Sunday, December 31, 2023

Years or Months?

Great shot from the front of happy Jack & Rudy flying on by as they tow me to the finish of this morning's awesome skijor!


Now that Rudy's 6th birthday has come & gone, I can refer to Jack & Rudy as "the six year olds" (Jack turned 6 back in July). Today's outing started on single track trails in the backcountry; but we dropped onto the fast & wide trails of Gold Run Nordic Center after about 1.5 miles. The six year olds were really zipping around the trails this morning - such an impressive pair:

Catching air as the kids tow me up a slight rise in the trail. Cool!

But, then, at one point, all puppy broke out in front of me. 6 year olds? Yeah right, looked more like 6 month olds to me :)

Unauthorized play session breaking out in front of me!
"I triple dog dare you to play with me!" asserts play bowing Rudy.
"Can't turn down a triple dog dare, have at you!" responds Jack getting ready
to pounce :)

After a separation and short lecture from me on the difference between 6 years and 6 months, it was back to business skijoring and flying around the trails again.

Cool shot of the kids catching air in a full sprint stretch!

I love today's video highlight. I mentioned the other day that this particular trail has been re-routed at one point due to low snowpack so far this season. This re-route happens at about 25 seconds into today's video where the trail typically continues forward but veers right this season. On our pass by here the other day, Jack & Rudy slowed briefly as the trail had changed from past years. Today, though, there is not so much as a break in stride. You only need to show the smart kids a new trail once and they get it. Finally watch this clip at about 36 seconds in where the kids shift into another gear and literally take off along the trail. The GPS clocked us at 24 MPH along this speed burst. I was actually expected it to register 25 or 26 MPH as it felt that fast to me! Zoom!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Outside of the one unauthorized play session I showed above; it was zoom, zoom, zoom all morning long. We were going so fast that we were way ahead of schedule to meet Nancy at the trailhead. So, we did a quick out & back on a side trail near the trailhead. As we were on the side trail, the groomer came up the main trail. As a result, we got to be first tracks on the fresh groom for the last 1/2 mile or so of the outing!

First tracks on the fresh nordic corduroys!

Back to the trailhead where 6 year olds, not 6 month year olds, get end of run treats. Which do we have?

"Aw c'mon man, one little game of tag and you blow it out of
" says the happy 6 year olds quite proud of their
entire outing today!

Another wonderful nordic speed day: 9.6 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 50 days on the trails covering 421.6 miles with 40,200 feet of elevation climbed.


Saturday, December 30, 2023


It was a beautiful bluebird morning for a fast & fun skijor on the upper elevation trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center.

The kids catching air as we zoom along this perfect
nordic trail. Wheeee!

As you can see in the prior photo, we were not first tracks on the recently groomed trail but we were second or third on the trail most of the morning. We weaved together 4 different trails on the way to our highest elevation of the day. Then it was time to turn around and fly back the way we came:

Zooming kids with cool snow poofs coming off their feet.

Now here's the video counterpart to the prior photo. Come along for this gorgeous skijor at around 12,000 feet in elevation. If you can take your eyes of impressive Jack & Rudy, notice what a beautiful morning it was! Top speed in this clip? Well, the GPS registered us at 24 MPH - zoom!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Of course, going that fast means you need to roll snow angels to cool your jets at any turnaround points along the way :)

"Ah, rub a dub dub!" goes the snow rolling sillies.
Don't both their faces just look like they are in heaven rolling in the snow?

There are not many things that distract Jack & Rudy from running, typically it is only large wildlife (moose, elk, coyote) that can draw their attention away from running. But, every once in a while one of them will find a stick along the way to be interesting. Then, once one picks up the stick, it becomes a "stick sharing" event and often a stick tug of war. I don't know what makes certain sticks so interesting as they will ignore most; but something is really special about the occasional stick.

Jack found this stick on the edge of the trail interesting so he picked it
up without stopping. But, then Rudy noticed Jack had a "special" stick
and a joint stick chew unveiled for a few moments before both dropped
the stick and on we continued.

Done sharing that special stick and back to skijoring. As we were approaching the trailhead to conclude the day, we encountered quite a few skiers starting out on the trail. Well, Jack & Rudy love to fly by skiers and put smiles on their faces; people are always in awe of the impressive sled dogs towing me along:

"Hi! Coming through!" says the fun kids impressing this
onlooking skier.

Finally, my super fun pals climbing a mini snow wall for end of run treats:

"We had a BLAST today!" declares the happy kids.

