Friday, January 21, 2022

Trail Juncture

Trail juncture... Goofy kids... 

Shall we go left, right or "stop, drop & roll"?
Did you know there are three options at every fork in the road: left, right or roll?

The difference between myself and Jack & Rudy at a trail juncture? Human at the trail juncture, "Let's pause to check our 'time on trail' to decide which way to go." Goofballs (or silly kids or cracker boxes or 4 year olds :) at the trail juncture, "You paused! Stop, drop and roll!!!!!" That pretty much sums up the difference :)

From the GPS, our top speed on the trail this morning: 25 MPH. Zoom!

Zippy Zoom! Wheeee!

We had a great morning flying around the upper elevation trails of Breckenridge Nordic Center. With a 1/2 to 1 inch of new snow, the conditions were absolutely perfect. We were not first on the trails after the fresh snow, but were 2nd or 3rd tracks most of the day. With such fast & fun conditions, we made multiple passes on various stretches of trail to get the most out of the outing.

Pass 1: fast going Jack & Rudy with the town of Breckenridge far down to our right.

Zooming again!

Pass 2: flip the order from Jack & Rudy to Rudy & Jack. But, second pass, same as the first: zoom!

Still zooming, still peeking at Breck far down below us to our right.

Today's video highlight is a nice "glide to the finish" of today's skijor with Jack & Rudy. The video might not look like much; but it makes me proud to watch my teammates. Keep in mind that we are approaching an often busy trailhead (busy with people and dogs), so Jack & Rudy need to listen to my commands to slow or accelerate through the potentially busy terrain. Also notice the perfect transition to the narrow finish lane and the perfect STOP on my "wait" command to end the day. What great skijor partners!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Such a fun team, let's report back to retired mentor Zorro:

"I taught them well, huh?" asks focused Zorro.
"We LOVE behaving while zooming!" adds my perfect teammates!

Fun times on fast trails! 9.4 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 25 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 66 days on the trails covering 534.3 miles with 50,300 feet of elevation climbed.


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Packed

The trails around Sally Barber Mine were VERY hard & fast packed this morning!

Cresting by the historic mine on hard packed snow.

It was an interesting outing around Sally Barber Mine today primarily because I had NO brakes all day long! My usual brake is to snowplow in loose or soft snow or to take myself into deep snow. Well, the trails were hard packed from lots of recent use while the shoulders were punchy from warm days/cold nights. As a result, well, I had no brakes! Good thing Jack & Rudy listen to my verbal cues!

The less popular back side of Sally Barber Mine - hard & fast packed terrain!

The popular, front side of Sally Barber Mine - SUPER hard & fast packed! No brakes today!

Whew, this hard packed surface sure gave my legs a workout!

We did multiple laps up, down & around Sally Barber Mine this morning. Laps often involve stopping and turning around. Turning around often involves goofy Jack & Rudy :)

Turnaround = Roll Around! demonstrates the goofy kids.

Come along for some "hard packed, no brakes" skijoring in today's video highlight. Good thing Jack & Rudy are such good partners and listeners. It's also a good thing we did not run into the one thing that causes them to NOT listen - moose! These trails in are in moose country, so I was on high alert rounding every blind corner as I had no brakes for moose emergencies (except to throw my body down :) Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Whew, that was a fun albeit wild day on super packed terrain. Let's go report in with retired mentor Zorro:

"Glad they kept you alive!" says focused Zorro.
"Hey, we listened and slowed when you asked!!!" reports good, good
Jack & Rudy!

A day of working the human's legs to try and keep under control on super packed trails! 8.4 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 65 days on the trails covering 524.9 miles with 49,300 feet of elevation climbed.


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Keystone Gulch

Watching a chairlift at Keystone Ski Resort from Keystone Gulch Road!

"Interesting! Why not use sled dogs to tow you up instead?" asks curious
Jack & Rudy inspecting the chairlift running people up the mountain.

This morning was brand new for Jack & Rudy as we skijored Keystone Gulch Road at the edge of Keystone Ski Resort. Normally, we are never as far away from Breckenridge as Keystone. But, we had some errands to run on the other side of the county, so found ourselves near Keystone once done with our chores. Well, since we were in Keystone, we might as well skijor Keystone Gulch Road!

