Monday, February 26, 2024

Fresh Tracks Monday

Laying fresh tracks in an inch or so of fresh snow atop otherwise fast, groomed nordic trails!

Zipping along laying fresh tracks! Wheeee!

Our plan for this morning was to skijor the upper elevation trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center as they tend to groom those trails on Monday mornings. Well, the groomer did go out early; but, in between the time the groomer ran and when we got on the trails, about an inch or so of fresh snow fell! So today was a fun time laying fresh tracks in a light layer of new snow atop recently groomed trails. What fun!

We had the chance to go "out & back" on several sections of the upper elevation trails. On any uphill stretch, I would move us to the far right of the trail so that we'd have the center with untouched powder for the way back. The plan worked perfectly :)

Catching air laying fresh tracks down the center of the trail with our
"out tracks" far to the left. Oh, pretty shot of the Kathy's Viewpoint Warming
Hut to our left as well.

Different section of trail, same results: far right on the way up for untouched powder on the way back down! Whee!

Catching air again with our up tracks to the far left and the center with
untouched, fresh snow!

Now come along for the video counterpart to the prior photo. Watch as we are having a blast flying along in the morning's new snow! Once you are done, watch again and pay attention to seconds 31, 56 and 59 in the video....

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Did you notice anything at 31, 56 & 59 seconds? My ski tracks are still on the trail but Jack & Rudy's tracks disappear. Where did the kids go? Well, we had 3 rodent diving interruptions on the way up this trail at those three points. Each time the kids jumped off trail to search for rodents under the snow. Silly kids!

This was the dive corresponding to their tracks disappearing off the trail
at the 59 second point of the video. Jack lunged off first to dig for rodents
and then Rudy, of course, followed suit with one of his patented, high arching
rodent dives!

After a little digging into the snow, the kids came up empty but quite proud of their attempts. Just see for yourself:

"That was fun! We love diving for rodents even if we fail to catch one!" says
the happy, happy kids coming back on trail to me after the off trail rodent hunt.

Back to the trailhead and we found a great, tall snow wall to climb for end of run treats! We've been settling for medium sized snow walls a lot lately as that is all that exists; but today was a wonderful nice high wall for treats:

"Climbed, situated and READY for treats!" says the happy kids.

A fun day with the surprising chance to lay fresh tracks almost all outing long! 9.8 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 92 days on the trails covering 777.0 miles with 75,000 feet of elevation climbed.


Sunday, February 25, 2024

Perfect

Look at this beautiful, freshly groomed trail we found to skijor towards Buffalo Park at Rabbit Ears Pass yesterday morning!!!

What PERFECT conditions as Jack & Rudy catch some air zipping
along the freshly groomed sprint track!

Now come along for the video counterpart to the prior photo. We begin with polite Jack & Rudy patiently waiting for me to get my skis on. Then, as soon as I say, "Ok guys" off we GO flying along the perfect trail. Wheeee! The kids were as excited to find this fresh groom as me!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

As we started out pedal to the metal on this perfect groom track, I was thinking, "The kids are FLYING today, we are going to top 11 or 12 miles easily!" But, then the groomed trail ended after only a few miles and turned into a trail of soft snowmobile tracks. I paused momentarily to decide if we should turnaround and repeat the groomed trail a couple of times or if we should continue onward. Well, I paused....

"You paused! We 'Stop, Drop and ROLL'!" goes silly Jack & Rudy who take
every pause as a moment to introduce some comedy to the day.
You can see the groom track ends just ahead of Rudy and transitioned to a
path of snowmobile tracks.

Once I ascertained the snowmobile tracks were pretty fresh and, thus, nice and soft, I decided to continue onward. Good decision by me as we then had a beautiful skijor out & back in soft snowmobile tracks. Wheeee!

The fun kids keeping the speed going zipping along in soft snowmobile tracks.
While the soft tracks slowed us a bit more than the perfect groom, it was only
a slight decrease in speed :)

After a few miles in the snowmobile tracks and it was time to turnaround and return on the same trail. Since Jack & Rudy already rolled snow angels at my pause above, it was time for a different comedy skit at the turnaround point. How about hopping off trail to search for rodents under the snow?

