Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Season Finale

Today was our last skijor of the 2023/2024 season. Look at what we accomplished this season:

Impressive & happy kids looking back to me as we conclude another
awesome season of skijoring!

What are all those towers behind Jack & Rudy in the prior photo? Well, those are the communication towers atop Walton Peak at Rabbit Ears Pass. Yep, to conclude the 2023/2024 season, we skijored up & down what is the summer service road to the towers on Walton Peak. The temperatures were too warm for us to skijor the crust over vast meadows, so we had to stick to snow over summer roads. 

So, up the Walton Peak Service Road we went:

Cruising up the snow over the service road behind the Siberian Rope Tow :)

As I expected, the conditions at the top of Walton Peak were VERY nice. Nice enough for the hover huskies to catch some air on the way back down:

Catching air as we begin the descent from the top of Walton Peak.

Now come along and watch our final skijor of the season from high atop Walton Peak. Look closely at the beginning and you'll see lots of speckles flying in the air. These are pieces of slush flying off Jack & Rudy's feet. Then, about 18 seconds into the clip and one of the slush balls lands and sticks on the center of the camera. Keep watching though, you can see most of Jack & Rudy despite the water spot until finally the spot dries and we have a clear view of Jack & Rudy again. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Making it to the top of the peak on May 29th made everyone very happy & frisky:

Unauthorized game of tag breaking out at the top of Walton Peak. Silly kids.

You might be thinking, "Look at all these wonderful, snow covered photos. Why is this the season finale?" Well, I'lll spare you some of the treacherous patches of exposed ground we also encountered. All the photos above are from near the top of Walton Peak, what we had to cross lower in elevation was occasionally ugly! It was a WONDERFUL season, though, we had a slow start due to bad early season snow; but Jack & Rudy really caught up to our standards once the snow arrived. Let's end the season with one last fun action shot:

Flying Rudy and cannonball Jack cruising along.
Look at that encroaching ground to our left, though!

Back to the trailhead and our final "end of run treats" celebration of the season:

"What a great season! We LOVE snow and we LOVE treats!" says the
happy, happy kids.

Today's season finale: 8.6 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2023/2024 Season Total: 157 days on the trails covering 1328.1 miles with 132,000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 26 MPH.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Fresh Again!

Who was excited about another day of "laying fresh tracks in late May"?

"We are! We are! We are having a blast!" says my happy pals looking back
to me at a short pause during the outing.

Yes it has been quite the snowy May in Colorado this year. It seems like we've been laying fresh tracks to breaking trail in new snow a record number of days in May. Yesterday morning was yet another wonderful outing laying fresh tracks at the base of Walton Peak at Rabbit Ears Pass,

Whee - laying fresh tracks in a 1/2 to 1 inch of fresh snow over a solid
Spring crust. Beautiful!

Along with the morning's new snow, it also got below 20 F overnight and remained below freezing for many hours. As a result, the Spring Crust refroze overnight and was quite solid. So, with a firm crust and upwards of an inch of new snow, we skijored a large loop in the vast meadows at the base of Walton Peak.

Laying fresh tracks as we cruise through a vast meadow on a solid snow crust!

Jack & Rudy were having a great time and in a real groove flooring it all morning long:

Flying Jack & Rudy! Wheeee!

So much fun video footage from the morning, what to use as our highlight? Well, how about the following fun minute as we are cruising along on what seemed like endless perfect terrain! Come along and watch the fun!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

The first photo above was a rare one for Jack & Rudy at a momentary pause on the trails (i.e., they were both UPRIGHT)! Well, all other momentary pauses brought out their usual antics :)

"Stop, drop & roll!" says the snow rolling sillies doing their usual
snow angels.

Finally, the creative kids even found a little snow wall to perch upon for end of run treats. These two so love to be up on a snow wall for treats!

"Ready!" says the happy, happy kids!
You can see my right leg is fully extended so I could dish out the
treats from a standing position to my wall perched pals,.

Another wonderful late May skijor outing: 9 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 156 days on the trails covering 1319.5 miles with 131,100 feet of elevation climbed.


Thursday, May 23, 2024

Service Road

Riding the Siberian Tow Rope up the Walton Peak Service Road - wheeee!

Powerful kids! Fun time!!!

Temperatures at Walton Peak did not get below freezing last night and were approaching 40 F when we started this morning's outing. I was hoping our usual early morning start would let us abandon set trails and skijor the firm Spring Crust. But, it was not cold enough for long enough overnight to re-establish the crust from the previous afternoon. So, what to do? Well, easy, there is a summer service road that goes all the way to the communication towers at the top of Walton Peak. Snow packed on a service road maintains ski-ability much longer than a crust over meadows of shrubbery. So, today's skijor was an out & back to the top of Walton Peak using the service road the entire distance. The results? Well see for yourself in today's wonderful photos and video:

Catching air coming down from the tip top of Walton Peak!