Keystone Gulch Road serves two purposes (in winter). First, it is a service road for Keystone Ski Resort to run snowcats and snowmobiles up the edge of the resort with supplies and other jobs. Second, it is a recreation road for cross country skiers and snowshoers. Therefore, it was a wide & snowmobile packed trail for the majority of our outing. Jack & Rudy know what to do on wide & fast packed trails!

Zooming along Keystone Gulch Road.

What is really cool, though, is the upper section of Keystone Gulch. Eventually this road turns into part of Keystone Ski Resort as a trail connecting the base of two different chairlifts. As a result, they groom this section of the road for skiers on the resort to connect between lifts & trails. Well, Jack & Rudy know what to do on a freshly groomed trail - ZOOM!

Flying on by an uphill skier as we are now on groomed Keystone Gulch Road
that is serving as part of the ski resort too!

Today's video highlight goes along with the prior photo - groomie zoomie trail. The clip starts with us around a corner watching the chairlift you see in the first photo. Since we cannot ski up into the lift area, I instruct Jack & Rudy to turnaround. Well, they turn and suddenly it is a groomie zoomie so Jack & Rudy literally take off to sprint the groomie. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Today was the first time young Jack & Rudy have ever been on (or even near) Keystone Gulch Road. I have skijored it once with Max & Zorro in the past (last time we had chores to do near Keystone in the winter :) and I've hiked it a handful of time in summer with Max & Zorro. Well, Jack & Rudy fully approved of Keystone Gulch Road. From fast snowmobile packed to resort groomed, it was perfect. In case you were wondering, the snow in Keystone is just as nice for snow angels as the snow in Breckenridge :)

"Yep, we can 'stop, drop & roll' in Keystone too!" declares the
snow rolling goofballs.

A fun day showing Jack & Rudy some new terrain, right Zorro?

"Ah yes, Max & I loved the occasional trip to Keystone too!" says focused Zorro.
"New terrain, same results! Wheeee!' declares Rudy.
"Hey, don't forget me back here!" adds patient Jack.

A fun & zippy new outing for Jack & Rudy: 7.2 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 64 days on the trails covering 516.5 miles with 48,500 feet of elevation climbed.


Monday, January 17, 2022

26 MPH

Topping 26 MPH skijoring behind Jack & Rudy this morning! Zoom!

The speedy kids catching air on the fast, fast groomie zoomie trail.
The top speed registered on the GPS in the upper left - 26.4 MPH. Zoom!

We started the morning on side trails near Gold Run Nordic Center and did some touring on these lesser used trails as a warmup before dropping into the nordic center:

Getting in our "warmup laps" on the fast packed, although somewhat narrow,
side trails. Wheeee!

Eventually, we dropped into the nordic center and were thrilled to find a freshly groomed trail with no existing tracks! "Woo hoo!" we thought, "wonder if we'll catch the groomer out on the trails?" Sure enough, after doing a little speeding on the fresh groom, we caught the groomer from behind (Jack & Rudy are faster than a groomer :)

"Hey - the groomer! Here we come pal!" says the groomer followers.

We followed the groomer for a short distance before coming to a fork in the trail. The groomer went right so Jack, Rudy and I went left. Our left took us into a large loop and we knew if we did the loop then we'd get back to the same point, after giving the groomer a 20 minute head start, and have the fresh groomie zoomie to sprint along in our second pass on this section of trail. Our plan was perfect:

Second pass on this stretch of trail after giving the groomer a chance
to run along the trail between our 1st and 2nd pass. Zoom!

Jack & Rudy (as well as Zorro, Jack & Rudy and Max & Zorro before that) tend to top 26 MPH skijoring a few times each season. Max & Zorro even hit 27 MPH once! Anyway, we've been flirting with 26 this season as the kids topped 25 MPH twice and 24 MPH 6 times. I knew it was only a matter of time before the conditions were perfect for us to top 26. Well, today was the day! I actually think we topped 26 twice today on two different sections of freshly groomed trail. The first speed segment goes along with the prior photo and the second speed segment goes with the first photo above. One segment was in the morning shade and the other was in the sun. So, we'll use the sun segment to highlight today as it is prettier :)

So, here we go! Come along for the video of the speedy kids topping 26 MPH on the perfect trail in the pretty morning sun. Zoom and wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

What a glorious fast & fun day, right guys?

