Thursday, April 28, 2022


Yesterday morning was a PERFECT day to follow groomer tracks up, down and around the Buffalo Park area of Rabbit Ears Pass. Wheeee!

Cool wide angle shot of Jack & Rudy towing me for miles & miles1

We were pleasantly surprised to find that the groomer trail created Tuesday morning was still relatively untouched 24 hours later. While we only had time for a short outing, we certainly made use of this groomer track. Apparently most people think it is Spring and the snow season is over. Ha, not us! :)

Jack & Rudy catching air as we top 23 MPH along this perfect trail.

Now come along for a cool video clip showcasing a variety of highlights. We start with Jack & Rudy in a gentle jog as they are towing me along a winding trail through the forest. So nice of them to keep the speeds down while I work the skis to stay with then through the bends in the trail. Then, we come upon an open straightaway. Without any command from me, the two fun kids know "straightaways are speedways" and they really open up the throttle! Note that as we enter the speedway, Jack & I are thinking the right side of the trail is "best" while Rudy is centered down the middle. It only takes a few seconds for Jack & I to notice that Rudy is right and we both move to the middle to join Rudy and top 23 MPH. Zoom!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Even with the great speed track trail, you cannot ignore rodents stirring under the snow. The hunters had to stop for one session of rodent excavation:

"Digging, digging, gotta find the rodents!" says digger Jack.
"Incoming, rodent excavation!" adds diving Rudy.

Partway through the excavation and time to check our progress :)

"Hello (hello, hello - echoing)!" calls the goofy kids.
"No need to worry, just a couple of innocent predators up here!" adds
innocent little sled dogs ;)

Despite such fine excavation work, we failed to come up with any rodents from under the snow. Well, we might as well settle for 'end of run' treats with retired mentor Zorro instead:

In tight, centered, focused & READY for 'end of run' treats!!!

A wonderful short but speedy day atop Rabbit Ears Pass again: 6.4 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 147 days on the trails covering 1239.1 miles with 115,900 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Endless Groom

It was a fast day on endless groomed trails starting from Dumont Lake atop Rabbit Ears Pass!

The freshly groomed trail went on for miles & miles and Jack, Rudy & I
were first tracks on the fresh groom. Endless fun!

We are members of the local snowmobile club (Routt Powder Riders) who groom the primary trails atop Rabbit Ears Pass. Jack & Rudy are snow machines after all, so we proudly contribute to the club to enjoy their grooming operations. The kids were VERY happy with today's perfect conditions on endless miles of freshly groomed trails. Just ask them yourself :)

"Having so much fun!" declares happy, happy Jack.
"Having a WOOO-nderful time!" asserts wooing in appreciation Rudy.

Every direction we turned was perfect, perfect, perfect! What an amazing day!

Shadows reversed from the first photo but everything else is just
the same - endless groomie zoomie!

Now come along for some video fun from the outing. Watch as Jack & Rudy tow me from the sun into a great and wide trail winding through the forest. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Of course, such great conditions means you need to roll snow angels to "cool your jets" during any pause on the trail. Jack often steps off trail to get in deeper snow for his angels while Rudy tends to enjoy cooling himself on the groomed track.

Snow angel antics from the comedians :)

An absolutely perfect day to report back to retired mentor Zorro:

"I feel the groom on my toes - perfect!" says focused Zorro.
"I can taste the 'end of run' treats in anticipation!" adds slurping Jack.
"Happily waiting my turn!" adds cool Rudy.

What a perfect endless day: 11.2 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 146 days on the trails covering 1232.7 miles with 115,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

April POW

Blasting through 8 inches of fresh powder in late April! What a powder POW treat!

Cool shot of Jack & Rudy blasting through the powder with a glimpse
of my skis gliding behind. Wheeee!

Today was a fun & unexpected test on the new skis. Recall the skis are only 8 days old and were bought in an emergency after the last pair busted. I always buy skis that are rated "on & off trail" for skijoring as we love both groomed/packed trails and powder trails. Well, I did not think I'd really get the chance to test the "off trail" capabilities of these new skis until next season. But, mother nature had other plans and gave us a great powder day this April 24th to give the skis an off trail test. As you see in the photo above - success!

