Sunday, December 10, 2023

All Terrain

Fun "shot from the front" of the happy kids towing me to the finish of this morning's entertaining skijor.

"Whee! We had a blast today!" says the happy kids.

After meeting up with the groomer from Gold Run Nordic Center yesterday, we decided to go back to the same area this morning knowing we'd eventually connect onto the fast & groomed nordic terrain. But, we do not start on the nordic trails, instead we start in the backcountry and maneuver through the forest before eventually meeting up with the nordic center. As a result, it was an all terrain day for us on the trails!

We started on set backcountry trails. We actually set this track in the snow yesterday and could see that others had used it to pack it a bit more the last 24 hours.

Getting "shoulder to shoulder tight" to fit in the set backcountry trail.

Next we wanted to work our way from the backcountry towards the nordic center trails. There are lots of options to do this connection. Today we chose one of the lesser used connectors and found ourselves breaking trail in about 18 inches of powder for a short distance. Fun!

Look at the deep snow troughs behind Jack & Rudy as they power to
tow me through about 18 inches of powder!

Eventually we connected onto the nordic center trails. We were a bit surprised to see that the groomer had run as a snowcat (i.e,. groomer blades up) to pack the upper elevation trails. I'm not sure why they kept the groomer blade up for this stretch; but we have fun running in cat tracks as well!

Zipping along in snowcat tracks. Wheeee!

Finally we got onto the main nordic trail to end the outing. As expected, this stretch was groomed and fast!

Zoom! Jack & Rudy know how to make use of a groomed nordic surface!

For today's video highlight, let's return to the backcountry trails where we started the morning. Come along for a little backcountry skijor fun. Note how Jack & Rudy really kick it into another gear about 14 seconds into this clip. Zoom!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

To complete the "all terrain day", it was a nice snow wall to climb for end of run treats at the trailhead.

"Ready! Hand 'em out!" says the snow wall climbing fun guys.

A little of everything today: backcountry skijoring, breaking trail, snowcat tracks and finally a groomie zoomie to end the day: 9.1 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 30 days on the trails covering 245.5 miles with 23,500 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

Powder, Groomer, Floor It

We spent the majority of this morning breaking trail in 6-8 inches of fresh powder!

Blasting through about 6 inches at this point on the trail. Wheeee!

At our deepest points, though, we found ourselves blasting through over 12 inches of fresh powder!

Jack & Rudy snorkeling through over 12 inches of pow, pow, POWDER!

Of course a day of breaking trail is quite a workout. That means everyone thoroughly enjoyed rolling snow angels to cool off whenever we paused to catch our breaths!

"Rub a dub dub, cool our jets rolling in the snow!" goes the silly kids.

As I said above, we spent most, but not all, of the day breaking trail. What happened to change that? Well, we ran into the groomer from Gold Run Nordic Center coming up the trail as we were on the last mile or so of our outing:

Hey, the groomer! Hi friend!!!!

We all knew what we would get on the other side of the groomer. Yep, a fresh groomie zoomie to floor it for the final leg of our skijor outing!

Flooring it on the groomie zoomie.

Now let's put the prior two photos together into a fun video summary. Come along as we start the clip breaking trail in 6-8 inches of fresh powder. Then, as we round a bend in the trail, we come upon the groomer coming up the trail. We know the groomer drivers from years of skijoring these trails. The drivers always stop and let Jack, Rudy and I pass on by - I'm convinced they love running into us and watching us maneuver on by as they always have big smiles on their faces. Back to the video, once I see the groomer stop (thus knowing he is one of the past groomers), I instruct Jack & Rudy to move on by the stopped groomer. Finally, once past, we all know what to do on the fresh groomed trail - floor it on the groomie zoomie! What fun partners, wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Back to the trailhead and, oh boy, our tallest snow wall of the season to climb for end of run treats!!!!

Love it when the kids find a wall to climb and get face to face with me.
What fun pals!

A very aerobic trail breaking outing for most of the day and then a fresh groom to floor it for the final home stretch: 7.8 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH (on the groomie zoomie, of course).