"All in a day's work! Happy to provide the speed entertainment!" says
the proud & happy kids at a turnaround point on the trail.

Zoom, zoom, let's go tell retired mentor Zorro all about it!

"Ah, I remember the speed days myself!" says super focused Zorro.
"Piece of cake on a groomie zoomie!" adds satisfied Jack & Rudy.
Note, Jack is not really this much shorter than Rudy; Rudy is sitting
on a snow hump to look very tall next to Jack :)

Speeding on the groomie zoomies today! 10.4 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 26 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 63 days on the trails covering 509.3 miles with 47,900 feet of elevation climbed.


Sunday, January 16, 2022

Sightseeing

Great morning to get away from the busy weekend crowds and take in the views from the backcountry!

Pretty shot of the mountains and ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort
across the valley from us. Nice shot of cruising Jack & Rudy too :)

We are in the middle of the busy, busy MLK 3-day weekend, so we decided to visit some lesser known trails this morning in hopes of enjoying a peaceful skijor in the backcountry without crowds. It was a smashing success. As you'll see in the photos, we were following some snowmobile tracks all morning. But, these were certainly tracks from another local, like us, as we were on pretty secret (i.e., not "tourist published") terrain all morning. This made for a very peaceful skijor with great views along the way!

Here we have a nice shot of Jack & Rudy cruising along as Baldy Mountain is in view to our far right. We spent yesterday on Baldy at & below treeline doing laps as we entertained the crowds.

So peaceful to look at popular & busy Baldy from a distance!

Our route took us deep into the forest to pass by many old "mining cabins" leftover from the mining heydays in the 1800s in & around Breckenridge:

Cool old cabin to the left and Jack & Rudy cruise on by.

Then, out of the trees for a bit and into view comes big Mt. Guyot. This mountain is the home to Georgia Pass and the ghost town of Parkville (once the busiest mining town in Summit County)!

The trees have parted and there is big Mt. Guyot dead ahead!

Finally, we conclude the sightseeing with the video counterpart of the first photo. Come along as I am gliding behind Jack & Rudy as Breckenridge Ski Resort comes into view. Pretty views, pretty mountains and some pretty cool clouds in the sky this morning.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Jack & Rudy's favorite view? Hmmm...

"We love the view of snow in our eyes as we roll snow angels!" declares
the goofball kids.

Back to the trailhead and time to gather the crew for 'end of run' treats. Everybody ready?

"Ready, set, dish out the treats!" exclaims the happy, happy threesome.

What a peaceful way to spend a busy holiday Sunday off the beaten track: 9.2 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 62 days on the trails covering 498.9 miles with 47,100 feet of elevation climbed.


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Entertainers

Flying on by as the skier steps aside and pulls out her smartphone to record the handsome sled dogs propelling the crazy human downhill :)

"CHEESE!" says flirty Rudy flashing a smile for the video :)
"Coming through!" adds all business Jack.

It is a busy holiday weekend and the trails sure reflected that this morning! Despite cold morning temperatures in the single digits, we found the trailhead quite busy with backcountry enthusiasts as we got out early to start our skijor. Jack & Rudy LOVE to flirt with crowds of people and this was a dream of flirtation for them this morning. Rudy, as only Rudy does, was convinced the entire parking lot was full of people coming to see HIM! He was wooing at everyone and anyone who would listen as we got ourselves ready to go. Actually, "listen" was irrelevant to Rudy this morning - he was wooing at everyone and anyone regardless if you were listening :)

"Woo!" says Rudy to the group across the lot.
"Hey dude! Cool gear!" adds just as nosey & flirtatious, but quiet, Jack :)

I was getting my gear out of the Jeep and put on, so I don't have great video of all the people at the trailhead and Rudy's serenade to the crowd; but it was busy with LOTS of wooing from the comical redhead. 

With Jack & Rudy towing me, we flew up the mountain faster than the rest of the groups. But, we did two laps around the main trail so were able to reconnect with all of Jack & Rudy's new fans on both passes along the trail.