We started the day laying fresh tracks on the established trails around Sally Barber Mine as we beat everyone else out to get the fresh snow!

Gliding through 6-8 inches as we crest at the Sally Barber Mine.

While laying fresh tracks around the mine was fun, the most fun found us abandoning set trails and blasting through 8+ inches of powder making our own path in the backcountry. We did two such off trail powder excursions to enjoy the soft & fresh powder.

Jack & Rudy zipping through the trees as we enjoy the fresh POW!

Now come along for a video glimpse into the off trail fun. It's not often you get such a great powder adventure this late in April. Go guys go!!!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Of course, powder blasting is quite an aerobic activity. That means you need to roll snow angels at any break during the outing :)

The gate behind Rudy marks a point to leave the set trail and go exploring
in the backcountry. As I paused to set my skis to go off trail, the kids did
their patented 'stop, drop & roll' - goofballs :)

Whew, what fun. Let's go tell retired mentor Zorro all about it!

"Ah, I'm in powder too!" says cool Zorro.
"Late April POW - Wheeee!" adds powder hounds Jack & Rudy.

What a powder treat this morning: 7.2 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 144 days on the trails covering 1213.9 miles with 113,500 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Passing 1200

Jack & Rudy's third season in a row surpassing 1200 miles of skijoring for the season!

1200 and counting....

Nice shot of the kids propelling me along this nice shelf about 1/2 way
up Walton Peak at Rabbit Ears Pass.

Third year in a row for over 1200 miles of skijoring - impressive. Jack & Rudy have skijored 1204.1 miles as 2 year olds, 1253.2 as 3 year olds and are now at 1200.5 and counting as 4 year olds. I think we have the snowpack to surpass 1300 miles this season, that would be Jack & Rudy's record! Of course our "pack record" is 1433.5 miles done by Max & Zorro in 2016/2017. I don't think we'll reach that 1400 mile record; but not from lack of trying :)

Anyway, back to today's outing. We did a quick 7 mile run on the Spring crust around Walton Peak atop Rabbit Ears Pass. It was a very warm morning (with temperatures rising), so we had to get out early and do as much as possible before the snow got too soft. We started the day following power lines through the trees. It's always fun to follow power lines as they carve a nice opening between the trees:

Zipping along the power line opening!

We then did a bit of climbing up Walton Peak to get on a firmer crust higher up. Success!

A nice, firm crust a few hundred feet up in elevation!

Finally, we returned on this cool "shelf trail" on Walton Peak. As you see from the ski tracks in the video, this shelf is no secret and is used frequently by backcountry skiers to access Walton Peak. Come along for the video fun skijoring this great shelf. You'll notice we are "just in time" completing the day's outing along this shelf as the snow is beginning to get soft but still "just firm enough" to support Jack & Rudy. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Of course, towing me 1200+ miles a season is a real workout and the kids enjoy their well-earned snow angels to cool off at any break along the way :)

Ah - rub a dub dub!

Impressive kids! Zorro taught them well!

The fun pack: retired mentor Zorro and impressive Jack & Rudy all
awaiting 'end of run' treats :)

As I mentioned, a quick outing today to get out & back before it got too warm: 7.1 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 142 days on the trails covering 1200.5 miles with 112,400 feet of elevation climbed.


Thursday, April 21, 2022

Crust Flying

I think Jack & Rudy were having a good time today, how about you? :)

Happy, happy, happy kids to be flying on a perfect Spring
crust this April 21st.

Today's skijor outing found us touring the Spring crust around Dry Lake Campground at the base of Buffalo Pass. As I implied above, the conditions were PERFECT! The crust was firm & solid and we had a blast taking off through open meadows in between groves of trees. Here are the impressive kids flying along one such open meadow:

Jack & Rudy catching air as we fly along. Wheeee!

Now come along for the video counterpart of the prior photo. Every time we encountered an open meadow, Jack & Rudy floored it as you see in this video. Then, as each meadow came to an end (at a cluster of trees), we'd either stop to turnaround or slow to continue into the trees. In this video we stop, so that means you get the Jack & Rudy "stop action" - stop, drop & roll snow angels :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

But, coming upon a cluster of trees does not mean you always have to stop. When the aspen groves were open enough, we'd slow a bit and then wind our way through the trees. It takes a lot of confidence in your skijor partners to put yourself into a grove of trees and glide through via voice command! I love skijoring with these two!