"DUNK! Where are those pesky rodents? I can smell them!" says head dunking Jack.
"You keep looking there, and I'll face plow over here!" adds snow plowing Rudy.
Despite lots of digging and exploring under the snow, neither came up with a
rodent in his mouth, phew :)

Finally, once back to the groomed trail and it was pedal to the metal again! Zoom!

Nice lift from Jack the cannonball next to Rudy the flying missile!

That was fun, right guys?

"Oh yes, we loved it ALL!" says the happy, happy kids awaiting
end of run treats atop a small snow wall.

A super fast day on the groomed surface and then slowed a little (but still a great time) in soft snowmobile tracks: 10.1 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 91 days on the trails covering 767.2 miles with 74,000 feet of elevation climbed.

 

Friday, February 23, 2024

Eight Percent

Who's having a great time on this morning's snowy skijor?

"We are having a BLAST!" exclaims the happy, happy kids.

The forecast this morning was "8% chance of snow" (or 92% chance of NOT snowing). Well, when we arrived at the trailhead it was DUMPING snow. The active snow and accompanying wind made Jack & Rudy very frisky and they were raring to go! Here we are 5 seconds into the start of the outing...

This is NOT fog, it is actively falling heavy snow!
You can see one big flake just above Jack's tail about to hit the camera.
All the white speckles you see against Jack & Rudy's fur are snowflakes
as well. 

Here is another look at the dumping snowfall. Usually you can see a bunch of mountains, including Rabbit Ears Peak, from this location. Today, it was very low visibility due to active snowfall instead!

Zipping along what is usually a panoramic view spot; but not today!
You can see a few more snowflakes about to hit the camera in this
shot as well.

We love it when the forecast is wrong in our favor (and our favorite is SNOWING :). The prior two photos do not do justice to just how much it was snowing. So, come along for a video of the outing. With video, you can see all  the snow falling around and on us as Jack & Rudy are truly enjoying the conditions!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We did an "out and back" on trails near Dumont Lake at Rabbit Ears Pass. This meant we had to turnaround at one point. Yep, it was the usual turnaround goofs!

"Turnaround! Roll Around!" goes the snow rolling goofs.

When the snow did let up a bit, we still had fresh snow and wind blown drifts to plow through:

Kicking up powder as we plow through a wind blown drift of snow.

Jack & Rudy really enjoyed today's "active snow skijor" - just ask them :)

"Oh that was FUN!" says the happy kids awaiting end of run treats.
Notice the snowflake on Rudy's red fur by his ear and notice the snowflake
on my neck. It was snowing all outing long - sometimes intensely and sometimes
a bit lighter but snowing the entire outing.

Our favorite kind of "8% chance of snow" - 9 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 90 days on the trails covering 757.1 miles with  73,200 feet of elevation climbed. 


Thursday, February 22, 2024

New Trail

Laying fresh tracks through a large grove of aspen tress - wheeee!

Pretty shot of the snow covered aspen grove as Jack & Rudy
tow me along.

This morning was our first ever skijor of the Spring Creek Trail in Steamboat Springs. I've known of this trail for years but never skijored it because it is usually very busy and packed. But, there was significant snow overnight and the roads were a mess this morning. I figured the wintery conditions would keep others away while Jack, Rudy and I thoroughly enjoy skijoring in harsh conditions. Well, success, we did not see another soul on our outing until we finished back at the trailhead! Yay!

I knew this trail was popular for cross country skiing. But, what I did not know until this morning is that the trail is closed for elk preservation after a few miles. Bummer...

"We'd like to go find some elk!" states the silly kids wondering if we
are going to climb around this closure gate.

This closure came along way too soon for Jack & Rudy. If we simply turned around and went back, our outing would have only been on the order of 4ish miles! So, instead, we went back & forth redoing a bunch of nice stretches of the trail. It's always fun to reuse the track you set on the way out on the way back!

Tucked tightly into the track we set on the way out during the way back.

