Sunday, April 30, 2023


Cruising by the Rabbit Ears SNOTEL this morning...

Nosy Rudy must nosily check out every and any thing we pass :)
Cool Jack is merely cruising on by.

A SNOTEL you ask? Yes the Snow Telemetry (SNOTEL) network is composed of over 900 automated data collection sites located in remote, high-elevation mountain watersheds in the western U.S. They are used to monitor snowpack, precipitation, temperature, and other climatic conditions. As a skijor team, our main interest in the SNOTELs is the snowpack reporting. This morning the Rabbit Ears SNOTEL was reporting 65 inches of snowpack. For fun, we decided to go cruise by the SNOTEL and see the snowpack for ourselves. As you see above, yes indeed there is over 5 feet of snowpack on Rabbit Ears!

Once we verified the snowpack, it was time to test if the spring crust over all this snow was firm enough to support our weight.

Yep, a super firm spring crust. Yay!

With the snowpack and crust verified, it was time to do our favorite Spring activity: abandon set trails and zoom every which way on the solid crust. Jack & Rudy were in a real running groove!

The hover husking catching air on the perfect crust.

Rudy is an absolute beautiful running machine. Jack is no slouch, but Rudy is beautiful and is rarely touching the ground :)

Rudy the flying reindeer alongside fast but not flying Jack.

Temperatures were in the low 20s (F) when we started the outing and increasing as we went along. I knew the kids were going to roll snow angels to cool off when we paused. I didn't know they were going to roll perfectly synchronized snow angels :)

I give that a score of '10' on the synchronized snow angel scorecard.

Do Jack & Rudy get tired on our outings? Ha, no. While they sleep nicely once home, they are full throttle  the entire outing. Come along for the last 75 seconds of this morning's skijor. Can you tell the impressive kids have already run 9 miles by this point? 

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Finally, today's end of run treat snow wall was quite impressive too. 

This might the the tallest snow wall they've been on this season to get
end of run treats!

Beautiful morning playing around the Rabbit Ears SNOTEL on the perfect spring crust: 9.2 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 145 days on the trails covering 1286.8 miles with 117,800 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, April 29, 2023


Happy kids arriving with big smiles as we complete this morning's skijor outing.

Wheeee, we are so happy!!!

Today's outing found us on quite a variety of terrain. Come along for the highlights...

We started at the Dumont Winter Trailhead at Rabbit Ears Pass. We were thrilled to see a groomer had recently been out on the trail. Jack & Rudy, of course, know what to do with a groomed trail:

Catching air as we fly along the groomie zoomie.

Unfortunately the groomed trail did not go very far, it went from the Dumont Trailhead to the Muddy Creek Trailhead and then ended. I was able to convince Jack & Rudy to skijor this fast track from Dumont to Muddy Creek and back to Dumont three times. It was zooming back & forth.

After 3 laps on the groomie zoomie, we went off trail to Dumont Lake. I was not comfortable crossing the frozen lake this late in April, so we skijored around the shore around the entire lake. 

Zipping along the shore of Dumont Lake. The frozen lake is to our right
in this photo. We skijored a large oval around the entire lake.

After the lake loop, we were still looking for some more fun. So, we cut over to Dumont Lake Campground and skijored through the snow covered campground:

Yes, this really is a campground in summer :)
The building in the upper right is the public bathrooms for the campground.
Clearly a lot of melting has to happen before camping begins!

Now we'll put this all together for today's "skijor variety clip". The first 25 seconds showcases the nice groomed track we found at the Dumont Trailhead. The middle 25 seconds has us skijoring on the shores of the Dumont Lake (the lake is to our right). In two months this stretch of terrain will be a beach! Finally, we end with 25 seconds of us skijoring through Dumont Lake Campground. In two months this stretch will be filled with tents and campers instead of endless snow :) Fun variety clip!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Such skijor variety really gets you ready for you end of run treats, right guys?

"That was fun, now serve up the treats!" declares the happy kids.

What a fun & interesting variety outing: 9.1 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 144 days on the trails covering 1277.6 miles with 117,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Perfect Crust

Who is having a GREAT time this morning?

"I am! I am!" exclaims happy Jack.
"Wooooo, I approoooove!" belts wooing Rudy.