2023/2024 Season to Date: 29 days on the trails covering 236.4 miles with 22,600 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Groom Zoom!

This season's first groom of the Walton Peak trails at Rabbit Ears Pass!
Groomie Zoomie!

Absolutely PERFECT conditions to FLOOR IT!!!!!

Jack, Rudy and I were thrilled to see the freshly groomed trail when we arrived at the trailhead this morning. I knew the first groom of the season on these trails was going to be any day now; but was shocked and ecstatic to find that today was the day. Jack & Rudy love to get out on these trails and floor it along the groomie zoomie. They catch air and hover over the trail all outing long :)

The hover huskies catching air on a perfect groomed trail!

Now come along for a little video fun to go along with the photos. We start this clip galloping along a relatively flat stretch of trail. Then, about 30 seconds into the clip, and the trail veers right into a downhill sprint track and off we go! Zoom! So much fun this morning!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

If Jack & Rudy were not hovering over the trail then they were flying instead :)

Flying! Wheeee!

With such perfect conditions, I did not think we would stop during the entire outing. But, we did come across some VERY distracting (i.e, fresh) moose tracks that had to be inspected.

I almost glided right past Jack & Rudy as we were cruising along when both
suddenly leapt off trail into a deep (and clearly fresh) set of moose tracks.
Look at how deep these tracks are - moose sure are tall!!!!

In addition to the moose tracks, we had one other pause. We did an "out & back" this morning which meant we had to stop for me to turnaround on skis once. Well, it was a stop...

"Stop, Drop & ROLL!" goes always rolling Jack.
"WOOO! Why'd we stop?!?!?" asks impatient Rudy :)

What an incredible day on perfect groomed trails, right guys?

"Oh, we had a BLAST!" declares the happy, happy kids atop a snow
wall waiting for me to hand out end of run treats.

Perfect conditions led to our longest outing of the season so far: 10.4 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 28 days on the trails covering 228.6 miles with 21,900 feet of elevation climbed.


Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Single Track

The comedians, Jack & Rudy, rolling snow angels in a deep snowmobile track we found to follow for miles and miles into the backcountry.

"Rub a dub dub!" goes the snow rolling sillies.

That snowmobile track in the prior photo looks wonderful, right? Well, it was indeed. When we could, Jack & Rudy got side by side in this track and ran, ran, ran :)

Whee! Making use of a wonderful snowmobile track.

But, this snowmobile track was not too fresh as we found lots of places where the track had been wind blown and got very narrow and choppy. In fact, we spent the majority of this morning's outing in single file skijoring as the track was not wide enough to fit Jack & Rudy and stepping out of the center of the track was too deep, soft and choppy for either to run in and keep pace. Not a problem, Jack & Rudy are very experienced at running in narrow single tracks and taking turns who runs in lead:

Too narrow to fit side by side and too soft/choppy to run out of the narrow
track. No problem, single file skijoring. 

Along the way, Rudy got quite distracted by rodents under the snow off trail. Incoming!

"Rodent dive! Incoming!" goes high arching, fox-like Rudy.
"What's going on back there?" asks Jack glancing back to see what Rudy
is up to.

Jack didn't participate in the rodent dive and Rudy hopped back on trail quickly. I guess the rodents were not too active under the snow. Or, was Jack saving himself? Saving for what, you ask...

"Big Moose went this way!" declares Jack & Rudy hopping off trail to inspect
a very deep trough of moose tracks. Moose sure are tall!

Rodent dives, moose troughs (we actually came across 4 different moose track troughs) and a lot of single file skijoring, what an interesting day!

"Yes, and we had a BLAST!" says the happy kids climbing a snow wall
for end of run treats.

8.1 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a modest top speed of 17 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 27 days on the trails covering 218.2 miles with 21,000 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023


Starting this morning in dim light as the rising sun has not got to our trail yet!

Zipping along in the trail we set yesterday. Wheeee!

Today's outing was similar in location to yesterday but completely transformed from the deep trail breaking we experienced all day yesterday. We started the day, as the prior photo shows, on the trail we set yesterday. It was powder plowing/breaking trail yesterday but gentle "reuse the trail we made" today. 