Unfortunately for the camera, it was snowing all outing long and the snow was a little on the wet side. As a result, snow & water kept collecting on the camera and leading to blurred footage. I wiped the camera clear frequently; but it got blurry again within a minute or two. So, today's video highlight is snow blurred skijoring behind fun Jack & Rudy. Oh, the gate you see us go by in the beginning of the video is NOT the "elk closure" gate in the photo above. This gate is just to prevent people from trying to drive Spring Creek in the winter. This is a dirt road in the summer open to cars and it's amazing how many people will try to drive summer only roads in the winter and get stuck - thus the gate to keep cars out.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

New trail, same end of run treats fun from atop a nice snow wall:

"That was fun, but wish we'd found some elk!" says the happy kids.

A fun outing but a little disappointing that the "elk closure" gate was so close to the start for our typical skijor outings. Self powered humans, of course, would really enjoy this 4 mile cross country ski trail but Jack & Rudy need a lot more; thus our decision to repeat a lot of the trail along the way: 7.3 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 89 days on the trails covering 748.1 miles with 72,400 feet of elevation climbed.


Monday, February 19, 2024

Bluebird Morning

What a beautiful bluebird morning to take in the views while being first tracks on a freshly groomed nordic trail!

Jack & Rudy catching air with stunning view ahead and to our right.

You might wonder if I ever use the classic ski tracks set on most nordic trails (the two parallel tracks in between Jack & Rudy in the prior photo). The answer is "very rarely" as putting both my skis in the classic tracks makes me a frictionless object with no braking ability. Jack & Rudy are trained to go as fast as they want if they feel no friction from me. So, you can see by the angle of the gangline in the prior photo that I am outside of the classic tracks behind Rudy.

Occasionally, though, I will put one ski in the classic tracks. I only do this on uphill, flat or very gentle downhill grades. With one ski in the track I can shift my weight to that leg and Jack & Rudy floor it. Conversely, I can shift my weight to the ski out of the classic tracks to provide some friction to let my pals know to slow down a bit. Fun teamwork!

Compare the angle of the gangline in this photo to the prior. 
I have my right ski in the classic track for speed and my left ski out of
track for braking & control.

We were flying around the "dogs allowed" trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center and running way ahead of schedule. This is usually the case on these fast nordic trails. As a result, we usually turn around multiple times to redo fun stretches of trail. Everybody ready to do that last fast stretch again?

"Yep! Ready! Let's floor it again!" says the happy pair.

Wait.... What was that last photo? A trail turnaround with an upright Jack & Rudy? Shocking. Never fear, we had multiple turnaround points to redo sections of trail. Most turnarounds were the usual from the silly kids:

"Turnaround! Roll Around!" goes the snow rolling goofs doing their
typical turnaround antics.

Now onto our video highlight from the morning. Come along as we start this clip being first tracks on a recently groomed side trail. Then, about 35 seconds into the clip and we transition right onto the heavily used main trail. As you can see, Jack & Rudy can fly being first tracks or 10th tracks on groomed trails :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

In case the video was too fast behind the speeding kids, here's a cool frame from the video as we are about to transition from the side trail to the main trail:

Flying into the right transition to the main trail perpendicular to
the trail we are currently on. Zoom!

Beautiful bluebird morning with a super bright sun to illuminate our end of run treats party:

"Ready!" says the happy kids from atop a short snow wall.
Wow, that is one BRIGHT sun in the top center!

Another zipping fast day on groomed nordic speedways: 10.3 miles traveled with 1100 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 87 days on the trails covering 733.5 miles with 70,700 feet of elevation climbed.


Sunday, February 18, 2024

Stick Share

Fun "shot from the front" of the happy kids towing me to the finish of this morning's 10 mile skijor!

Whee! Smiles all around!

As you see in the photo above we finished today's outing on nicely groomed nordic trails (at Gold Run Nordic Center). But, as is usually the case in this location, we started out touring the backcountry before transitioning onto the nordic center. 

Today's backcountry trails were quite narrow due to lots of fresh snow the last few days; but the set trail was still wide enough for Jack & Rudy to fit shoulder to shoulder, yay!

Just wide enough to fit two sled dogs side by side in the backcountry.

Once onto the nordic center, we went to ski the upper Preston Loop Trail. This trail is far from the trailhead and rated a "black diamond" nordic trail, so it does not get a lot of traffic. We found the trail recently groomed with one skier with a dog doing the loop just before us. Not a problem, being second tracks on a fresh groom is almost as good as first tracks :)

Zipping along the recently groomed speed track.