Now come along and watch the video counterpart to the prior photo. All the yellow poles you see are marking the service road, so it is pretty easy to stay on trail and not accidentally drift off road and punch through the soft crust. Jack & Rudy are, of course, perfect at following the occasional "right" and "left" I call out to keep us on road. Fun, fun kids!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

For distance, every time we encountered a really nice stretch of snow covered road, we would turnaround and redo it. Jack & Rudy understood what was necessary to get distance when you could not rely on the crust :)

Second pass along this nice stretch of the service road.
As usual, Jack & Rudy have swapped sides from their typical configuration
to enjoy the trail repeat from a different perspective :)

Of course, repeating sections of the road means turning around. Well, we all know what Jack & Rudy do with turnaround events :)

Turnaround! Roll around from the snow rolling sillies.
Talented Rudy getting a mouthful of snow during his roll.
Talented Jack looking like a yoga professional!

It was fast and fun all the way to the finish by using the Walton Peak Service Road:

Running fast to the end of the outing as the end of the road is just ahead
where it intersects Highway 40. But notice all that exposed water in the
upper right of this photo. The season is quickly winding down.

We didn't get to do our usual springtime crust skijoring; but the service road provided a great alternative, right guys?

"Oh yes, we had a BLAST!" states the happy, happy kids awaiting
end of run treats.

It was a wonderful late May skijor via the Walton Peak Service Road: 9.3 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 155 days on the trails covering 1310.5 miles with 130,200 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

1300 Miles

Look at what Jack & Rudy accomplished this morning!

"And we thoroughly enjoyed EVERY single mile!!!" says the happy
and proud kids.

Yes, this is the fun kids' third straight season with over 1300 miles of skijoring! The 6 year olds actually have 5 straight seasons with over 1200 miles of skijoring; but it is just the last 3 that have surpassed 1300 as well. Quite the accomplishment for my young pals!

To top if off, guess what we got condition-wise to surpass 1300 miles this morning? Well, we found ourselves laying fresh tracks in 3-5 inches of fluffy new snow atop Vail Pass! I knew we were supposed to get a dusting of snow overnight, but I never expected it would turn into 3-5 inches of very light & fluffy snow. What a treat for late May!

We started the day weaving through some trees to enjoy the fresh snow. It takes a lot of confidence in your partners to go "tree skijoring" as you are winding through trees by voice commands. But, I totally trust Jack & Rudy!

Whee - laying fresh tracks weaving through the trees!

Eventually the trees thinned and we got to the vast open meadows atop Vail Pass. Conditions were mid Winter PERFECT at this elevation. Just look at this beautiful photo:

Is it May 22 or January 22?
The power twins blasting through upwards of 5 inches of fresh & fluffy snow.

We skijored up one side of a large ravine to then come back down the other side. So, we were laying fresh tracks ALL day long! The mountain views on the way back are quite stunning!

Still laying fresh tracks with cool mountain views ahead of us.
The "cuts" you see in the trees directly above Rudy are the ski runs
of Copper Mountain Ski Resort.

With such awesome views in the prior photo, we'll use that for today's video highlight. Come along and watch fun as we had an amazing fresh tracks skijor this May 22nd!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

You know what else fresh & fluffy snow is good for? Well, rolling snow angels with gusto, of course :)

Stop, drop and roll goes the silly kids at one pause during the outing.

What a beautiful way to surpass 1300 miles, right guys?

"Oh that was FUN! Glad summer only lasted 3 days!" says the happy kids
thrilled to be back on snow after 3 LONG days off :)

Today's fresh tracks fun: 8.4 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 154 days on the trails covering 1301.2 miles with 129,200 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Eek, the Creek!

Everybody having a good time this morning?

"You bet!!!" says the happy, happy sled dogs thrilled to still be on snow in May.

Today's outing took us to the Dumont Lake area at Rabbit Ears Pass. I was hoping for another smooth Spring Crust skijor like yesterday. Although there was a firm crust of snow, it was a very bumpy crust. I was bouncing all over the place trying to keep pace with Jack & Rudy on this bumpy terrain:

Jack & Rudy cruising along while my legs and knees were getting
beat up amidst all the bumps!

