Wednesday, January 31, 2024


Jack & Rudy responding in their "usual ways" when I asked if everyone was having a good time this morning :)

Jack's usual response: a happy & approving smile.
Rudy's usual response: a loud & approving WOOOOO!

Today's outing was, once again, a mix of backcountry and then groomed nordic trails. The start of the outing took us through the historic mining town of Preston which was once one of the biggest towns in the Breckenridge area. There is not much left of the town except a handful of old mining cabins in various states of decay. Nosy Rudy has been through this area probably a 100 times or more; but he still has to glance at each ruin as we go by just in case "something new" has developed :)

"Must check this cabin for new activity!" says nosy Rudy glancing
at the decaying cabin to our left.
"Seen that over 100 times, no need to look again!" states all business Jack
keeping his eyes ahead.

Once we were done skijoring around the old ghost town, we dropped onto the trails of Gold Run Nordic Center. Here's a fun shot of Jack & Rudy catching air in this sliver of sun on this otherwise well shaded stretch of trail:

The hover huskies showing off in the sun :)

If it is fun catching air in a sliver of sun, then it is a blast to catch air in the full sun...

The fast & impressive kids catching air in the bright sun once again!

Now for today's fun video clip. Come along for the final minute of our outing and get a look at just how strong the kids finish every skijor outing. You might think their speed & power happens at the beginning of every outing, but, no, it lasts through the entire outing. Impressive kids. If you can take your eyes of fun Jack & Rudy, notice the sun is behind us so you get to see my shadow through this entire clip - yep, I'm just standing on the skis, taking it all in :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Who was that on the right side of the trail near the end of the previous video clip? Well, that was Nancy out trying to get a "shot from the front" of the happy sled dogs. Here is a frame of video she got - not the best with the shade but you can still see the smiles all over Jack & Rudy's faces!

Whee - smiles all around as we conclude another fun outing.

Finally,  it was back up on a snow wall to receive end of run treats:

"Fun day! You have our full attention!" states happy Jack & Rudy.

Only time for another "shorter than usual" outing as has been the theme this week; but all outings are super fun: 6.4 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 73 days on the trails covering 614.0 miles with 59,600 feet of elevation climbed.


Monday, January 29, 2024

Wildlife Alert

Everybody having a great time on this morning's skijor outing?

"YES! We are having a BLAST!" exclaims the happy, happy kids
at our turnaround point at the Jumbo Overlook.
Oh, don't worry, we had two turnaround events today and the first was
executed with the usual "stop, drop & roll" from the snow angel brothers :)

Today's outing was very similar to yesterday's with a few modifications along the way. We once again started on the backcountry trails in Dry Gulch:

Zipping along in the backcountry as Jack & I are focused forward while
nosy Rudy glances for anybody to flirt with on the trail going left :)

Once again, after doing a backcountry lap, we dropped onto the wide trails of Gold Run Nordic Center. The secondary trail (Preston Loop) had not been groomed since yesterday morning. So, it was a little tracked up and had a few "deep fat tire bike indentations" in the trail to avoid; but still groomed enough to open up the skijoring throttle!

Jack & Rudy flying along the somewhat tracked up nordic trail. 

As we were on the trail in the prior photo, I heard the groomer running nearby. So, I knew once we transitioned onto the main trail it would be a fresh groomie zoomie. Indeed it was as we were first tracks on the freshly groomed main trail! Wheeee!

Hovering Jack next to Rudy the Missile as we floor it on the freshly
groomed nordic trail!

One significant difference from yesterday's outing was Jack & Rudy catching the "scent of moose" and running on high wildlife alert!

Rudy glancing left into the trees while Jack is in "high alert" body
language as we cruise along.

Now come along for the video counterpart to the prior photo. For background, we are in well known "moose territory" during this clip and we have seen moose and evidence of moose many times. I know Jack & Rudy's body language and both are on clear wildlife alert during this clip. You'll see Rudy making frequent glances into the trees to our left and Jack is running "on alert" (I know his wildlife alert body language). Once I saw their body language, I was on high alert too, constantly scanning the trees for moose. Despite the intensity from Jack & Rudy we never actually saw a moose, phew. This clip may be only 45 seconds long but it feels like an eternity in real life when you see them this "on alert" and are scanning the trees yourself!!!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Another successful skijor outing means another enjoyable "end of run" treats session with my pals:

"Fun! But too bad we didn't find the stinky moose!" says the happy kids
up on a snow wall for end of run treats.