We had so much fun on doing the loop that we decided to do it again. Jack & Rudy will typically repeat a trail twice without balking as they will switch sides to enjoy if from a different perspective:

Second pass on the Preston Loop.
This photo is at roughly the same place as the prior photo.
Second pass, switch sides, same results - zoom!

Now come along for a video highlight from pass two of the Preston Loop. Perfect conditions to zoom, zoom, zoom! Top speed today? 24 MPH.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

As we were about to start our second pass on the upper loop, Jack noticed a large and very tantalizing stick just off the trail. He hopped in the snow to inspect it and Rudy agreed that this stick was very tantalizing. The silly goofs proceeded to jointly drag this stick out of the snow and onto the trail (I later removed it so it would not be in the way of others :)

"Nice stick! We should put this in the middle of the trail for others
to enjoy!
" says the silly stick sharing kids.

After two passes on the upper loop, it was time to take the main nordic trail back to the trailhead. Remember it is a busy 3 day weekend, so the main trail was quite busy with skiers, snowshoers and fat bike riders. Jack & Rudy LOVE to zoom by crowds and put smiles on their faces. I always smile and give a wave to the crowds too :)

"Hi! Bye! Coming through - made you smile!" says the fun kids putting
on a skijoring show for the crowds.

Yet another wonderful skijor outing, so yet another chance to celebrate with end of run treats:

"You have our full attention!" says the focused kids.

A little backcountry touring followed by a lot of nordic zooming: 10.2 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 86 days on the trails covering 723.2 miles with 69,600 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Powder Day

It was a wonderful POW, POW, Powder Day in fresh snow on untouched trails in the backcountry this morning!

Jack & Rudy blasting through upwards of 7 inches of fresh snow
as they tow me along.

While the ski resort reported only 5 inches of fresh snow, we found MUCH, MUCH more in the backcountry on the mountains across the valley from the resort. Clearly our side of the valley won in last night's snowfall! We started in upwards of 7 inches of powder as you saw above. But, then we climbed up and out into the backcountry. The further (and higher) we went, the deeper it got! Near our high point we found ourselves in a stretch of upwards of 15 inches of untouched, fresh powder. WooHoo!

Jack & Rudy now blasting through upwards of 15 inches of powder! POW!

Now let's put the last two photos together as a video highlight. I love watching Jack & Rudy in slow motion in deep powder as you can really get a feel for their powder plowing power at this speed. Come along for two back to back slow motion powder highlights from the outing. In the first half Jack & Rudy are blasting through upwards of 7 inches of powder while the second half features them blasting through upwards of 15 inches of powder. Impressive kids!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Along the way we got rodent diving entertainment from the two comedians. It doesn't matter how deep the snow is, they can sense those pesky rodents under the snow. We were cruising along at a gentle pace when all rodent broke out to Rudy's left...

"RODENTS to the left! Incoming!" goes beautiful rodent diving Rudy.
"What? Really? Here I come!" adds Jack noticing Rudy's antics.
The real trail goes up from Jack in this photo so this was quite a far
dive off trail for rodent detecting Rudy!

Rodent dives are, of course, contagious - just ask Jack!

Jack's dives are not as high arching as Rudy's but they are still
very effective :)

Despite some very pretty dives and lots of digging in the snow, nobody came up with a rodent in their mouth. Phew :)

Our outing today was an "out & back" as we wanted to reuse the trail we worked so hard to set on the way out to go a little faster on the way back. But, with such wonderful deep snow, it was still a very aerobic ride back in our outgoing tracks!

Really cool shot of the ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort across the
valley from us. As you can see from all the powder coming up around
Jack & Rudy, running in our out track was still very aerobic this morning!

Great powder day, right guys!

"We loved it and we'll accept end of run treats since we failed to bag
any rodents!
" states the proud & happy kids.

A fun day slowed by deep snow but with smiles on all of our faces all outing long: 7.2 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 85 days on the trails covering 713.0 miles with 68,600 feet of elevation climbed.

 

Thursday, February 15, 2024

This and That

We did a little of this today...

Laying fresh tracks in a nice layer of new snow over pre-existing
snowmobile tracks. Pretty terrain and views too!