Some of this bumpiness was due to heavy snowmobile traffic on this part of Rabbit Ears and some was just the melting snowpack. So, I turned us away from the most popular snowmobile pathways and, sure enough, we found much smoother terrain to run on top of. It was still a little bumpy, but nothing compared to the extreme bumps in the high traffic areas:

"Ah, this is much smoother!" says my appreciative knees :)

What is all that black/brown ahead of us in the prior photo? Well, it is an exposed creek! It's always sad when the creek breaks through on our late season mountain passes as this means the end of the season really is near. Come along for today's video highlight of our skijor to the edge of the creek. We start out on a very nice crust. Then Jack & Rudy slow nicely as the terrain gets a little bumpy as we arrive to the edge of the creek. Of course the smart kids know the fast flowing creek is nothing to mess with, so we stop to turnaround. The creek, by the way, is Muddy Creek which will take all this wonderful snow melt into the Colorado River.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Since the creek was wide and running fast, there was no way to cross, so we backtracked until we found a safe crossing point (a few "snow bridges" are still intact which let you cross the creek safely):

Cruising along the edge of Muddy Creek until we could find a snow bridge
to safely cross over the creek.

Did I use the word "turnaround" above? Yep, so you know what that means:

"Turnaround, roll around!" goes the funny snow rolling kids.

Another sign the season is winding down (in addition to the exposed creek)? Well, when you have to seek out snow piles amidst exposed ground for end of run treats, you know things are winding down :)

At least we found this little snow pile for end of run treats!
The treats just don't taste the same if your toes are not on snow!

Today's skijor tally: 7.7 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 153 days on the trails covering 1292.8 miles with 128,300 feet of elevation climbed.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Endless Meadow

Another wonderful, early morning skijor atop a perfect Spring Crust.

Today was at the base of Walton Peak at Rabbit Ears Pass.

Cruising behind my fun pals with Walton Peak in the upper
left of this photo.

Today's outing took us to one of my favorite Spring Crust tours. We started out cruising along a nice ridge line with steep slopes on each side of it:

Steep to the left, steep to the right, but perfect ridge line down the middle.

The goal, though, was to use this ridge line to get to the base of Walton Peak. Once at the base, we are treated to two absolutely endless snow covered meadows. With a firm Spring Crust, we are able to abandon set trails and roam back and forth through these two large meadows. Jack & Rudy, of course, know what to do with a firm crust and endless terrain - zoom!

The hover huskies catching air as we fly through this endless meadow.

How endless? Well, come along and see for yourself. Today's video highlight is a minute of fast skijoring through a meadow that never ends :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

When we finished one large meadow, we hung a right to do the next meadow. Everyone ok with that plan?

"Sounds wonderful!" states always happy Jack.
"I apprOOOOOOOOve!" adds wooing Rudy.

We then went out & back in the second large meadow. But, that means we had to turnaround at one point. Yes, you guessed it: Stop, Drop and Roll:

Look at those blissful faces as the sillies roll snow angels to cool off.

The only letdown on today's outing? Well, there were no snow walls to climb for end of run treats. Oh well, I can kneel sometimes to come down to Jack & Rudy's level:

"We had a BLAST today!" states the happy, happy kids!

What a wonderful May skijor: 9.4 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 152 days on the trails covering 1285.1 miles with 127,700 feet of elevation climbed.


Thursday, May 16, 2024


Can't you just feel the power behind strong Jack & Rudy in this photo?

The power twins putting all their strength into their shoulders to
launch me along. Wheeee!

We returned to Vail Pass again this morning. As with two days ago, we got out on the terrain before 7am in hopes that the Spring Crust was still firm early in the morning. Well, as you see in the photo above - success! The early morning crust was perfect again today as we were able to abandon set trails and skijor any and every direction we chose. 

Along the way and... It's a bird, it's a plane, it's super Jack & Rudy:

The power kids literally flying along. Beautiful airborne shot of Jack
and nice power shot of Rudy (looks at his shadow to see he is all four
feet off the ground too).

One of the fun attractions at Vail Pass is the backcountry huts where groups snowshoe and/or ski to and stay overnight. But, since we have to get out early in May for the crust, it is hit or miss whether any of the overnighters are up when we cruise by early in the morning. Well, today was "hut success" as we encountered quite a few overnighters up & about early. Jack & Rudy LOVE to flirt with the crowds and the crowds love to meet them too!

It started off with two kids - one for each :)

The flirts, Jack & Rudy, each taking one kid to play with!

Then the crowd grew. So many people to flirt with. What to do? Well, Jack will take multiple kids at once and Rudy will entertain the entire group singing his beautiful woos :)

"I'll take as many kids as want to touch me!" says cool Jack.
"I'll WOOOOO to entertain EVERYONE at once!" belts singing Rudy.

Once done flirting at the huts, it was time to head back to the trailhead. We had power and flying Jack & Rudy in the photos above, so let's add a hover husky to complete the day's action:

The hover huskies catching air with pretty Rocky Mountain views in front
of us.

Today's video highlight contains the previous hover husky shot. Come along and watch the kids having a blast flying along the perfect crust. Top speed in this clip? 22 MPH - wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Back to the parking lot and the sillies found one of their tallest snow walls of the season to climb. I had to climb partway up too in order to get to their height!