Another quick, but very entertaining, outing this morning: 6.2 miles traveled with 500 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date; 72 days on the trails covering 607.6 miles with 59,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Back at it

After a few days off skijoring for various commitments, Jack, Rudy and I were back at it this morning! Whee!

Starting out on backcountry trails in Dry Gulch.

This morning was one of those super fun "combo days" where we start the outing on narrow backcountry trails and then end the outing on wide & groomed nordic trails.

After touring around the backcountry for a bit, we dropped onto the groomed trails of Gold Run Nordic Center. We were thrilled to find ourselves being first, second or third tracks on the fresh groom this entire leg of the outing!

Second tracks zooming in the shade.
It's hard to see, but there is one set of pre-existing tracks to our left; but
we were certainly first tracks along our side of the trail.

After a few days off, Jack & Rudy were catching air running hard all morning long. I love when we get into the sun at just the right angle to showcase the impressive hover huskies:

Jack & Rudy hovering over the trail as we speed along!
As you can see in this photo, we were third tracks on the nordic groom
for this stretch of the outing.

Today's skijor video? One of our favorite fast stretches along the Peabody Placer Trail at Gold Run Nordic Center. Come along as we start out flying along a fast straightaway in the sun. Then, it's leaning into a pretty tight left before opening back up into a fast straightaway in the shade. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Of course, all that zooming around means you really need to roll snow angels to cool your jets whenever the human pauses.

We just transitioned onto this trail from the right (note my ski tracks just
to the right of Rudy). I paused to see if we had time to go left (behind
us in this photo) or if we needed to turn right (straight ahead in this photo).
Well, I paused so the funny kids did their usual "stop, drop & roll" :)

This week is going to be dominated by "shorter than usual" skijors for us for various constraints; but any skijor is better than NO skijor, right guys?

"Oh yes!!!!! Full throttle toes on snow of any distance is better than none
at all!
" says the happy kids awaiting end of run treats atop a snow wall.

A short, but fast & fun backcountry to nordic outing today: 5.6 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 21 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 71 days on the trails covering 601.4 miles with 58,600 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Fresh Tracks Surprise

A surprise treat this morning laying fresh tracks once we got far away from the trailhead!

Laying fresh tracks as we fly by the Kathy's Viewpoint Warming Hut.
The tracks to our left are our own "out tracks" on this same trail.

Today's outing took us to the upper elevation trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center. We have had a little bit of new snow the last few days (1-4 inches per day), making for some nice soft trail conditions. Many others use these same trails, of course, and we found lots of pre-existing tracks on the trail near the start; but still nice & soft conditions:

Zipping along in soft snow with lots of pre-existing tracks.

But, then, we got a real treat. This part of the nordic center has two loops you can ski and both loops share the bottom arc of each oval. The shorter, inner loop has a cutoff at one point to connect this loop back to the lower arc while the longer, full loop continues for another few miles before meeting back with the cutoff. When we got to the cutoff, we were shocked to find NO pre-existing ski tracks. All mere mortals had skied the shorter, inner loop leaving the full loop untouched for me to ski with powerful Jack & Rudy's help. What a treat! We ended up redoing 3 sections of the full loop, laying fresh tracks each way (once to the side going up and once in the middle going down). Here we are near the highest point of the day. Whee!

Once again, laying fresh tracks down the middle with our "up tracks" to
our left.

What did my pals think of redoing all these great stretches of untouched snow?

"We are having a BLAST!" declares the happy kids looking back
as we are about to turnaround and redo a section of trail.

Now let's put it all together in a video to show all parts of the outing as we complete the full loop to re-connect with the inner loop. The clip starts out with us laying fresh tracks down the center of the trail - whee! Then, about 20 seconds in and we come across one other set of ski tracks, so we are now second tracks on the trail in the wonderful soft snow. Then, as the video ends, we hang a right to re-connect with the inner loop and you see lots & lots of pre-existing tracks. So fun to have sled dog power to enjoy the full loop that most mere mortals did not have the power to do :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Any wildlife distractions today? Yep, MOOSE tracks....

"You must stop to inspect fresh moose tracks whenever you encounter them!"
says track inspecting Jack & Rudy.

What a fun outing with a surprise "fresh tracks extravaganza" once we got farther than most humans ski!