Cool aspen grove with plenty of room between the trees for Jack & Rudy
to continue and wind me through by voice command. Impressive kids :)

Yet, as the video shows, not all tree clusters were open enough for us to proceed into. So, we had many 'stop, drop & roll' episodes on today's outing. It is late April after all and the the temperatures were rising all morning long. 

Must 'stop, drop & roll' snow angels at every opportunity along the outing :)

A perfect day with perfect partners. Let's celebrate with 'end of run' treats with retired mentor Zorro:

"Looks like you have enough for all of us!" says treat inspecting Zorro.
"Waiting our turn!" adds polite & mature Jack & Rudy!

Great day on a perfect Spring crust: 8.5 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 141 days on the trails covering 1193.4 miles with 111,900 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Parting Clouds

From overcast skies to sun & shadows, all in the same outing :)

Starting the day under very overcast skies.

Compare & contrast the former and following photos. Then realize these two photos are less than one hour apart. From overcast skies to sun & shadows in a manner of 10s of minutes!

Less than an hour later and we are cruising under a bright morning sun!

In between the clouds and the sun, we had a variety of fun activities skijoring near Dumont Lake atop Rabbit Ears Pass. Come along for some of the fun.

The day started on rough & bumpy snowmobile trails. Jack & Rudy are having no problem cruising over this terrain. I, on the other hand, am bouncing around on my skis and moving back & forth to find the smoothest surface for me to glide over.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Then, as the sun started to peek through the clouds, apparently the rodents under the snow started to wake and stir. Just ask Jack & Rudy:

"Yes little bro - dive & dig right here!" says Jack to excavator Rudy.
"Got it, INCOMING!" demonstrates Rudy the professional rodent digger.

Then, as the clouds started to really disappear, we watched a snowmobile run over frozen Dumont Lake. With the lake still frozen enough to hold a snowmobile, I instructed Jack & Rudy to take me across the lake as well. If you came and looked at this lake in the summer, you'd be amazed we skijored across a body of water this big!

Laying fresh tracks over frozen Dumont Lake. Fun!

What a fun and interesting day. Let me get some 'end of run' treats organized in my hand to distribute out :)

"Don't drop them!" warns focused Zorro.
"Looks like enough for three!" says approving Jack.
"Don't forget ME!" adds Rudy in the background.

A very entertaining day to make our own path & tracks around and over Dumont Lake as we transitioned from dense clouds to bright sun: 8.4 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 140 days on the trails covering 1184.9 miles with 111,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Crust Sprints

Great morning to sprint along the solid Spring crust around Dry Lake Campground!

Perfect crust as I glide along behind fast running Jack & Rudy!

There is still about 40 inches of snowpack at Dry Lake and the temperatures have been perfect (warm days then cold nights) to create a great crust to support Jack, Rudy and myself on skis. Our outing found us alternating between open meadows and groves of trees.

Open meadow - wheeee! But, look out for the cluster of trees ahead!

Each time we exited a meadow into the trees, my partner slowed perfectly to gently guide me through!

Slow to a trot so the clumsy human doesn't hit a tree :)

As soon as we exited any tree grove into a new meadow, it was pedal to the metal!

Open meadow again. Floor it!

The crust was absolutely perfect to hold 42 lb Jack, 46 lb Rudy and me on skis. But, there is one thing a crust can never support... MOOSE!

"Sniff, sniff - moose was here!" says track inspecting Rudy.
"Yes, and the moose went THIS WAY!" declares Jack staring in the direction
his nose told him the moose went.

Despite Jack's suggestion, we did NOT follow the moose tracks the direction he proposed :)

Back to the trailhead for a fun 'end of run' treat photo with retired mentor Zorro. Dry Lake is the starting point for the snowcat tours that take people up Buffalo Pass for deep powder backcountry touring. While the snowcat tours are done for the season, the cats themselves are still waiting for the snow to melt before leaving the area. Fun to get our treats along with the cats! 