"Treats taste better atop snow walls!" declares the funny kids.

Another wonderful Vail Pass crust morning with some great flirting along the way: 9.3 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 151 days on the trails covering 1275.7 miles with 126,800 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Early for Crust

We started this morning's skijor before 7am. Why? Well, the early bird gets the firm Spring Crust still available early in the day atop Vail Pass!

Beautiful, firm and endless Spring Crust atop Vail Pass as far as the eye
can see! Wheeee!

After an initial climb from the trailhead parking lot, we were treated to the endless Spring Crust and wove our way every which way atop Vail Pass this morning. While most of the top is wide open with very few trees, there is one half mile cool corridor through dense trees on each side of you. I love flying along this corridor behind Jack & Rudy. It was so much fun, we did it twice as we could turn right at the end of the corridor and come back up the other side of the trees until we got to the top of the corridor again.

Second pass through the fun tree corridor as you see my ski tracks from the
first pass under and next to Rudy.

Today we got a trifecta of entertainment from Rudy and a double feature from Jack. 

First item: with warm May temperatures, the kids are always ready to roll snow angels to cool off during any pause along the way:

Rub a dub dub, rolling to cool their jets :)

Second item (for Rudy), repeat for always rolling Jack: woos and angels at another short pause during the outing:

"Turnaround, roll around!" goes always rolling Jack.
"Turnaround, woos abound!" sings wooing Rudy.

If you look at the sky in the previous photos, you see it was a pretty overcast morning with lots of cloud coverage. But, for the last 10 minutes or so of the outing, the clouds parted and we got some great footage in the sun. This brings a conclusion to Rudy's trifecta and Jack's double feature:

The hover huskies catching air with cool lighting and shadows from the sun.
Rudy's trifecta: rolling, wooing, hovering.
Jack's double feature: rolling, hovering. Fun kids!

Today's video highlight will go along with the prior photo as it is always so much fun to watch Jack & Rudy run in the sun. Come along and watch the fun!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Back to the trailhead and the creative kids were able to find a snow wall to climb for end of run treats! This trailhead parking lot gets plowed all winter so the snow walls last pretty long into the Spring melt:

"Ready!!!" says my focused and happy pals perched up on a wall for
end of run treats.

A wonderful Spring Crust early morning atop Vail Pass: 9.2 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 150 days on the trails covering 1266.4 miles with 125,800 feet of elevation climbed.


Sunday, May 12, 2024

Heavy Workout

Look at what we awoke to find this morning!!!

Yes, that is the Breckenridge Ski Resort snow stake which measures 24 hour
new snow at mid-mountain on the resort. Yes, that is about 11 inches of new
snow on May 12th!!!!

The forecast did call for snow overnight last night, but nobody expected this much! With such a surprise on the Breck snow stake, we headed to the trails on Peak 7. These trails are very close to the snow stake. We start a little lower in elevation than the snow stake and then go higher than the stake on the way up. So, we found about 8 inches of fresh snow at our starting point and over a foot at our highest point. The only drawback? Well it was very heavy & wet snow as is typical for the middle of May. Not a problem, Jack & Rudy can power through heavy & wet snow, it is just quite the fun workout!

Nearing our highest point of the morning as we are breaking trail in over
12 inches of fresh, but heavy & wet, snow at this point!

Along the way, a moose had crossed the trail and headed into the trees. Jack & Rudy thought we should too :)

"Moose went this way! We should too!" says the silly moosers.
The real trail goes up the left side of this photo, I had to convince my pals
to return to the real trail and abandon following the moose into the trees :)

With such heavy & wet snow, we did an "out & back" route today so that we could reuse our out tracks on the way back. An out & back means you have to turn around, right? Well, that does not go unnoticed by Jack & Rudy :)

At first I thought the kids were going to simply turnaround and go.
But, no, we all turned around and then did our turnaround comedy for the day.
"Turnaround, roll around!" goes always rolling Jack.
"Turnaround, woos abound!" adds singing Rudy.

Then, as planned, we picked up the speed using our "out tracks" on the way back. But, with only our single out tracks and the wetness & heaviness of the snow, it was still a real workout on the way back!

Fun kids pulling strong as we reuse our out tracks on the way back.

How much work on the return? Well, come along and see for yourself. Jack & Rudy are running hard in our out tracks but, as you can see, it was still quite the workout. Fun & powerful kids!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

It was heavy & wet, but still quite the treat, especially for mid-May, right guys?

"Oh, we had a BLAST and those end of run treats are going to taste great!" says
the focused & happy kids at the end of the day.

A wonderful mid-May workout: 5.7 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 149 days on the trails covering 1257.2 miles with 124,800 feet of elevation climbed.