Our goal was to get on the upper elevation trails of what will become Gold Run Nordic Center once enough snow collects to groom. We were breaking trail on these paths yesterday too. But, as I expected, the nordic center ran their snowcat on the trails yesterday with the intent to pack and preserve what snow we have. There's almost enough snow for them to really groom; but for now it's snowcat tracks on wide trails:

Galloping along in snowcat tracks on what will become a super fast
and fun groomed nordic trail very soon!

We did two laps around the highest loop at the nordic center. After lap 2, I needed a quick break to catch my breath before continuing on. Well, I stopped....

"Stop, Drop and ROLL!" goes snow angel rolling Jack.
"WOOOO! Let's GOOOOO!" belts wooing Rudy.

We then exited the upper loop (which still had not seen any morning sun) and came out onto a fast & sunny final trail to end the day.

Fun in the sun!

Now come along for today's video highlight. This trail will become a groomed nordic speed track very soon. But, until then, it's riding like a well-used but rough & choppy backcountry trail. No complaints here, we are so thrilled that more terrain is opening up with our recent snow. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Back to the trailhead for end of run treats. Jack & Rudy found a mini snow wall to climb for treats; but it was high enough that I could hand them out standing instead of kneeling, yay!

Smiles all around from the happy, happy sled dogs!

What a wonderful "backcountry outing" on what will soon become a groomed nordic speed track: 9.3 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 26 days on the trails covering 210.1 miles with 20,300 feet of elevation climbed.


Monday, December 4, 2023

Game On!

It was a POW, POW, Powder Day in 1-2 FEET of fresh powder on the trails this morning!

Jack & Rudy, the powder machines, plowing through upwards of
2 feet of fresh powder!

Notice anything new in the prior photo as compared to all other photos so far this season? Here's what to notice: Jack is wearing his "in season" green harness, Rudy is wearing his "in season" purple harness and I am wearing my "in season" primo skis. Every outing until this morning Jack & Rudy have been wearing their "hunting season/early conditions" orange harnesses and I have been wearing my heavily worn rock skis (always identifiable by the fun stickers I put on the ski tips to mark them as rock skis). Well, with upwards of 2 feet of snow falling in Breckenridge from Thu night to early Mon morning, it's time to say, "break out the in season gear - GAME ON!!!!!!" I love when we make this transition every winter!!!

What an incredible day it was to go from "early season conditions" to "game on"! Wow!

The powder kids plowing through again. Wheeee!

Now come along for a fun trail breaking, powder plowing video of impressive Jack & Rudy. They'd take off like this for 1-4 minutes at a time, then slow slightly and breathe deeply for 30-60 seconds and then restart the powder plowing again. All morning long, the kids were in top trail breaking form!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

With snow this deep, we did an "out & back" skijor to make use of our out track on the way back. It amazes me just how tight Jack & Rudy can get side-by-side when the conditions warrant it! Today was such a day as they magically fit in my narrow ski track to reuse all the way back!

Where does Jack end and Rudy start? Good thing they are different colors
or you'd never be able to tell!

How much fun did Jack & Rudy have? Well, let's ask Rudy:

"WOOOOO! GAME ON!!!!!!" belts powder loving Rudy.
"Hold on, rodents under the snow, I'll be with you in a moment!" adds
Jack distracted by rodents scurrying under the snow.

Oh distracted Jack, let's try that again: how much fun did Jack & Rudy have?

"Oh, a blast!!!!!! I'm back to focused Jack!" says happy & focused Jack.
"Shall I woo in approval again?" asks 'always ready to woo' Rudy :)

I love days when we can say we were seriously slowed by breaking trail in deep, deep snow: 5.8 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 16 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 25 days on the trails covering 200.8 miles with 19,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, December 2, 2023


Great "shot from the front" of happy, happy Jack & Rudy towing me to the finish of this morning's skijor!

"Whee! Hi Mom, coming on through!" says happy Jack & Rudy gliding by
Nancy on the side of the trail with a camera.

