker.

A very entertaining outing this morning: fast times on snowmobile tracks, aerobic times laying fresh tracks out/back in the backcountry and then fast times again returning on the snowmobile tracks: 12.3 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 14 days on the trails covering 103.8 miles with 9800 feet of elevation climbed.

 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Freshies

Laying fresh tracks all morning long atop Rabbit Ears Pass!

Perfect conditions, freshies all to ourselves, beautiful sled dogs!

We got out early on the trails at Rabbit Ears in hopes of getting some fresh tracks fun before running into others and/or existing tracks. Well, we more than exceeded our expectations. We did a large loop near and around Dumont Lake and were laying fresh tracks the entire outing! We did not see another soul or even a set track from a recent traveler. Just new snow all to ourselves! Wheeee!

Opposite direction from the prior photo (look a the shadows :) but still
untouched snow all to ourselves.

Turning again as we loop around Dumont Lake. Third verse, same as first: fresh tracks in wonderful new snow all to ourselves!

Wheeee!

Today's video highlight? Well, what else except a nice clip of Jack & Rudy laying fresh tracks as they propel me through the morning's fresh snow.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We had to make a sharp left turn at one point to continue around Dumont Lake. Well, hard lefts requires the human on skis to slow and/or pause briefly. Well, slow down or stop, same result from Jack & Rudy.

Apparently I was going slow enough to perform a hard left on skis
that Jack & Rudy thought I stopped. Stop time (or even slow turn time)
is goofball snow angel roll around time :)

Back to the trailhead to tell retired mentor Zorro all about the morning fun. Zorro is always ready to listen to me. Jack & Rudy? Well, they listen "on trail" so I guess they can be in la-la-land once we are stopped at the trailhead.

"Glad you came back!" says handsome elder Zorro.
"La la!" adds Jack & Rudy.

A fun & aerobic fresh tracks morning: 7 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 13 days on the trails covering 91.5 miles with 8800 feet of elevation climbed.


Thursday, November 18, 2021

Perfect Listening

Nice shot of Jack & Rudy "catching air" on this morning's skijor!

All 8 feet off the ground as the kids are in a fast "sprint tuck" cruising
along the perfect trail.

We returned to the trails on Peak 7 this morning after yesterday's very entertaining outing. We only had time for a short run this morning and knew the conditions would have deteriorated some since yesterday; but we were willing to try and get a quick early sunrise skijor. There is a large loop that will become part of Breckenridge Nordic Center once there is enough snow to groom. Yesterday we did an out/back on the upper 2/3 of the loop and today we did an out/back on the lower 1/3 of the loop. We were happily surprised to find we out-skied all existing tracks on the lower loop and were able to lay fresh tracks for a nice stretch of the outing!

Fresh tracks - wheeee! Fresh snow all to ourselves.

On today's lower loop, we pass by some of the nordic center warming huts. Jack & Rudy have two uses for the warming huts.

Use #1: A warming hut is a "cooling destination" for Siberian Huskies :) 

"Ah, yes, rolling snow angels to cool off at the warming hut!" demonstrates
the silly kids who almost always stop, drop & roll at this hut!

Use #2: an object to "fly on by" on the trails. If not stopping to roll, Jack & Rudy use the huts are targets to fly by.

Not rolling, so we must be flying :)

Today's video highlight is a great example of perfect Jack & Rudy listening to me on the trails. Come along as we are flying along a nice stretch of trail. Then, about 30ish seconds into this clip and we approach a very thin layer of snow over lots of rocks (some exposed). A simple "easy, easy" from me and Jack & Rudy slow to walk over the thin snow & rocks (thus keeping the human upright). Finally, I exit the danger zone and a simple "Ok" from me and Jack & Rudy take off again. Incredible listening and teamwork to keep the human on skis upright through a danger zone!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

So proud to return to the trailhead and tell elder/mentor Zorro about the kids' incredible listening skills on the trails this morning!

"Really? They listened?!?!" asks stunned Zorro :)
"Yep, all ears over here!' adds Jack & Rudy.

A short but very fun run this morning: 5.1 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 12 days on the trails covering 84.5 miles with 8300 feet of elevation climbed.


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Dive

Jack & Rudy's first "rodent dives" of the 2021/2022 season :)

"Rodents under the snow off trail! Incoming!" demonstrates the
rodent diving duo.

If you have followed along the last couple of seasons, you recall that Rudy is known for his high arching (fox like) rodent dives off trail into deep snow. Well, the snowpack is not too deep yet, so you'll notice Rudy is simply arching, not high arching, in this morning's rodent dive. Jack is doing his usual "rodent lunge" as his dives are much lower and closer to the ground. A little more snow and a little more practice and I know Rudy will be back to his patented, high arching dives!

Today's outing took us to the upper elevation trails on Peak 7 of the 10 Mile Range. The trails we were on will become groomed as part of Breckenridge Nordic Center once there is enough snow to use a groomer. But, in the meantime, it was just Jack, Rudy & I laying fresh tracks on the summer service road that is not yet nordic groomed. We were thrilled to find ourselves laying fresh tracks in 1-3 inches of new snow all morning!

Laying fresh tracks as we head out and up the snow covered service road.

We did an "out & back" skijor today. With a wide trail, we were able to hug the right side of the trail both directions and, thus, find ourselves laying fresh tracks out & back. Wheeee!

Laying fresh tracks on the right side of the trail as your see our
"fresh out tracks" to the left of the trail.

Come along for a "video minute" glimpse into the morning's fun. There was just enough snow to let Jack & Rudy open the throttle for multiple long stretches this morning. Fun!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Fun, fun outing, right guys?

"Oh yes!!!!" declares super happy Rudy.
"Yes, yes, having a blast, here I come!" adds happy Jack.

The prior photo was taken at our turnaround point on the trail. Yes, you guessed it, Jack & Rudy have just finished rolling "turnaround snow angels" before flashing me these happy faces. Notice the big snow angel Jack rolled just in front of him (he is coming up from his roll in the photo :)

Back to the trailhead for end of run treats with elder Zorro. How tight can we get as a "treat awaiting trio"?

Pretty tight! All eyes on me!

A fun romp on the snow covered service roads on Peak 7 this morning: 6.9 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 11 days on the trails covering 79.4 miles with 7800 feet of elevation climbed.