"That was so much fun!" declares the happy, happy kids atop
a snow wall awaiting end of run treats.

Today's tally: 10.4 miles traveled with 1100 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 70 days on the trails covering 595.8 miles with 58,200 feet of elevation climbed.


Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Baldy Shade

Zipping along in a 1/2 inch or so of new snow on the Sallie Barber Mine Trail this morning.

Off we go to start the outing - wheeee!

Despite being out well after sunrise this morning, we spent almost the entire outing in the shade of Baldy Mountain (which houses the Sallie Barber Mine) with the rising sun still behind the mountain. As a result, we have a lot of "low light" photos from today's fun outing.

As is typical with Jack & Rudy on our Sallie Barber outings, we start with a steep climb to the historic mine and then pause to roll snow angels to cool off before restarting again. Silly kids.

"Rub a dub dub, cooling our jets!' goes the snow rolling sillies with
Sallie Barber Mine in the background.

We made 3 passes by the mine this morning to put together a 9 mile skijor. On the final pass, the sun was almost above the shade of Baldy Mountain, but not quite yet...

The sun has risen over Baldy to light up the mine but not high enough
to light up the trail yet.

Come along for the video counterpart to the prior photo. The clip starts as we have just crested on the trail at the mine. Watch as we zip on by the mine with ok lighting but then immediately are back in low light from the shade of Baldy Mountain as we floor it down the other side of the mine. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Then, onto one of our favorite open straightaways to floor it on this network of trails and Jack & Rudy decided to "pack it in tight" and become a single, conjoined skijoring machine :)

The fused together while running fast fun kids.

Finally, back to the trailhead and apparently I was being too slow getting the end of run treats bag open:

"You need some help there?" says Jack offering to open the bag :)
"Yeah, what's the hold up?" asks curious Rudy.

A fun morning making three passes by the Sallie Barber Mine to put together a 9.2 mile outing with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 69 days on the trails covering 585.4 miles with 57,100 feet of elevation climbed.


Monday, January 22, 2024

Like Z

What's better, moose views or mountain views? Depends on who you ask :)

Jack & Rudy being lured off trail to peak over this snow ledge in the
search for moose. Meanwhile, I paused with them to take in the pretty
mountain views.

This morning took us on a skijor on Boreas Pass. My original plan was to go 4-5 miles up Boreas and then turn around and come back down. But, we have had a lot of recent snow and, as you go up Boreas, the set trail gets thinner and thinner (due to fewer people making it so far without sled dog assistance). As we were nearing Baker's Tank (which is only 3 miles up Boreas), the set trail was becoming so narrow that Jack & Rudy could barely fit side by side:

Rubbing shoulders to fit in the narrow set trail.
The snow outside the set track was somewhat punchy, so neither kid
could run there.

By the time we reached Baker's Tank, the set trail was too narrow for Jack & Rudy to fit side by side. So, we had a choice: continue past Baker's Tank in single file skijoring or turnaround. Well, I chose turnaround with an alternate plan. Wait, did I say turnaround? Yep...

"Turnaround - roll around!" goes snow rolling Jack.
"Turnaround - woos abound!" belts wooing Rudy.
Also, a nice shot of historic Baker's Tank from when Boreas Pass was the
railroad into Breckenridge in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Now look at how nice and wide the trail was down lower as opposed to the narrow single track in the prior two photos. Oh, and nice view of the ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort across the valley from us too:

Ah, nice and wide here with pretty views.

I mentioned an "alternate plan" above, what was that plan? Well, we came back down from Baker's Tank until we got to the much wider set trail as you see in the prior photo. We then went back & forth and redid some nice stretches of trail 5 times. Of course, each redo required turning around. While most turnarounds got snow angels and/or woos from the silly kids, one did get this nice happy face shot instead:

"This has been unusual! We keep redoing stretches of trail! But,
we are still having a great time!
" says the happy kids.