A speedy day on wonderful, recently groomed nordic trails: 10.3 miles traveled with 1100 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 49 days on the trails covering 412.0 miles with 39,300 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Rudy Birthday

Today is Rudy's 6th birthday and he THOROUGHLY enjoyed his birthday skijor!

"What wonderful birthday present - a fast & fun skijor!!!!" exclaims ecstatic Rudy.
"Birthday skijor? Lucky stiff!" adds Jack whose birthday is July 20th, so he
doesn't get a birthday skijor. But, he's happy to celebrate Rudy's with him :)

We went to Gold Run Nordic Center to celebrate Rudy's birthday. There are two "dogs allowed" trails at Gold Run but only one has been open and groomed so far this year. But, this all changed last Wednesday as the Preston Loop (our favorite of the two dog trails at Gold Run) finally collected enough snow to open for the season. Jack & Rudy were thrilled to get our first skijor sprint around the Preston Loop today!

Yay, Preston is open - let's FLY to celebrate!!!!

Today's video highlight has to be from skijoring the Preston Loop, of course. Come along and watch the fun, fun, fun. Note at about 26 seconds into the clip and Jack & Rudy slow a bit. In a good snow year this trail continues straight ahead through what is an unmaintained path through the trees. But, we have had a less than average snow year so far (the reason Preston hasn't opened until this week). As a result, the loop has been modified to veer right onto a forest service road. This right versus straight has never existed in Jack & Rudy's skijoring career. Thus the reason they slow a bit. I simply call out "Right" and then "Good boys" as Jack & Rudy get the detour and floor it again. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

As you probably noticed in the photo/video above, the Preston Loop is quite shaded most of the way. Once done doing that loop, we connect onto the other dogs allowed trail to complete the outing. This next trail is VERY sun exposed as you can see below:

The flying kids again on a freshly groomed trail with cool snow poofs
flying off their feet.

We were so thrilled to have the Preston Loop open that we skijored around the loop twice. But, before you restart a loop, you must stop, drop and roll :)

"Need to roll and cool our jets before sprinting around the loop again!" declares
the snow rolling sillies.

Next, we concluded the outing by putting smiles on the faces of skiers we encountered (6 in all - this group of 2, another group of 3 and solo skier):

"Hi!!! Bye!!! Made you smile!" says Jack & Rudy to the oncoming skiers
in awe of the fun sled dogs towing me along.

Finally, back to the trailhead for end of run treats to complete Rudy's birthday bash!

"Ready!" says the happy & focused kids.
Wow is that a BRIGHT sun behind the kids!!!

What a birthday treat for Rudy getting to finally skijor our favorite trail at Gold Run: 9.7 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 48 days on the trails covering 401.7 miles with 38,200 feet of elevation climbed.


Thursday, December 28, 2023

25 MPH Burst

Oh my, what a fast day we had on the recently groomed nordic trails this morning!

"WOO! I feel the need, the need for speed!" belts out wooing Rudy.
"Oh my we were FLYING, need to roll in snow to cool my jets!" adds
snow rolling Jack.

After spending the last 4 skijor outings on ungroomed backcountry trails, today we decided to go floor it on the groomed trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center. We were not first tracks on the recently groomed trails but we were 2nd or 3rd all morning long - that's pretty much the same as being first tracks!

The kids, Jack & Rudy, were in super speed mode this morning. I could not believe how fast we were flying around the terrain! Come along and see for yourself...

It was catching air as we zoomed by the Kathy's Viewpoint Warming Hut:

Flying! Love the snow poofs you can see in sun behind Rudy.
If you look closely, you can see similar poofs behind Jack; but they
are in the shade so harder to see.

It was catching air with views as we flew along this stretch with awesome views to our right:

Poofs off the feet again, catching air again, zooming again!!!!

It was catching air on the approach to FLY by the Hallelujah Warming Hut:

Did the kids ever actually touch the trail today? :)

It was catching air as we hit our top speed of this season: 25 MPH!

Such incredible lift from the hover huskies!

Now come along for the video of Jack & Rudy's 25 MPH burst. The kids maintain 14-18 MPH for extended distances on groomed trails; but we typically get a few speed bursts mixed in along the way. Come along for today's burst. We start out on the approach to the Hallelujah Warming Hut. Then, about 8 seconds into the clip and you see Jack & Rudy kick it into overdrive. Boom! It's quite the amazing feeling to be behind these bursts on skis. What a fun & wild ride :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

What a way to earn end of run treats by FLYING all morning long!