"You again! Woo again!" says Rudy tossing a woo to his left.
"Cool Jack cruising on by!" adds quietly entertaining Jack :)

The most comical point of the morning is the video counterpart of the prior photo. These three skiers were in the parking lot when we were getting started and all got an earful (or two or three) of woos from Rudy. Now, if your volume is up very loud, listen closely. The first woo you hear is actually the guy in front of this group calling out a woo to us as we approach. Well, a single woo is all it takes to flip Rudy's woo horn ON. Listen as he tosses a couple of woos back as we fly on by. Oh that silly, wooing Rudy!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]


It was a very busy day for the entertainers, Jack & Rudy, putting smiles and awws on the faces of everyone out on the trails. As professional entertainers, Jack & Rudy can work with any size crowd :)

"Hi! Bye! Made you smile!" demonstrate Jack & Rudy entertaining
a solo skier.

Small crowds, big crowds, no difference - we can entertain any venue of fans!

5 people, 5 smiles as we fly on by again. We got a lot of cheers
and wows from this group. But, nobody wooed, so Rudy stayed
quiet with Jack to provide visual, not verbal, entertainment for this group.

It's a lot of work entertaining the masses all morning long! How about some 'end of run' treats as a reward?

"Hey, I was flirting with the trailhead crowds too!" adds elder but still
crowd loving Zorro.
"Slurp, I think I earned my treats today!" says lip smacking Jack.
"Woo, so many people for me to entertain with woos today!" adds
funny Rudy.

A wooing fun day on backcountry Baldy Mountain this morning: 7.2 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 61 days on the trails covering 489.7 miles with 46,200 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Foreshadow

Uh-oh....

The kids announcing that a duel was to take place on the trails
this morning!

As I was stepping into my skis at the trailhead this morning, I felt a tug on the gangline in front of me. I figured it was the usual "trailhead silliness" and expected to look up and see Jack & Rudy rolling snow angels as they waited for me to get my skis on. Imagine my surprise when I looked up and captured the oncoming duel you see in the prior photo. When the kids announce a duel before we even get started, that's a real foreshadow for what is most likely to come later in the outing. Sure enough, the dueling kids lived up to their foreshadow.

Three times during the outing, a "talk, tag, tackle & roll" event broke out. Here are a couple of clips from the first duel:

"Get back on the trail! I dare you!" yells Rudy to Jack who has dipped off
trail in response to Rudy's challenge.
"Did I really start this?" asks Jack looking back to me :)

Yes indeed, normally mellow Jack DID start the original duel you see in the first photo. Rudy, of course, will not back down from any challenge and the duel was on for the morning! Finally, Jack figured, "If I started it, I guess I'll finish it!

"Have at you! Poke!" responds Jack to Rudy's challenge for him to
come back on trail from the shoulder snow above. 

So there you have it - the dueling 4 year olds. The trailhead foreshadow was 100% correct!

After a few bouts along the way, Jack & Rudy finally realized we were on incredible trail conditions at Breckenridge Nordic Center. After a few team organization meetings with lectures from myself, we decided to skijor. Phew, I was losing my voice from all the lecturing! But, once they snapped into skijor mode, oh my did we FLY around the trails! Come along for some highlights.

Cool shot of cannonball Jack and missile Rudy in a tight and fast airborne zoom:

Impressive!

Or, how about this: the missile twins shooting along the trail as they propelled me to a top speed of 25 MPH this morning?

FLYING!

Or, how about a little hovering over the trail at mach speed?

Hover Huskies! Zoom!

I think you get it - once the kids settled the duel (it was a 'draw' :), they locked into super fast skijoring the rest of the outing. Come along for a fun video minute look into the fun. Amazing how the day started versus what we have in the video below!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Let's go tell retired mentor Zorro all about the day!

"A duel? Really? I would never..." says Zorro (who had many a duel
with Max on the trails in his heyday).
"Ok, we'll call it a draw and share 'end of run' treats!" summarizes
silly Jack & Rudy.

Oh those kids, from dueling goofballs to ridiculous speed demons - all in one outing: 10.4 miles traveled with 1100 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 25 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 60 days on the trails covering 482.5 miles with 45,200 feet of elevation climbed.


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Narrow Trails

Jack & Rudy cruising along Boreas Pass, wheeee!

Zooming along the fast packed trail.

Our route today took us into the backcountry to skijor from Baldy Mountain to Boreas Mountain. Despite the nice, wide photo above, we actually spent the majority of the day in single track trails only one Siberian Husky wide:

Following Jack in a single track tucked away far in the backcountry
between Baldy and Boreas.

