Monday, May 22, 2023


May 22nd and still going! Wheeee!

Cruising along on snow over a vast summer meadow.

Notice anything different in the prior photo? Look closely at what we are approaching. A little closer and we had to stop because of...

Water, water everywhere! Look at all that exposed water to our left, right
and forward! Yikes.
This was as close as I was willing to let us approach the water as I didn't
want to break through any surprises we might encounter closer.

Yes, the "final melt" is in full swing on the Walton Peak trails at Rabbit Ears Pass. In a good year, we typically skijor for another 1-3 miles past this point before turning around. But, it was a very warm late April and May. So, despite having great snowpack entering April, it is melting fast! Yuck! 

Well, since we could not continue forward as planned, time to turnaround and find more terrain to extend the outing. Did I say "turnaround"...

"Yes, you said 'turnaround', so we must first roll around!" says the silly kids
rolling their typical turnaround snow angels.

In order to extend the outing, I needed to find leftover groomer trails. When the snowpack has fallen this far, we cannot go off set trails as we do earlier in Spring on the Spring Crust. The off trail terrain is super choppy and bumpy. But, the set trails where a heavy groomer ran all winter long are less bumpy from months of heavy groomer packing. Luckily I know where the groomers run all winter. So, we backtracked from the water hazard above and took an out & back on a winter groomed side trail:

Ah, yes, nice condition on this leftover groomer route.
Notice the nice terrain is about the width of a groomer and look to our
right for an example of just how choppy & bumpy the off trail snow
has become. My knees cannot absorb going over that choppiness!

Did I say we did an "out & back" on a side trail? Yep, so that means we had another turnaround point. I bet you were expecting another snow angel photo or a wooing Rudy and rolling Jack, right? 

"Hey, we can simply 'turnaround' sometimes!" says the happy kids showing
they can 'stop & turnaround' instead of 'stop, drop, roll then turn' (sometimes :)

Finally, it was back to my favorite stretch of trail in this area this time of year. This is again a heavily used and frequently groomed stretch of trail. As above, notice the "smoother snow" is about the width of a groomer and outside of that is extremely choppy, bumpy and knee killing terrain.

Ah, so nice on the groomer leftovers :)

Now come along for the video counterpart to the prior photo. While we ran into a lot of sketchy conditions and exposed water this morning, this stretch was, as expected, perfect! Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Back to the trailhead and the kids found a mini snow wall to climb for end of run treats. It's not as tall as they prefer, but it's better than making me come all the way down to their level :)

"We had a great time today!" declares the happy kids.

A great morning with a little bit of re-routing due to exposed water: 8.4 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2022/2023 Season to Date: 161 days on the trails covering 1414.4 miles with 128,100 feet of elevation climbed.

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