"That was fun! How about some refueling?" asks the focused, happy kids.

The theme for today's skijor outing? Zoom! 9 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 25 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 47 days on the trails covering 392.0 miles with 37,300 feet of elevation climbed.


Wednesday, December 27, 2023


Leaning into a left curve on the trail with my favorite sports car - the Jack & Rudy skijor machine :)

Such great cornering skills!

Today is my birthday and I got just what I wanted from Jack & Rudy: a 9+ mile skijor on wonderful soft snow! Our route took us up the front side of Sallie Barber Mine, then down and back up the back side, then out and back into the backcountry on a narrow single track trail and finally back down the front side of Sallie Barber Mine.

For the majority of the morning sun had not risen over the top of the mountain we were on; so the photos are bit dark but fun was had by all!

Flying down the back side of the Sallie Barber Mine Trail. Wheeee!

The contrast between being in morning mountain shade versus being in the morning sun is quite striking. The following photo shows what I mean. We are skijoring in the mountain shade; but look across the valley from us and you see a bright, bright mountain in the morning sun. What a difference in lighting!

Fun in the shade with a striking sun soaked mountain across the
valley from us.

Today's video highlight goes along with the prior photo. Come along and watch us galloping along in the shade with sun soaked mountains ahead of us. Striking contrast :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Given the route we took today, we passed by the historic Sallie Barber Mine three times. Of course Jack & Rudy had to stop and roll snow angels on one of the passes...

Stop, drop and roll in front of the historic Sallie Barber Mine.

If you are wondering, we like to go out early to skijor for three reasons: 1) trails are less busy early; 2) conditions are usually better early; and 3) Jack & I are "morning people" so we might as well go skijoring if we are up. Now that we are past the shortest day of the year, the lighting will start getting better every morning for the rest of the season.

Anyway, back to the trailhead and in the sun you saw hitting the mountains across from us in the video:

"Happy Birthday! Do we get 'end of run' treats for your birthday?" asks
the inquisitive kids. You sure do guys!

What a birthday skijor treat for me: 9.4 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 46 days on the trails covering 383.0 miles with 36,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023


Laying fresh tracks in a light layer of untouched fresh snow - wheeee!

Beautiful trail with a wonderful light layer of fresh snow!

While most of our outing this morning found us laying fresh tracks in the new snow, at our highest elevations, it was breaking trail over laying fresh tracks! Our definitions: 1) fresh tracks: gliding through less than 6 inches of untouched, fresh snow; 2) breaking trail: powering through over 6 inches of untouched, fresh snow.

Breaking trail at our highest point of the elevation. Pow, pow, powder!

But, most of the day was spent laying fresh tracks in a light layer of fresh snow:

Freshies again - wheeee!

Now come along for today's short video of Jack & Rudy laying fresh tracks with light snowfall actively falling around us. Yay for Snow!!!!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We did an "out & back" outing, so we had to turnaround at one point. I didn't realize I was so close to Jack & Rudy that I was cutting off part of their turnaround fun - it was hilarious to see the whole thing in action. Oh well, here's the best I got off the camera:

"Rolling a SERIOUS powder snow angel!" declares powder rolling Jack.
"WOOOO - I love snow!" adds wooing Rudy.

Back to the trailhead and the comedians are suddenly all business awaiting end of run treats:

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

A fun little fresh tracks skijor romp this morning: 7.2 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 45 days on the trails covering 373.6 miles with 35,500 feet of elevation climbed.


Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Jack & Rudy, the happy little elves, towing me in my Santa hat to the end of this morning's holiday skijor.

The jolly kids always have a smile on their faces when skijoring!

This morning's outing took us back to French Gulch which we skijored yesterday.  Why return to the same trail two days in a row? Well, as expected, French Gulch got plowed after we were done skijoring yesterday. But, there was light snowfall and cold temperatures all day yesterday and last night. This meant we had a nice layer of new snow on the otherwise plowed, but frozen, ground. There was just enough new snow and minimal trail damage due to cold temperatures to open up the throttle again and again...

They flying kids floating over the trail.
Note we are laying fresh tracks in new snow in this shot and you can also
see our "out tracks" to our left.

Enough new snow for flying means enough new snow for hovering :)

The hover huskies catching air.