Jack is the natural leader in our pack. So, he typically takes lead whenever we are on narrow single tracks. I expected this type of narrow trail between Baldy and Boreas. But, what was surprising was that popular Boreas was also a single track trail once we dropped onto it high up on Boreas Mountain. When our single track runs extend for long distances, Jack & Rudy will switch positions now and then to give Rudy a chance to run point. Honestly, Rudy prefers to run second and Jack prefers to run first; but when the single track extends for a long distance, they will alternate and let Rudy take lead to give Jack a break :)

Once on Boreas, we were surprised to find the trail still a single track.
Oh well, still fun and time to let Rudy get some exercise as lead :)

As I mentioned, Boreas is a very popular trail. So, as expected, once we got down the mountain a bit, the packed trail became wider and wider. As soon as both could fit, Jack & Rudy aligned shoulder to shoulder to open the throttle:

Wide enough to zoom! Wheeee!

Further down we came, the wider it got. While the trail in the first photo above was plenty wide, check out how the trail became "4 or 5 Siberians wide" once we got closer to the trailhead. Oh, and nice views of Breckenridge Ski Resort across the valley from us too :)

Wide trail, nice views, fun Jack & Rudy!
 
Back to the trailhead to meet up with retired mentor Zorro. Is Rudy sticking his tongue out at me? Ha, no, he loves to "smack his lips" in anticipation of 'end of run' treats. So, a still shot in the middle of a smack tends to capture him "sticking his tongue out" - funny kid! I love Zorro's face in this shot too; the old man still loves the starts & ends of every skijor outing :) 

"I still LOVE our outings!" says affectionate Zorro.
"Zorro taught us sooooo much!" says happy Jack.
"SLURP, SMACK!" adds silly Rudy.

Fun day in the backcountry on mostly single track trails: 9.9 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 59 days on the trails covering 472.1 miles with 44,100 feet of elevation climbed.


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Breck to Frisco

The Blue River Recreation Path from Breckenridge to Frisco was in PERFECT condition this morning!
What a fun run! Wheeee!

Jack & Rudy flying along the groomed rec path as we entertain cars
on Highway 9 to our right.

The rec path from Breckenridge to Frisco is a very entertaining skijor for us. We only get to do it a few times a year as the path is very sun exposed and our destination of Frisco, CO is a few hundred feet lower in elevation than Breckenridge. As a result, the path can melt quickly from sun and has less snow coverage down in Frisco than Breckenridge. But, when the path has good coverage, it is a very fun skijor for all of us. 

The path parallels both the Blue River and Highway 9 from Breckenridge to Frisco. A few times we are close enough to the highway to really entertain the cars coming by. We always get approving honks and cheers from open windows as people see us flying along the rec path. I'd LOVE to see this myself from a car driving by :)

The fast kids putting on a show for the cars on Highway 9 as we cruise
along at around 20 MPH ourselves. Wheeee!

There are a handful of "danger crossings" along the way as a few side streets cross over the rec path from Highway 9.  We have to slow and cross some of these very carefully (with me on skis) while a few others require me to take my skis on/off. Well, the on/off crossings mean I stop and, of course, my stopping leads to a 'stop, drop and roll' from the snow angel addicts:

You stopped, we roll!
You can see the road I need to cross in front of us before the
rec path starts again.,

Eventually, the rec path takes us into the town of Frisco. As we transition into Frisco, we go right by the stables at the Frisco Adventure Park. This always fascinates Jack & Rudy and takes all their self control to run on by. What good boys!

Look at that "stables distraction" to our right! But, also look at perfect
Jack & Rudy cruising on by!

Today's video highlight is a cool clip of Jack & Rudy towing me on the recreation path through the Frisco Adventure Park with the stables that we have to run on by. You'll see Jack back off the gangline a bit once he gets a whiff of the stables. But, then he quickly catches back up with the team as we zip on by the stables (with some verbal encouragement from me to ignore the stables and keep going forward :)
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]


Such a fun ride behind the Jack & Rudy tow rope from Breckenridge to Frisco. Remember this great time Zorro?

"You bet, I loved running the rec path back in my younger years too!" says focused Zorro.
"We had a blast!!!" adds happy & focused Jack & Rudy.

Whee - what a fast & fun ride: 8.5 miles traveled with 300 feet of elevation and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 58 days on the trails covering 462.2 miles with 43,200 feet of elevation climbed.