"Remember, me first!" says Zorro raising his hand.
"The cats may not be able to still go, but we can!" declares happy Jack & Rudy.

A fun day sprinting on the crust through open meadows and then weaving through trees between meadows: 6.8 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 139 days on the trails covering 1176.5 miles with 110,300 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Skijoring the Ski Resort

One of our favorite annual traditions: Skijoring Breckenridge Ski Resort!

Kicking up dust in shallow powder as we zoom under a ski lift. Wheeee!

We started this tradition back with Max & Zorro. Then, Zorro introduced it to Jack and then Zorro & Jack introduced it to Rudy. Finally, Jack & Rudy have continued to carry on the annual event. We try to "skijor the ski resort" every year when they start to shutdown terrain for the end of season.

Technically speaking, Breckenridge Ski Resort is still open for operations as they try to keep some terrain open as far into May as conditions allow. The resort has ski runs spanning 5 peaks (named peaks 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10) and they close peaks 9 & 10 in mid to late April and shift all operations to 6, 7 & 8. They then start to close off parts of 6/7/8 as the snow melts until everything is eventually closed. Well, Peak 9 is our favorite peak, so we are thrilled that it is one of the first to close as it usually still has snow to use (it's not profitable to staff & keep all 5 peaks open in April/May).

We try to get out on Peak 9 within days of it closing and this year it closed for the season yesterday. We never know what conditions we are going to find on the peak. But, the ski resort tends to keep grooming a few tracks on the peak for a couple of days for both maintenance and to give locals a chance to ski up & down terrain that all the tourists are told is closed :) As usual, we were thrilled to find a groomed track along one of the runs on Peak 9 - wheeee!

Catching air as we FLY along the groomie zoomie ski run on Peak 9.

This year, though, we had some added entertainment. The resort got upwards of an inch or so of new snow overnight. As a result, there was fresh snow sprinkled across all the runs on Peak 9. With a light layer of powder, we are able to ditch groomed trails and fly up & down any run we chose! Without the new snow, the ungroomed runs would have been too tracked up from yesterday and then iced overnight for me to be able to safely skijor behind Jack & Rudy. But, as you see in the first photo and next photo - we were able to ditch the groomed trails and make our own way laying fresh tracks on endless ski runs. So fun!

Laying fresh tracks as we FLY along a beautiful ski run!

Come along for the video counterpart of the prior photo. It does not get much more fun than this! New snow on fast & endless ski runs. Zoom, zoom, zoom!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

As I mentioned, all the locals know that Peak 9 is still secretly "open for skiing" if you know how to get yourself up the mountain. Who needs a ski lift when you have snow machines? Yes, either snowmobiles or sled dogs are the preferred way to get up the mountain today :)

Jack, Rudy & I completing our morning outing as a snowmobile is
towing other skiers up to enjoy the "locals only" ride down too :)

Some use snowmobile to get up, some expend the effort to "skin up" themselves and then some use sled dogs to get up the mountain. I prefer sled dogs!

"Us too! Who wouldn't prefer sled dogs?!?" asks happy Jack & Rudy.
These smiles are at one of our turnaround points after the kids towed me
up. Rudy is just finishing rolling his snow angel to cool off before
we started back down.

So much fun today. Let's go thank retired mentor Zorro for pioneering this annual tradition:

"So Fun!!!!" declares the ecstatic kids.
"I taught them EVERYTHING I know!" adds proud Zorro.

Remember that ski resorts are designed for downhill skiing, so our outings on the resort are always very high in elevation without as much mileage as we do on a normal skijor: 6.4 miles traveled with 1400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 138 days on the trails covering 1169.7 miles with 109,800 feet of elevation climbed.


Sunday, April 17, 2022

Easter Freshies

A beautiful & snowy Easter morning to lay fresh tracks all outing long!!!

Wonderful trail of fresh, untouched snow in front of us.
We had this treat all morning long!

While the prior photo showcases the great "fresh tracks terrain", it does not capture the other great feature of this morning's outing. What's better than laying fresh tracks? Well, how about laying fresh tracks with moderate to heavy snow falling all around you?!?!