Now come along for one of the nice stretches that we redid twice. We start out cruising along as we approach and pass on by a snowshoer who paused, smiled and waved (I waved back). Then, if you can take your eyes off fun Jack & Rudy, look left through the bare aspen trees and you can see the ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort on the mountains across the valley from us. On first redo of this stretch of trail, we passed by and entertained two oncoming skiers. By staying well below Baker's Tank, we were near the trailhead and, thus, encountered quite a few other skiers and snowshoers on all our redos.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Finally, back to the trailhead and this moment almost brought tears to my eyes. Our wonderful, but departed Zorro, was the smallest of all 6 Siberian Huskies we have had in our pack (you'd never know it from his skijoring passion and power; but he was on the smallest end of the breed standard). Being small, Zorro developed this habit of climbing on my leg with his front two legs to prop himself up higher for end of run treats. I always loved feeling Zorro climb up on my leg. Well, today Rudy did a Zorro-like climb on my leg for end of run treats. Of course, big Rudy does not need any propping; but the action and feeling a Zorro move on my leg was astonishing and heart-warming!

"I remember our mentor, old man Z, always did this, I'll try too!" says Rudy
who you can see has his two front paws on my leg to prop himself higher for treats.
"Silly Rudy, he's already HUGE!" adds cute Jack.

A fun outing of "lower elevation redos" on Boreas with a Z like conclusion from Rudy: 9.7 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 68 days on the trails covering 576.2 miles with 56,100 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

26 MPH

We achieved our top speed of the season skijoring this morning - the GPS registered us going exactly 26 MPH! Zoom!

Jack & Rudy flying along the stretch of trail where they went
26 MPH.

Jack & Rudy regularly hit 24 MPH as their top speed on our outings when the conditions are great. But, then, a few times a season they'll hit 25 MPH and 1-2 times a season we will exceed an impressive 26 MPH as our top speed. If you think skijoring sounds like a wild ride, try it at 26 MPH :)

We actually started this morning's skijor in the backcountry and passed through the Dry Gulch Ghost Town along the way:

Skijoring the backcountry through an old mining ghost town.

After some fun backcountry touring, we dropped onto the groomed trails of Gold Run Nordic Center. We did two laps around the upper Preston Loop and found ourselves first tracks on the fresh groom for lap one and second tracks (to ourselves) on lap two. Along the way around the loop, though, the kids got distracted by a very fresh smelling trough of moose tracks leading off trail:

"Sniff, sniff - these are fresh!" says the moose inspectors sniffing the
moose tracks in the deep trough made by the moose's legs.

Aside from one moose trough distraction (they only hopped in the trough on the first lap and then went on by the second lap), we were flying around the freshly groomed Preston Loop. It is usually January or February when we top 26 MPH as the snow & trail conditions are usually fantastic during those two months. Well, come along for a minute of fast skijoring as the GPS registered us going 26 MPH during this stretch of trail. Zoom!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

After our two laps around the Preston Loop, it was time to get on the main trail to finish the outing. We often encounter other skiers on this trail as it is the main path out from the trailhead parking lot:

"Coming through, made you smile!" goes Jack & Rudy who love flying
by oncoming skiers and making them smile.

Almost 11 miles later and we arrived at the trailhead with smiles all around:

"Whee, what a fun day!" says the happy kids.

Speed and distance - what a way to earn your end of run treats!

"These are going to taste good today!" declares the happy kids.

A great day on perfect conditions: 10.7 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 26 MPH!!!

2023/2024 Season to Date: 67 days on the trails covering 566.5 miles with 55,200 feet of elevation climbed.


Saturday, January 20, 2024

Special Ride

This morning's skijor started before sunrise by the dim light of dawn.

Barely enough dawn light to get out on the trails; but we did it!

Why such an early start? I had an all day seminar to attend in Frisco (the town just north of Breckenridge). Originally I thought we would not skijor this morning due to my early commitment. But, I was out running the snowblower 2 days ago just before 7am and I noticed, "Hey, sunrise is 7:20ish but there is enough light just before 7:00 to skijor by the light of dawn." Well, it just so happens that there is the Blue River Recreation Path going from Breckenridge to Frisco which is a cross country ski trail in winter. So, Jack, Rudy and I got out before sunrise to skijor me to Frisco for my seminar (Nancy, then drove to Frisco to bring Jack & Rudy home). What a genius plan!

Imagine my delight during every break in the seminar to say to other attendees, "Guess how I got here today?" Puzzled, all would say, "Uh, how?" to which I'd respond "By skijoring; Jack & Rudy towed me from Breckenridge to here for this meeting!" That answer would get wide-eyed and stunned responses from everyone I said it to. What a fun and special ride to my seminar!!!!

Anyway, back to skijoring. The rec path from Breckenridge to Frisco mirrors both Highway 9 and the Blue River (thus its name). At various points we swing close enough to Highway 9 for cars driving to Breckenridge to see us. We always get approving honks and cheers from any open windows as the oncomers see me zipping along under Jack & Rudy power!