The Spring Crust was PERFECT this morning at Vail Pass. I was a little worried it would not be firm enough to support us due to the overcast skies and humidity in the air. But, the temperatures were well below freezing and the crust was absolutely perfect. 

When there is a firm crust, we abandon set trails and skijor every which way across vast meadows. Such a fun time of year:

Perfect crust as far as the eye can see!

A little further along and the kids switched positions; but same results!

Vast, endless crust - wheeee!

At one point we were cruising along when the kids suddenly stopped on a dime and started furiously digging into the crust for rodents under the snow. The rodents must have been very loud for Jack & Rudy to snap to a "stop & dig" in unison!

"Pesky rodents! We smell & hear you, where are you?!?" asks the rodent
digging twins. Nice teamwork although they failed to catch any rodents :)

Near the end of the outing, the sun finally broke through the thick clouds. I love shots of Jack & Rudy flying along the crust when we have sun and shadows:

Catching air in the sun along the firm spring crust

Today's video highlight goes along with the prior photo. Come along for part of today's endless skijor in the sun on the firm & vast crust at Vail Pass!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Another great skijor and, yep, another snow wall for the kids to climb for end of run treats:

"You have our full attention!" declares the happy, happy kids.

A beautiful morning as we were able to abandon set trails and use the firm crust the entire outing! 9 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 143 days on the trails covering 1268.5 miles with 116,500 feet of elevation climbed.


Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Nice Up High

Jack & Rudy showing how tight they can fit together when they want to share a pre-existing track!

Conjoined skijoring huskies :)

Today found us frolicking around the trails spanning peaks 6 & 7 of the 10 mile range. We started the day laying fresh tracks in 2-3 inches of fresh snow!

Fresh tracks! Yay!

But, after going a little ways, we came to a trail junction and a snowshoer had been out on the trail before us. Rudy chose to use the snowshoe track while powder Jack chose to keep laying fresh tracks in the untouched snow.

Powder Jack and In-Track Rudy.

About halfway down from our high point of the outing, the snow started becoming very sticky with the rising temperatures. But, up high it was perfect all morning long. Come along for today's video highlight skijoring at our highest point of elevation for the day. Conditions were very nice up high!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Did I just say "rising temperatures"? Yep, that led to the kids rolling snow angels to cool off at our midpoint of the morning - funny guys :)

"Come on! You know you want to join us!" says the snow rolling sillies looking
back at me while cooling off.

Back to the trailhead and Jack & Rudy showing once again that they love to find and climb snow walls to get their end of run treats.

Smiles all around from the happy, satisfied kids.
What will they do when the snow walls melt?!?!?!?

A great outing at the higher elevations but a bit sticky & slow once we had to come back down: 8.3 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 142 days on the trails covering 1259.5 miles with 115,600 feet of elevation climbed.


Monday, April 24, 2023


Smiles all around as we complete this morning's skijor outing.

Smiling Jack drifting over towards Nancy with the camera.
Smiling Rudy sticking with me as we slow to a stop.

We started this morning's skijor at the Dumont Trailhead at Rabbit Ears Pass. The trailhead is next to Highway 40 and has trails on each side of the highway. Yesterday we went north away from the highway for a wonderful skijor. Today, we started by crossing the highway to take the south trails. But, as soon as we started, we found a groomer track going parallel to the highway. So, instead of heading south, we turned right to go west next to the highway.

Funny Jack & Rudy HATE to be passed by anything. It rarely happens, but sometimes we'll get passed by snowmobiles or snowcats and the kids will kick it into overdrive to try and keep pace. Well, today we were going parallel to Highway 40. Every time a car came from behind and passed by us, the kids kicked it into overdrive to try and keep up. The speed limit on the highway is 65 MPH, so we obviously don't keep pace; but it is not from lack of trying on the part of Jack & Rudy :)

"Hey! None shall pass!" declares the silly kids flooring it as you can see the
white trailer passing by on Highway 40 to our right.

The groomer track only went for a couple of miles next to Highway 40 and then ended. So, we turned around and came back the same way. Eastbound Jack & Rudy have the same reaction to cars on the highway as westbound Jack & Rudy in the prior photo.

"HEY! None shall pass!!!!" declares the funny kids as you can see a truck
towing a flatbed trailer passing us on Highway 40 in the upper left of this photo.