With Colorado hunting season over, the winter gate to Boreas Pass has finally been closed! Yay! That means we'll encounter only 3 types of tracks from now until May: ski tracks, snowshoe tracks and moose tracks! Ok, we'll also see dog tracks as this is a popular network of dog trails; but those are not very interesting to Jack, Rudy or I :)

Laying fresh tracks as we cruise by Baker's Tank with our "fresh tracks
out tracks" to our left.

Boreas is one of the view skijors we do which is 100% up, then turnaround and then 100% down. After towing me up for miles & miles without any downhill speed bursts, the kids are always ready to turnaround and floor it. Rudy often just turns around on Boreas, he's ready for speed. Jack, on the other hand, CANNOT turnaround under any circumstances without rolling a snow angel :)

"Ready!" declares lined out and all business Rudy.
"No, no, ALL turnarounds get a roll around!" states goofy Jack.

Along the return leg, we often get some stunning views of Breckenridge Ski Resort across the valley. But, with low clouds and active snowfall all we have today is a peek at the lower runs on the ski resort:

Still laying fresh tracks!
We'll get a pretty shot of the ski resort some other sunny day. In the meantime
we are thrilled it has been snowing all day!!!!

Today's video fun goes with the first front shot. Come along and watch as Jack & Rudy, with all smiles, tow me towards and then on by Nancy on the side of the trail. I'm smiling too; but with very cold temperatures this morning, I don't have any exposed skin :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Back to the trailhead and we found a mini snow wall to climb for end of run treats:

"It's not that high, but you can hand them out without kneeling!" declares
my polite partners getting as high as they can for me.

Our first "peace without vehicles" skijor up/down Boreas Pass this morning laying fresh tracks both directions: 8.3 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 24 days on the trails covering 195.0 miles with 18,800 feet of elevation climbed.


Thursday, November 30, 2023

Quick Recap

I only have time to writeup a quick recap of this morning's skijor. But, it was so much fun I had to share some!

We started at Dumont Lake on packed tire tracks left over from the recently completed hunting season in Colorado.

Catching air in the fast packed tracks.

We then turned to follow pre-existing ski tracks out & back around the base of Rabbit Ears Peak!

Love this shot as Jack & Rudy are chest high with me!
They have just flown up a slight rise in the trail that I am about to encounter.

Then, for a real surprise, we hung a left near the Columbine junction and found ourselves laying fresh tracks in untouched snow on days old snowmobile tracks.

Wow, nobody has been this direction until us for days (that's how long
it's been since fresh snow fell).

What was even more of a treat that the fresh tracks segment? Well, back to the first photo. I totally expected the leftover tire tracks from hunting season to be packed & icy this morning. I was ready for slow going until we got onto less used terrain. But, nope. The tire tracks were packed but also SOFT! Wow, what a treat. Come along and watch as we are skijoring in packed tired tracks but you can see snow poofs coming off Jack & Rudy's feet as the tracks were also soft!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

That's all folks! We'll back for a more involved blog on our next outing :)

"We were there, we know how fun it was!" exclaims the happy kids
awaiting end of run treats.

A really nice day skijoring near Dumont Lake and Rabbit Ears Peak: 9.2 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 23 days on the trails covering 186.7 miles with 18,000 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Cat Tracks

Endless miles of fresh snowcat tracks to follow out Harrison Creek at Rabbit Ears Pass this morning!

Zipping along in fresh snowcat tracks. Wheeee!

How did I know the snowcat tracks were fresh? Well, they were soft and super easy to glide along in. When snowcat tracks get stale (meaning they refreeze overnight), they get hard and very choppy. Jack, Rudy and I often have to abandon stale snowcat tracks we encounter as that is hard their feet and my knees. But, this morning was fresh, soft and perfect. We went along for miles and miles!!!

Far out in the Colorado backcountry. Pretty!

As we were cruising along, I realized these were really mini snowcat tracks. Mini, you ask? Well here you go when we intersected the cat coming back on the trail:

I'm sure it has a name other than "mini snowcat", but that's what I call it :)
"Hi dude, thanks for the tracks!" says Jack & Rudy to the cat driver.

