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.

Saturday, November 25, 2023


We heard rumors yesterday that the Sallie Barber Mine Trail may not have enough snow yet to skijor.

Well, the rumors were unfounded. See for yourself:

The hover huskies topping 22 MPH as the catch air along this wonderful
stretch of trail with a dusting of new snow.

This person had told us yesterday that Sallie Barber was skiable. Then, when I told him I skijor it at 20+ MPH with two powerful Siberian Husky Sled Dogs, he replied, "Oh my, it's skiable but I don't think skijor-able!" Well, he was wrong - YAY! I know this trail very well from skijoring it for over 13 years; so I knew the three places to slow us down and watch for rocks. Other than those three patches, it was pedal to the metal behind Jack & Rudy all morning long!

On the first pass by Sallie Barber Mine, I paused momentarily to check our time out on the trails. I only intended to slow enough to check the watch on my backpack arm; but Jack & Rudy took it as a stop. Well, you know what that means...

"Stop, Drop and ROLL!" goes the silly kids rolling snow angels in front of
the historic Sallie Barber Mine.

We came up the front side of Sallie Barber then down the backside and then turned around to come back up the backside to finish back down the frontside. On the second pass, I did not slow down, so Jack & Rudy flew on by :)

"Already rolled angels here, let's floor it instead!" says the fast running duo.

Now come along for one of my favorite stretches of this trail system. We have a fun left for me to lean into then a fun right and then it opens up into a Siberian Husky Skijoring Speedway! I can see the speedway from a little further up the trail to know if there are loose dogs or moose around the corner (which there often is). Jack & Rudy know if I say "easy" into the first left that we are not going to floor it, so they slow down. If I stay silent into the left, they go "Woo Hoo, all clear - FLOOR IT!" Oh, and watch closely at about 12 seconds into the clip and you'll see Rudy give Jack a "love tap" (and hear it if your volume is up) he's so happy to be back on this trail system again (it was our first time this season).

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

If you followed along yesterday, you saw a rare occasion of Jack starting an unauthorized play session on the trail. I also mentioned that Rudy is the one who starts about 80-90% of these antics. So, here is how Rudy's mind works: 1) Jack started it yesterday; 2) I start 90% of these; therefore 3) I get to do this 9 times without getting in trouble :)  Seriously, if you have met Rudy you believe me that this is how he works.

"Have at you! I've got 8 more free ones to go!" declares instigator Rudy.
"I didn't start it, but I NEVER back down!" responds Jack.

Back to the trailhead and, oh boy, we found a snow wall to climb for end of run treats!

"That was fun! Glad the rumors were FALSE!" exclaims the happy kids.

A great first outing of the season at Sallie Barber Mine: 7.4 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 20 days on the trails covering 160.0 miles with 15,500 feet of elevation climbed.


Friday, November 24, 2023

Jack Instigator

It was very "moosey smelling" out on the trail this morning!

This is one of three sets of moose tracks we encountered crossing the trail and
going into the trees. Jack & Rudy paused to smell all 3, telling me they were
pretty fresh. Despite 2 votes from Jack & Rudy to follow this set of tracks into
the trees, I exercised my veto power :)

How do I know the tracks were pretty fresh? Well, I've measured Jack & Rudy's reaction to moose prints in the past. When we've seen an actual moose in the past, I then timed their nose reactions to the tracks left behind. Basically, if they dip their heads in the tracks or stare intensely into the forest, the tracks are at most 24 hours old, typically less if their reaction is very animated. But, despite all the distracting moose tracks crossing the trail this morning, we never got a visual. Darn, I like seeing moose from a distance (as do Jack & Rudy)!

Back to skijoring, we went the the upper elevation trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center again this morning. When the conditions were good, it was amazing:

Wonderful stretch of trail as snow poofs are coming off Rudy's feet from
the dusting of new snow on the trails.

Even when the trail was less that perfect, it was still very good!

Some saplings poking through to our right, but perfect down
the middle.

Come along for the video view into on of the perfect stretches of trail. Jack & Rudy were zoom, zoom, zooming when the conditions allowed.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Yet, we did encounter exposed ground multiple times along the outing. Typically I can walk slowly in skis over short patches of exposed ground. But, we did encounter one long & steep down stretch of exposed trail. I had to take my skis off to get over this and then put them back on. As I was cleaning snow off my boot sole, I got jerked forward by the impatient kids. Apparently I was taking TOO long to put my skis back on. By the time I lifted my head to see what was going on, I caught this!

Hey! That's unauthorized playing on the trail!
"No it's not! You are stopped SOOOOO LONG that we have to play!" counters
silly Jack & Rudy.

I said my usual, "Hey, stop that. No wrestling on the trail!" I then held short of telling Rudy to stop starting things. You see, Rudy starts 80-90% of the unauthorized antics. But, Jack has been known to start it occasionally. Since I did not see the start of this play session, I kept my accusations quiet. Then, I got home and looked at the video footage. Look what I found!