Since the groomer track south of the highway did not go very far, we came back across the highway to resume our skijor on the north side. Come along for this today's peaceful skijor along the edge of Dumont Lake. Oh, don't worry about the BUMP sign near the end of the clip. There is no bump in the trail when covered by snow, only in the summer :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We tried to leave the set trails once but found the spring crust to not be firm enough to support running Jack & Rudy. But, we did find the crust to be firm enough to support rolling snow angels at our turnaround point:

"Ah, stop, drop & roll!" goes the snow rolling sillies.

Trying to keep pace with 65 MPH traffic means you really earned your end of run treats :)

"Slurp, ready!" says Jack.
"All smiles in the background!" adds Rudy.

Fun skijor on each side of Highway 40 this morning: 8.4 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 141 days on the trails covering 1251.2 miles with 114,700 feet of elevation climbed.


Sunday, April 23, 2023


Zooming on the Groomie Zoomie!  Wheeee!

Jack & Rudy catching some serious air as they FLY along this beautiful
groomed trail.

What a difference a day can make. Yesterday were were happily slowed breaking trail in deep snow on Buffalo Pass. Today were were happily sped up by a recently groomed speed track at Rabbit Ears Pass. The kids, Jack & Rudy, were having a blast plowing through powder yesterday and then they were having a blast FLYING around the groomie zoomie today. What a difference a day can make!!!

The hover huskies catching air as we start this morning's skijor.

Come along and watch the zooming fun. I couldn't decided which incredible speed clip to use with today's blog. After going back & forth on tons of great footage, I settled on the following 70 seconds of pedal to the metal behind Jack & Rudy. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Along the way, Jack & Rudy got distracted by rodents under the snow. We paused momentarily to try and uncover the pesky rodents.

Fun shot of Jack preparing to "fox dive" into the snow in attempt to
uncover the rodents.

Each kid did 3 separate dives in the hunt for rodents.

Rudy's turn :)

Despite all the diving and excavation, they failed to catch a rodent. Well, rodent distraction over, it is time to get back to the groomie zoomie:

Love the snow poofs behind the flying kids.
Like I said, they were FLOORING it today!

Who thinks end of run treats are in order after a zooming fast day?

"Ready! Ready!" declares the focused happy kids.

As I said, zooming today: 10.6 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 140 days on the trails covering 1242.8 miles with 114,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Powder Day

Breaking trail in 10+ inches of fresh powder this morning! Wheeee!

The impressive powder hounds, Jack & Rudy, blasting through the
deep snow as they tow me along.

Today's outing found us skijoring out and back on Buffalo Pass Rd from the Dry Lake Trailhead. There was about 3 inches of fresh snow at the trailhead and then, as we went up in elevation, the snow kept getting deeper and deeper! It is not often we can report we were happily "slowed by deep snow" in late April! One benefit of doing an "out and back" outing is that we get to reuse our out tracks on the way back:

Gaining a little speed by reusing the track we set on the way out.

Breaking trail is a very aerobic activity. Just ask Jack & Rudy who really needed to roll snow angels to cool off at our turnaround point:

"Ah!" declares snow rolling Jack.
"Snow facial!" goes silly Rudy.

While we were slowed by deep snow up high, we were sped up by a fresh snowmobile track down low. A pair of snowmobiles came along and packed the snow near the trailhead. We followed these tracks on the way out until the snowmobiles turned and went a different direction. After the snowmobiles turned is when we found ourselves breaking trail in 10+ inches of powder for the next leg of the outing. Finally, on the return we were able to floor it again once we got back to the snowmobile tracks.

Zooming in a snowmobile track.

It was snowing steadily our entire outing. That means the camera collects snow, especially when we are going fast. Here is the camera within minutes of the prior photo:

Blurred footage from a snow covered camera.

Today's video highlight goes along with the first "breaking trail" photo above. Come along and watch the impressive kids powering through 10+ inches of powder as they tow me along. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Back to the trailhead and, yep, the kids found a snow wall to climb for end of run treats :)

"We'll come up to your level!" states the polite kids climbing up to get treats.

It is not often we can say an April skijor outing was "slowed by deep snow": 7.4 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 139 days on the trails covering 1232.2 miles with 113,200 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Fresh Tracks

What incredible conditions for April 21st!!!

Laying fresh tracks in 3-4 inches of fresh April powder. Wheeee!