Now come along for some video fun from the morning. We start this clip with Jack & Rudy towing me up a gentle rise in the trail. Why pull the human up the rise? Well, because the other side of a rise is a downhill run; so let's get the human up quickly so we can sprint the other side!!! Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

As with yesterday (and every trip to French Gulch), eventually Jack & Rudy catch the scent of moose in the area (usually more than once). When the smell is strong, you must pause to peek into the gulch for the big moose!

"We smell moose!" declares the moose seeking kids.
As with yesterday, we did spot a moose in the deep snow across the
gulch but it was too far away to show up on camera.

Back to the trailhead and time of end of run Christmas treats! I somehow misplaced my red Santa hat this past year, so I'm now decked out in my blue Denver Bronco Santa hat.

"We were very good boys today and this ENTIRE year!" says the happy,
fun kids.

The only downside of this morning's outing? Well, it was -11 F outside when we started our skijor and -10 F when we finished (yes, that is "11 below zero"). As a result, I cut the outing shorter than usual to preserve the human in such cold temperatures (Jack & Rudy thought it was lovely out): 5.2 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 44 days on the trails covering 366.4 miles with 34,700 feet of elevation climbed.


Sunday, December 24, 2023


A rare treat this morning: getting out before the plows and skijoring French Gulch Road!

Zipping along French Gulch Road - wheeee!

Only 2 or 3 cars (and no plows) had been on French Gulch Road before us in this morning's new snow. So, we started our skijor a couple of miles before the trailhead and skijored the road before connecting onto the actual trails. Fun!

For the most part, we have removed French Gulch from our skijoring menu. It used to be Max, Zorro and my FAVORITE trail. Years ago it was only skiers or snowmobiles you'd encounter on the trail. But, there are a handful of private cabins in the gulch and the owners have keys to the winter gate to drive the gulch. Unfortunately, over the years, a few of the cabin owners have started paying to have the gulch plowed! It started a few times a winter and has grown into getting plowed pretty much after every heavy snowstorm. As a result, we no longer expect much skijoring in French Gulch except for a couple of times a season when we get out before the plows.

Why was this one of Max & Zorro's favorite trails? Well, in addition to once being excellent backcountry terrain, the gulch is also home to a very active moose population. I'm pretty sure we saw at least one moose on every skijor in French Gulch (which was 100s of outings). Sometimes the moose were far away and sometimes right in the middle of the trail. Regardless of where the moose was, Max & Zorro would pick up the scent of moose and get excited. If the moose was far off trail, they would stop and climb snow walls on the side of the trail to get a view of the moose they smelled.

Well, today Jack & Rudy got one of their rare skijors in French Gulch. From Max/Zorro to Jack/Rudy, some things never change. I don't know how many photos I have of Max/Zorro in this position taken by Jack/Rudy this morning:

"Beep, beep - we smell moose to the right and we see them too!"
says the intense moose seekers.

I turned myself in the direction they were looking in the previous photo. Sure enough, I saw a moose walking through deep snow across the large open space that houses French Creek just on the other side of the trees to our right. I pointed my camera that direction; but the moose was too far away to show up on video; but all three of us saw it!!!!

On the rare occasion, like today, when you can skijor through the plowed section of French Gulch, you are always treated to incredible powder caches far back in the gulch. I have so many memories of plowing through deep powder with Max/Zorro on this trail. Here's Jack & Rudy's powder treat for the day:

Whee - it sure does get deep & fun if you can get through
the plowed initial terrain.

Now come along for today's fun video. We start out on great backcountry terrain running in the tracks we set on the way out this trail. Then, a few moments into the video and we pass by one of the private cabins. Well, the cabin owner had recently driven on the trail as you see in the video. Watch as Jack & Rudy transition from backcountry terrain to share a tire track without so much of a pause in the action. Fun kids.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

If you watch the video closely, near the end you'll see Jack & Rudy are having trouble fitting both of their bodies in a single tire track. Not a problem, as a few moments after that video clip, the kids realized they can each take a tire track and I get to really enjoy the safe powder in between!

"We prefer to run 'shoulder to shoulder' but we can adapt to any
conditions to keep going fast!
" says the smart kids now taking one
tire track each. It was beautiful for me in the powder down the middle
as well!

Back to the trailhead to rejoice a rare skijor in French Gulch and many fond memories of Max & Zorro. Note that Jack & Rudy got the pleasure of skijoring French Gulch with Zorro; but the majority of our skijors in French Gulch was Max & Zorro.

"We remember doing this with wonderful Zorro too!" says the focused
kids awaiting end of run treats.