Jack, yes, perfect Jack was today's unauthorized play instigator!
This photo was seconds before the prior one and my eyes were looking down
at my boots so I missed that sly Jack started it!

Back to the trailhead and everyone has forgot they initiated unauthorized play :)

"What? We were perfect today! How about those end of run treats
" says the happy & innocent looking pair.

Unfortunately my GPS turned off in my backpack near the beginning of the outing, so I do not know today's top speed (but it sure felt like 20+ MPH maybe even 22 or 23). I do know the distance and elevation as we did a route we have done many time before: 9.4 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 19 days on the trails covering 152.6 miles with 14,900 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, November 23, 2023


Hello from the shore of Dumont Lake at Rabbit Ears Pass!

"HELLO! I'm having a GREAT time this morning!" exclaims happy Rudy.
"Me too, but have to roll snow angels in appreciation!" adds snow rolling Jack.

"Just a smile from Rudy and not a woo or a snow angel?" you ask in astonishment. Oh, don't worry, he belted out a big woo before this smile I was just turned slightly and my arm was blocking the camera as I was adjusting my equipment. 

This morning's skijor fun had us touring around to get views of the ears atop Rabbit Ears Peak. We started far away:

Zipping along as Rabbit Ears Peak is the high point in the upper left of
this photo. The two rocks atop the peak are the "ears" for which Rabbit
Ears Pass is named.

Pretty hard to see the ears in the prior photo, right? Ok, Jack & Rudy will just tow me a little closer:

Rabbit Ears Peak straight up from Jack and the two rocks (the ears) are
more visible now.

Still need a closer view? Ok, how about this:

Rabbit Ears Peak with its ears in the top center of this clip.
Nice work from Jack & Rudy fitting in this narrow single track while
still running fast.

Today's video fun goes along with the second photo of the ears above. Come along and watch Jack & Rudy towing me along this beautiful section of trail. If you can take your eyes off the impressive sled dogs, you'll see Rabbit Ears Peak and its ears coming in and out of view in front of us. Nice scenery!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Other that touring around Rabbit Ears Peak to get views of the ears, what other excitement did we have? Well, fresh smelling moose tracks are ALWAYS exciting and require stopping to inspect:

"Sniff, sniff - very fresh!" declares track inspecting Rudy.
"I know, I know and it went THIS way! We should too!" suggests moose
patrolling Jack. Sorry, Jack, we are not following fresh moose tracks into
the dense trees!

Back to the trailhead and Jack & Rudy found a mini snow wall to climb for end of run treats. It wasn't the biggest wall, but tall enough that I could hand out treats from a standing position.

"This is as high as we can get - ready for treats!" says the happy pair.

A really enjoyable skijor this morning touring around Rabbit Ears Peak: 9.3 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 18 days on the trails covering 143.2 miles with 14,000 feet of elevation climbed.


Wednesday, November 22, 2023


Rudy's first rodent dive of the 2023/2024 skijoring season. 

He's known for this antic, we've just been waiting for enough snow for the dives to return.

"Rodents under the snow! Incoming!" declares rodent diving Rudy.
Jack is searching for rodents too, he just doesn't do the high arching
swan dives like Rudy :)

We went to the Harrison Creek Trail at Rabbit Ears Pass this morning. At first there were a lot of tire tracks leading up the trail as it is still hunting season. But, after less than a mile, all the tire tracks ended and we found ourselves breaking trail in 4-8 inches of snow the rest of the way out! 

One wildlife track to Jack's left but beautiful, untouched deep
snow down the center of the trail!

The further we went, the deeper it got (to about 8 inches at our deepest points). What a treat!

Jack & Rudy powering through 8 inches of fresh powder as they
tow me along.

The reward for breaking trail all the way out? Well, you get to reuse your "out tracks" to speed up on the way back!

Smart Jack & Rudy reusing the out track on the return.

Now come along for a video demonstration of Jack & Rudy reusing their out track to speed up on the way back. Fun guys!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

At our turnaround point, Jack & Rudy looked like they were going to simply turnaround and go without any of their usual comedy. Well, of course that wasn't the case; the comedians have to perform :)

Turned around and about to restart when.... 
"Must drop & roll first!" declares snow angel rolling Jack.
"Must WOOOO in happiness first!" belts wooing Rudy.

Back to the trailhead and Jack & Rudy did their best to find a snow wall to climb for end of run treats:

"I got myself to your waist height!" says happy Jack.
"Look how tall I got!" declares happy Rudy.

An aerobic trailing breaking outing where we were happily slowed by deep snow:7.2 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 17 days on the trails covering 133.9 miles with 13,300 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Rudy 6000

5 year old Rudy surpassed 6000 career skijor miles this morning! Way to go Rudy!

"WOO! I love skijoring!" belts out Rudy at our turnaround point
of this morning's outing.