So that we could earn some of that...

Flying on a freshly groomed nordic trail. Zoom!

This initial leg of the outing was an out & back in the backcountry on Prospect Hill. On the return leg, we get some really nice views of Breckenridge Ski Resort across the valley from us:

Zipping along in the cover of clouds while the ski runs of Breckenridge Ski
Resort are lit up in the sun across the valley from us.

Now come along for the video counterpart of the prior photo. Pay attention as we round the initial left in the video and you'll see the ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort on the mountains across the valley from us. After the initial left, it is time to floor it along an open straightaway. Then, we all slow in unison to get my skis around a tight hairpin right and then it is "off we go" again. Whee! Great teamwork by my pals taking me gently through tight turns!!!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Done with the backcountry shots and back to our finish leg of the outing. Jack & Rudy love catching air on fast nordic trails. Zoom!

The hover huskies catching air on the trail at Gold Run Nordic Center.

Now for the day's comedy from the kids. If you've followed along you know that Jack ALWAYS rolls snow angels at any pause or turnaround on the trail. Rudy is the wildcard, it's either rolling snow angels or belting out woos from him at pause or turnaround points. Which was it today?

BOTH! Rudy wooing as he just finished rolling a snow angel (notice the
indentation in the snow behind him - that is his snow angel).

So there you have it, it is now one of THREE things to get from Rudy the wildcard at any pause on the trail: snow angels, wooing or the multi-talented BOTH! Funny kid.

Finally, back to the trailhead to celebrate another glorious outing with end of run treats:

"I'm glad you enjoyed my angel/woo combo, I'll keep working on it!" says
silly Rudy.
"I'm going to stay with strictly snow angels, you know I am GREAT at them!"
adds Jack who has rolled at least one snow angel (and usually many more)
on EVERY skijor outing of his life.

Another very entertaining backcountry to nordic skijor outing: 9.8 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH (on the groomie zoomie nordic trails, of course).

2023/2024 Season to Date: 84 days on the trails covering 705.8 miles with 67,800 feet of elevation climbed.


Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Frisky

Uh-oh, unauthorized antics breaking out on the trail this morning....

"I triple dog dare you to play with me!" asserts the typical unauthorized
instigator Rudy.
"You KNOW I won't back down!" responds cool Jack.

Okay, authorized antics breaking out later...

Perfectly allowed "stop, drop & roll" at a turnaround point on the trail :)

As you see in the first photo, the kids were quite frisky out on the trails this morning. A couple of reasons: first, we took yesterday off so Jack & Rudy were itching to get going fast and second, there was active snow falling on us all outing long - active snow makes for frisky sled dogs :)

We started this morning's outing touring old mining ruins following snowmobile tracks in the forest:

Cruising through an old ghost town of mining buildings in Dry Gulch.

Then, as we usually do after skijoring around Dry Gulch, we dropped onto the wide trails of Gold Run Nordic Center. Once again, our timing was impeccable as we were first on the freshly groomed trails. After an unauthorized game of tag & wrestle to celebrate being first tracks, Jack & Rudy got down to business and were FLYING around the trails.

The kids flying fast with cool snow poofs coming off their feet from
the nice, soft groomed trail.

How fast were they flying around? Well, the GPS registered us topping 25 MPH! Zoom! Come along for a glimpse into 25 MPH skijoring as we are zipping along this perfect trail. Also, notice the active snowfall coming down around us during the clip. A fresh groom and active snow really turns Jack & Rudy ON!!!!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

After doing two laps on the uppermost nordic loop, we transitioned onto the main trail to take us to the trailhead. I did not realize until I got home that snow was collecting on the camera during this leg. So, we have one initial shot with a little "snow spot" and it only got blurrier from here on out...

The blur in the dead center of this photo is a snow induced water spot.
The spots continued to collect and grow from here on out.
Oh well, we'll trade clear footage for fresh snow any day!!!

Back to the trailhead and everyone is very proud and satisfied with today's zipping outing:

"What 'unauthorized play'? We were perfect all day!" suggests the happy
kids with selective memory of the outing :)

Zooming! 9.6 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 25 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 83 days on the trails covering 696.0 miles with 66,800 feet of elevation climbed.