Ah, memories.... and a rare skijor in French Gulch nowadays: 8.4 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 43 days on the trails covering 361.2 miles with 34,300 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Sprint then Roll

It was a perfect day on freshly groomed nordic trails to sprint and catch some air :)

Catching air as we were first tracks on the freshly groomed trail!

We got on the trails just after the groomer had started out itself. As a result, we found ourselves laying first tracks or second tracks (to ourselves) all morning long. We never actually met up with the groomer as it went a different direction than us on the large upper elevation loop at Breckenridge Nordic Center; but we knew we were just behind it as the trail was perfect and untouched! I love watching the snow poofs coming off Jack and Rudy's feet when they get on a soft & freshly groomed trail:

Catching air with snow poofs coming off the kids' feet. Wheeee!

It was an incredible zippy fast day with snow poofs galore :)

Out-stretched, fast running Jack & Rudy with more snow poofs
flying off their feet.

Today's video highlight has Jack & Rudy doing their two favorite activities skijoring. We start out in a serious fast sprint along the freshly groomed and perfect trail. Then, near the end of the clip I was planning to turnaround and redo this fun section of trail; so I guide Jack & Rudy to the left and tell them to wait. Well, then we get their second favorite skijoring activity (the first was sprinting, of course) as the two stop, drop and roll snow angels to cool off while I turn my skis around. Fun & fast kids but also stop, drop & roll sillies :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We actually had 4 turnaround points on this morning's outing as we redid several sections of perfect trail. As you saw in the previous video, it was snow angels at that turnaround point. Well, our first turnaround was also angels from Jack, of course, but woos from Rudy on this one. You never know about that comical redhead.

"You know it's rolling angels from me!" says giddy Jack (I love the look
on his happy face).
"WOOOO - I'll roll later!" says stop & woo Rudy at this turnaround point.

It was our longest skijor outing of the season this morning - talk about well deserved end of run treats!

"Ready to refuel!" says the happy, focused kids.

Great outing on PERFECT conditions: 11.2 miles traveled with 1200 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 42 days on the trails covering 352.8 miles with 33,500 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Shade to Sun

Happy kids towing me to the finish of this morning's skijor outing.

Not the best lighting but you can still see the smiles on Jack & Rudy
as they tow me to the finish.

Today's skijor review comes along with a little history. We started the day on snowmobile trails winding through the backcountry. Along the way we passed through the ghost town of Dry Gulch from the mining days in and around Breckenridge in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Zipping through a ghost town. All of these structures are over 150 years
old and in various states of decay.

History: Dry Gulch was actually one of the richest mining tracts in the history of Breckenridge. As a result, the forest is littered with tons of old mines and cabins. Most are very decayed, the photo above is one of the better preserved parts of Dry Gulch as some repairs and stabilization has been made to these particular structures.

Back to skijoring. We spent the majority of the morning in the shade of a mountain to the east of us hiding the rising morning sun. But, as we wound down the outing, it was finally time for the sun to rise over the mountain and start to decorate the trail.

Zipping along as the sun has finally risen over the mountains to shine on
the trail.

Today's neat skijor clip goes along with the "mountain shade" versus "rising sun". We start out in the morning shade of a mountain behind us. Then, watch as we are out running the mountain and the lighting gets brighter and brighter until we finally get into the bright, bright morning sun. Wheeee! A little more history - watch to our right around 40 to 55 seconds into the clip. The large structure to the right is the historic Jessie Mine & Mill - quite large and more evidence of just how rich Dry Gulch was in the mining heydays. 

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Now onto the comedians, Jack & Rudy. At one point we came to a three way trail junction. I paused to check our time on the trail to see if we needed to go right (towards the trailhead), left (add a bunch more distance) or straight (add a little more distance). Well, you know Jack & Rudy and pausing. But, this was Rudy's second performance of his new act: Stop, Drop, Roll and WOOOO!

Jack doing his patented Stop, Drop & Roll.
Rudy followed suit with a Stop, Drop & Roll but then came out of the
roll into a beautiful WOO - his new thing: Stop, Drop, Roll & Woo.

Back to the trailhead and the fun kids really love finding snow walls to climb for end of run treats:

"We'll climb up to you for the treats!" declares the polite kids allowing
me to hand them out from a standing position.

Fun morning with a little history along the way: 8.4 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 41 days on the trails covering 341.6 miles with 32,300 feet of elevation climbed.