Rudy is 5 years/10 months old and has now accumulated over 6000 career skijor miles (6004.6 to be exact). Consider that most of this has happened since he was 1.5 years old (he was too young to run and then doing small training runs before 1.5) and we've had evil summer months mixed in the timeline and that is a pretty impressive skijor career he is putting together! For the curious, Jack is roughly 5 months older than Rudy, so he passed 6000 career miles late last season. Mighty impressive skijor resumes from both Jack & Rudy!

We accomplished Rudy's milestone on freshly groomed and pristine trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center this morning. We were thrilled to see the groomer had been on the trails minutes before us and we were first tracks on the fresh groom almost the entire outing!

Fresh groom so we zoom! :)

Here's a fun shot of Jack & Rudy with "fresh groom snow poofs" flying off their feet as we fly on by the Kathy's Viewpoint warming hut. Wheeee!

Nice action shot of the fun kids!

Of course, Jack & Rudy know what to do with a freshly groomed trail. Come along and watch as we top 21 MPH on the fresh groomie zoomie trail. Zoom!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Along the way, we encountered another skier coming up the trail. Jack & Rudy love to fly by oncoming traffic and put smiles on people's faces!

"Coming through! Made you smile!" says fast running Jack & Rudy
putting on a skijoring show for the oncoming skier.

Back to the trailhead and time to celebrate Rudy's 6000th career skijor mile with some tasty end of run treats:

"I did it! 6000 career miles and counting!" says happy Rudy.
"Been there, done that!" adds older brother Jack.

A fabulous morning on freshly groomed trails: 8.4 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 16 days on the trails covering 126.7 miles with 12,700 feet of elevation climbed.

Monday, November 20, 2023


Our first skijor up & down Boreas Pass this morning. Yay for Boreas!

Jack & Rudy cruising along as we approach the historic Baker's Tank
left over from when Boreas Pass Road was the railroad into Breckenridge.

Boreas is a very fun trail to skijor. But, it is open to vehicles (for hunting season) until around Thanksgiving. As a result, you have to get on Boreas immediately after fresh snow to enjoy it before it gets tracked up by vehicles. As expected, the snow cover was pretty thin but good enough to ski gently. Smart Jack & Rudy understood the conditions are remained in a gentle jog to light trot all outing long. Occasionally we could open up the speed a little bit, but not for long before returning to a gentle jog.

One nice stretch as we open up the throttle a little bit.

Most of the outing, though, was spent as you see in the following video: a gentle jog by Jack & Rudy as they tow me along in thin snow cover. The super smart guys knew to never try and floor it, the conditions were a jog to trot outing :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Along the way we passed by a large meadow where we have seen moose many times. Jack & Rudy had to stop and survey for moose. We never saw any but I could tell by the movement of their noses that the scent of moose was in the air!

"Sniff, sniff - we smell you! Where are you?!?!" asks the moose patrol.

After going up Boreas for a little over 4 miles, it was time to turnaround and head back down. Today's turnaround comedy was the usual snow angels from Jack and woos from Rudy this morning:

"Rub a dub dub!" goes snow rolling Jack.
"WOO! Finally back on Boreas!" belts wooing Rudy.

Finally, back to the trailhead and Jack & Rudy found a snow wall to climb for end of run treats. They started doing this last season and have been waiting for enough snow to collect for wall climbing this season!

"We'll come up to you for the treats!" says the polite gentleman letting
me stand instead of kneel to hand out treats!

A fun first run of the season on Boreas albeit a bit of a thin cover/cautious outing: 8.2 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a modest top speed of 17 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 15 days on the trails covering 118.3 miles with 11,900 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, November 19, 2023


Laying fresh tracks up a wonderful stretch of snow covered & untouched terrain!

Fresh tracks fun. Wheeee!

We returned to the upper elevation trails of Breckenridge Nordic Center once again this morning. There was fresh snow on the ground but not enough to open up any trails lower in elevation. Not a problem, Jack, Rudy and I had a great time laying fresh tracks up the highest elevation trail at the nordic center. The higher we got, the more fresh snow we found!

Here is a fun shot of our return on this high elevation trail as Jack & Rudy powder through about 4-5 inches of fresh powder.

Powder fun!!!
The tracks to our left are our "out tracks" on this same trail.

While we found some nice powder at our highest points, most of the day was spent on 1-2 inches of fresh snow. But, with wide trails we were able to lay fresh tracks both directions.

Laying fresh tracks on the right side of the trail after laying fresh tracks
up the left side of the trail.

Now come along for today's video fun. I really like this section of trail as it has a few gentle corners. It is so fun to ride behind Jack & Rudy flying along the straightaways and then tucking into a corner with them. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

At one junction of trails, I paused to decide whether to continue forward or hang a right. Well, I stopped...

"You stopped, we roll!!!!" demonstrates the snow rolling goofballs.
Don't they look like the happiest guys on earth as they roll in the snow.

Back to the trailhead for our usual end of run treat party. I love how focused Jack & Rudy are on me as they await the treats. Such good boys!

"You have our FULL attention!" declares the happy kids.

A fresh tracks fun run this morning: 8.6 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 14 days on the trails covering 110.1 miles with 11,100 feet of elevation climbed.