We woke to a light layer of new snow at home this morning. Knowing the snow gets better/deeper the higher you go, we went to one of our highest elevation local trails on Peak 7 of the 10 mile range. As expected, we found multiple inches of new snow on the upper trails. 

Another group (2 people & 2 dogs) had got to the trail before us, so we were actually second tracks on the trails to start the outing:

Even though we are second on the trail, there was still plenty of untouched
snow for us to lay fresh tracks to the right of the existing tracks.

We quickly caught and passed the group out before us. Once past them, it was fresh snow across the entire trail for us the rest of the outing! We had upwards of 4 inches of new snow at our highest points and 2 or so inches a little lower. What a late April treat:

Fresh tracks fun, fun, fun!

Along the way, we paused once to take in the awesome views off the trail:

Great views (for me).
This is known moose territory and I could see Jack & Rudy were scanning
the trees for moose, not taking in the views :)

Wait, we were stopped in the prior photo and Jack & Rudy were upright? Are we in some alternate universe or something?  No, don't worry, they were back to the usual antics at our pause at the highest point of the outing :)

Stop, drop and roll. Phew, all is normal again :)

Back to skijoring, come along for today's fresh tracks video highlight. Such wonderful conditions up high this morning:

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Back to the trailhead, time for end of run treats:

"You have our FULL attention!" declares the focused duo.

What a late April fresh tracks treat: 8.8 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 138 days on the trails covering 1224.8 miles with 112,200 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Z Memories

Snow angels with a view from the comedians, Jack & Rudy, this morning :)

I guess I was the only one awestruck by the views from here :)

Our initial plan this morning was to skijor the spring crust to the backcountry huts on Shrine Pass above Vail Pass this morning. This initial plan was a great success:

Trotting by one of the backcountry huts.
Despite how nice the huts look from the outside, they have no water or
electricity and only fire for heat inside. Thus a backcountry hut.

Our main goal of the day was to get to the huts to sprinkle some of Zorro's ashes. Zorro LOVED skijoring to the huts all his life. He always had so much fun flirting with the overnighters in the huts who would often come out to see the crazy guy on skis with the pretty sled dogs. Jack, Rudy and I skijored around this particular hut and then paused to sprinkle Zorro. As expected, the event got woos for Rudy and smiles from Jack - that's how they interacted with Zorro :)

Sorry, I didn't realize that Jack was not completely on camera until I got home.
Anyway, Zorro's ashes coming out of the bag in the upper right of this photo
while Rudy sings a tribute and Jack flashes his beautiful smile in honor
of wonderful Zorro.

Skijor up the spring crust to the huts, success. Sprinkle wonderful Z's ashes, success. Our final plan was to then skijor back down the crust which is usually very solid this time of year.

Looking good to begin with.

Unfortunately the crust was not nearly as solid as we had hoped. It was nice at our highest point of elevation (see the photo above); but started getting soft within a few hundred feet of our planned descent. Once Jack & Rudy started punching through the crust, it was time to abandon this plan as that is dangerous to their feet, ankles, hips and shoulders. 

What to do? Well we gently trotted over to the main snowmobile trail that goes nearby the huts. The snowmobile trail is well packed from a season of grooming and snowmobiles. Yet, grooming operations are winding down at Vail Pass and with warm days and ongoing snowmobile traffic, the trail was pretty beat up. But, better to put wear & tear on my knees than Jack & Rudy's hips & shoulders :)

But, we did find this "minute of nice trail" where the right shoulder had not seen too much snowmobile use. Come along and watch this rare stretch of nice trail we had on the way down. Hey, a minute of nice is better than none at all :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Nice shot of airborne Jack & Rudy clipped from the prior video:

Boy do my knees wish the whole trail down was as nice as this stretch!

Back to the trailhead and there is still enough of a snow wall in the parking lot for Jack & Rudy to climb for end of run treats. I think Zorro would have really gotten a kick out of the kids new "climb snow walls for treats" this season. I'm sure Zorro would have said, "What a great idea!" and joined in!

"Don't overuse those knees, we'll come to you!" says the polite kids.

Not the best outing due to a punchy crust and rough snowmobile trail; but a great outing to spread a little of Zorro on one of his favorite skijor trails: 8.4 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 19 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 137 days on the trails covering 1216.0 miles with 111,200 feet of elevation climbed.