Right around sunrise at this point as we swing close enough to Highway 9
to our right to entertain the highway travelers.

Along the way, the recreation path has 4 different road crossings where I must remove my skis, walk across the road and then put the skis back on. Well, I'm pretty fast at popping my skis off so that goes quick with Jack & Rudy barely pausing. But, on the other side of the road, I am much slower and putting my skis down and stepping into the bindings. I'm actually quite fast at this by "skier standards" but am also quite slow by "Siberian Husky standards" - just ask Jack & Rudy.

"If you are going to be that 'slow', we are going to roll snow angels
to entertain ourselves!
" went the snow rolling goofballs at all
4 road crossings today :)

Then, as we arrive in Frisco, we always get the entertaining "fly by the stables" skijoring from Jack & Rudy. The horses are distracting to them but not as distracting as moose or elk which bring them to a standstill :)

"Look at all the horses! But not a moose, keep going!" demonstrates
the distracted but not stopping fun kids.

Today's video highlight? How about going back to the beginning. Come along as we start this morning's skijor by the dim light of dawn and take off along the rec path to deliver me to my seminar in Frisco! Such fun!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Finally, in Frisco to hand Jack & Rudy off to Nancy but we must share end of run treats first!

"Thanks for letting us be your delivery vehicle this morning!" says the
happy kids awaiting end of run treats.

What a fun ride to work today: 8.2 miles traveled with 400 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 66 days on the trails covering 555.8 miles with 54,200 feet of elevation climbed.


Thursday, January 18, 2024

Surprise Accumulation

Who is having a great time skijoring this morning?

"We are!!!!!!! So much fun in the fresh snow!" exclaims the happy kids looking
back to me when I asked who was having a good time :)

The forecast was for a few inches of new snow last night and into the morning. Well, we got a lot more than that! We had 6 inches in our driveway and Breckenridge Ski Resort reported 12 inches of fresh snow on the mountain. With more snow than expected, we headed out to French Gulch to use the new snow on this trail. As we transitioned from town onto the dirt road leading to the trailhead we saw that only a single car had driven out before us and the road was perfectly skiable! So, we hopped out and skijored the road to the French Gulch trailhead and then skijored out & back in French Gulch. Fun to be able to start far down the road:

Zipping along French Gulch Road amidst active snowfall as we
near the trailhead to continue onto the French Gulch Trail.

The conditions in French Gulch were a little interesting for long stretches. This trail is shared with 4WD vehicles that can access the handful of private cabins in the gulch. The road had not been recently plowed by any of the vehicles (YAY!!!!) but it had been driven. So, we had two set single tracks (the tire tracks that other skiers had been using as well) that were the width of a vehicle apart. When the single tracks were too skinny to fit two sled dogs, Jack & Rudy would automatically separate and take their own track:

The smart & flexible kids showing they can each use their one narrow
single track while I get to glide in the powder down the middle.

Despite being very flexible with conditions, Jack & Rudy do prefer to run closer together. So, of course, whenever they could come together and fit in the trail, they did:

Rudy in the left track while Jack runs in the ski tracks I set for him on
the way out this trail. I always try to widen a single track in one
direction in hopes we can then fit together on the return direction.

Now onto our video highlight of the day which shows just how tightly Jack & Rudy can fit together when needed. We start out in a gentle jog, packed together into a single track, along a flat stretch of trail. Then the terrain takes a downward dip and Jack & Rudy accelerate nicely while still fitting tightly in the narrow single track. Impressive kids :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Of course, French Gulch comes along with the bonus entertainment of MOOSE!!!! We did not see any moose today, but Jack & Rudy clearly caught the "scent of moose" three times and had to dip off trail and climb snow walls to look for moose. Despite what their noses were saying, we failed to spot a moose (but we know they were nearby :)

"Our noses say MOOSE are in the forest this way!" declares the moose
inspecting kids.

Finally, we got our handler & driver (Nancy) back with us today. It's so enjoyable to have a handler's help so we can have our end of run treats out in the snow versus in the Jeep!

"Yay, back to treats from snowbanks!" says the happy kids.

A surprise amount of new snow this morning allowing us a fun skijor in French Gulch: 9.2 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 65 days on the trails covering 547.6 miles with 53,800 feet of elevation climbed.