As the driver got next to me, he stopped and opened his window to say, "Cool dogs! That's awesome!" as he had watched us running towards him before I stopped Jack & Rudy as we got close. Since he made such nice tracks for us this morning, I said, "Do you know the winter snowmobile shortcut on the other side of the next meadow?" (If you snowmobile up here, you'd know what I was referring to). He responded, "I sure do," to which I replied, "These two tell me the elk tracks at the shortcut are VERY fresh!" (it is still hunting season). His eyes lit up (as this shortcut was at most 5 minutes for him to intersect),  he gave me the thumbs up, closed his window and sped off quickly. 

If you are willing to make some nice cat tracks for us, we'll tell you where the elk have recently been.

On to today's video highlight. Outside of meeting the snowcat driver in the photo above, we did not see another soul on the trails! It was miles and miles and miles of jogging, sprinting and trotting deep into the backcountry. Come along and watch some of the fun yourself:

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Such a beautiful morning, how about another pretty shot?

Inside Jack getting into a tuck for the gentle left in the trail.
Outside Rudy flying around left alongside.

Sadly (for Jack & Rudy), we had to turnaround eventually and head back. I swear they would have gone ALL day on today's perfect conditions. Well, if you have to turnaround:

"Stop, Drop and ROLL!" goes the snow angel sillies at our turnaround point.

Back to the trailhead and just enough of a snow wall to get end of run treats from me standing (yay, my old knees appreciate it :)

"Fun day, perfect trail!" exclaims the happy kids.

A beautiful and perfect day: 9.7 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH (our top speed of the season, although we'll certainly hit 26 MPH once the conditions allow).

20232024 Season to Date: 22 days on the trails covering 177.5 miles with 17,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Hey! Fresh!

Zipping along and catching air on the high elevation trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center this morning!

Wheee - hover huskies!!!

We have only had a light dusting to and inch or two of new snow in the recent days; but the temperatures have remained well below freezing. As a result, despite having a bit of use, the trails were still soft, safe with no ice! Yay! As you see in the prior photo, pre-existing ski tracks pretty much spanned the entire trail this morning. Until....

As we approached the Kathy's Viewpoint warming hut, all the human ski tracks converged into a single track on the left side of the trail. I guess everyone wants to ski close to the warming hut. Well, this did not go unnoticed to Jack, Rudy and I as we were thrilled to slide right and be laying fresh tracks on the right side of the trail. Unless the snow is super deep, we all prefer laying fresh tracks over running in existing tracks!

Hey! Untouched snow on the right! Yay Freshies!

Come along for the video counterpart of this wonderful discovery. As we approach the hut, Jack is the first to notice the untouched treat to the right and he slides on over. Once I see Jack do this, I am thrilled to slide to the right with him for fresh snow. Finally, Rudy sees Jack (and probably feels me) and it's, "Hey! fresh snow to the right! Here I come." as he hops over to join us and off we go on this great stretch of untouched snow.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We did an out & back skijor this morning. So, of course that meant we had to turnaround at some point. Well, you know the drill: Turnaround, Roll Around!

"Aaaahhhhh!" says Rudy as he is all smiles rolling in the snow at our
turnaround point.
"Rub a dub dub dub!" adds rolling Jack (who I guarantee you has a smile
on his face too :)

Aside from turning around once, any other reason to stop this morning? Well, yes, MOOSE tracks!!! We've seen moose tracks entering, walking and leaving these nordic trails almost every outing this year; but we have yet to get a visual. Those elusive moose!

"Moose went this way! Can we too?!?" asks the moose patrollers.
Sorry guys, no going off trail into thick trees behind moose tracks!

Back to the trailhead and time to gather for end of run treats. No good snow walls this morning, so I had to kneel down to my pals. Excuse Nancy's big thumb in the lower right of the photo. She tells me it's hard to get end of run photos without her paws in the way :) Although I use this same camera in the summer for hiking/water shots of Jack & Rudy and my fingers have never been in view - you'll have to ask Nancy :)

Happy kids getting end of run treats with mom's big thumb added in :)

Fun nordic outing: 7.8 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 21 days on the trails covering 167.8 miles with 16,200 feet of elevation climbed.