Nice shot using the trees in front of us to show the active snowfall.
If you look closely, you can see snowflakes against Jack & Rudy's bodies too.
Snowflakes on the goofy flakes :)

Zoom in a little more and you can really see the flakes on the kids!

Beautiful shot of snowflakes against Jack & Rudy's black & red fur.
Still a great trail of untouched new snow in front of us!

Those are nice still shots; but they still do not do justice to the morning's active snowfall. So, come along for a video treat. Watch as we are cruising along, laying fresh tracks, with moderate snowfall coming down all around us. What a mid-April snow treat!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

If Jack & Rudy look a bit slower than usual in the video, consider two things. First, it was warm yesterday and the trail under the snow did not refreeze before it started snowing. Second, the fresh snow was actually a somewhat heavy & wet Spring snow. So, soft trail + heavy snow = slowing Jack & Rudy to 20 MPH instead of their usual 23-26 :)

Towing the human through these conditions means you really appreciate rolling your snow angels to cool off at our turnaround point!

"Ah, cooling the jets!" demonstrates the silly, but hard working, sled dogs.

Back to the trailhead with retired mentor Zorro. Let's use Zorro to showcase the snowflakes this time :)

Fun flakes visible against Zorro's black fur as I prepare to hand
out the 'end of run' treats!

A very aerobic "fresh tracks" Easter outing: 8.4 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2021/2022 Season to Date: 137 days on the trails covering 1163.3 miles with 108,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

New Skis

We had new skis to break in this morning. 

New Skis, Same Results, right guys?

"They look just fine to us. Let's test them for speed!" says the happy kids.

After the ski debacle of one week ago, I was worried about having enough equipment to make it through this season. We have enough snowpack to skijor well into May and possibly through all of May. But, as described a week ago, one of my skis busted and I had to un-retire a pair of old skis that I had long since declared dead. I was not convinced these un-retired skis would hold up for another 4-6 weeks and was expecting them to fall apart any day now. 

But, Nancy came to the rescue! She was able to acquire a new pair of skis for us from Breckenridge Nordic Center. It is not often that you can find new equipment this late in the season from any ski shop or nordic center. So, surprisingly, we had a new pair of skis to take to the trails today! Yay! The prior photo and next two photos show glimpses of the new skis - a pair of Fischer Apollos. I've had all Rossignol skis for my first 12 years of skijoring; yet always wanted to try a pair from Fischer. But, the Rossignols worked, so no reason to change what's working. But, with emergency equipment needs in mid-April, we were very willing to switch to anything available. So, here we are expanding into the Fischer brand of skis.

New brand, new skis, same result: zoom!

Wide angle shot showcasing the top 1/3 of the new Fischer Apollo skis.
No difference in Jack & Rudy towing me as fast as they can :)

The skis worked on straightaways (see above) and worked around corners (see below). It was as if we'd been on these skis forever :)

Leaning into the right ski to whip around a corner behind fast
moving Jack & Rudy. Wheeee!

Apparently breaking in new skis means you have to roll wild snow angels at any turnaround point on the trails. Just ask Jack:

Could Jack put any more "gusto" into this snow angel? I think not!

Now come along for the video lead in to Jack's gusto angel. We start this clip cruising along a relatively flat nordic trail. Then, Jack & Rudy propel me up a short lift in the trail followed by them taking off down the other side of the lift. Finally, we hit the end of the trail and continue on the crust for a short bit before stopping. Did I say "stop?" Well, yes, so you get to see Jack & Rudy performing their patented 'stop, drop and roll' as the clip winds down. But, notice goofy Jack at the end. Once done with his angel, he jumps up and takes off to go back the direction we came. Unfortunately (for Jack), it takes me a lot longer to turn my skis 180 degrees around than he wants and, besides, Rudy is still rolling his snow angel as well. Silly!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Our first ever skijor on Fischer brand skis, let's tell retired mentor Zorro all about it:

"You all look the same to me!" says approving Zorro.
"New brand but same 'end of run' treats! Yay!" adds cute Jack & Rudy.

Quite a successful first outing on our new Fischer Apollo skis: 9.4 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH!

2021/2022 Season to Date: 136 days on the trails covering 1154.9 miles with 107,500 feet of elevation climbed.