Saturday, March 30, 2024


Look who was having the BEST time out on the trails this morning!

"Oh, we are having a BLAST!!!" exclaims the super happy kids looking
back at me at one turnaround point of the outing.

The hover huskies, Jack & Rudy, were flooring today on the upper elevation trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center. The two were zipping around and catching some serious air all morning long!

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

No need to stop at a silly warming hut - let's fly on by!

It was getting some serious lift from the hover huskies at our highest elevation point of the outing:

Cool snow poofs coming off the hover huskies' feet with awesome high
elevation views.

It was floating over the trail on wide open straightaways through the otherwise dense forest:

Down amongst the thick trees and same thing from Jack & Rudy
all outing long: catching air!

Once again, the kids were getting some nice lift off the ground everywhere we went!

Hover Huskies!

As you can see from the previous photos, the trail had been groomed moments before we got out this morning. We were either first or second tracks on the trail almost all outing long. It was not until the last mile or so returning to the trailhead that we saw more tracks on the trail. Today's video highlight is laying first tracks at our highest elevation point of the outing. Come along and watch the fast & fun kids and take in the awesome views whenever the trees thin. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Of course, all that flying around meant the comedians needed to roll some serious snow angels to cool their jets whenever we did pause for a moment :)

Hopping off trail at a turnaround point to cool themselves in some
fresh powder. Aahhh!

Once again, who had a good time today?

"We did! We did!" states the happy kids up on a snow wall to receive
end of run treats.

A fast & fun nordic skijor day: 10.3 miles traveled with 1200 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 119 days on the trails covering 1024.8 miles with 100,500 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Wicked Fast

Smiles all around as Jack & Rudy tow me to the finish of this morning's fast skijor outing.

"Whee - we had a BLAST today!" says the happy kids arriving at the trailhead.

The day started in a modest jog along somewhat tracked up backcountry trails:

My perfect partners keeping the speeds down to preserve the human
on backcountry trails.

Then we dropped onto the trails at Gold Run Nordic Center and all ZOOM broke out! We were thrilled to find we were first tracks on the upper nordic loop trail. Jack & Rudy were simply pedal to the metal all around this loop!

Perfect fresh groom to ZOOOOOOM!!!!!

As we were flying around this upper loop, all I kept thinking was, "Wow, we are going wicked fast today!" as I was working the skis to stay upright with flooring it Jack & Rudy. The GPS registered our top speed at 24 MPH today; but I was totally expecting one of our 26 or 27 MPH speed bursts. Oh well, it certainly felt wicked fast - come along and watch today's video highlight to see for yourself:

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

We ended up doing two passes around this upper nordic loop. First pass we were first tracks on the fresh groom and second pass we were second tracks (to ourselves) on the fresh groom. At the top of the loop on our second pass, I paused to check our time out on the trails. Well, I paused...

"Stop, drop and ROLL!" goes snow rolling Jack cooling his wicked fast jets
in the side powder.
"WOOOO, let's GOOOO!" belts wooing Rudy.

After two passes on the upper loop, it was time to continue onto the main nordic trail taking us back to the trailhead. We typically encountered lots of other oncoming skiers along this trail. Jack & Rudy like to fly on by the skiers and put smiles on their faces and generate expression of "Wow!'

"Coming through - made you smile!" says Jack & Rudy flooring it
on by the oncoming skiers.

Back to the trailhead and look at this wonderful snow shelf the kids found on a snow wall to receive their end of run treats:

Nice shelf to get my pals chest level with me for easy handing out
of the end of run treats.

I still cannot get "wicked fast" out of my mind, the kids were flooring it today: 9.8 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 118 days on the trails covering 1014.5 miles with 99,300 feet of elevation climbed.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

1000 Miles

 Look what we accomplished this morning!

"Ready for 1000 more!" exclaims the happy, happy fun kids.

Yes, that's right, the 6 year olds, Jack & Rudy, have now surpassed 1000 miles of skijoring for 5 straight seasons. The tally is 2019/2020: 1204.1 miles; 2020/2021: 1253.2 miles; 2021/2022: 1315.4 miles; 2022/2023: 1444.0 miles; 2023/2024: 1004.7 and counting with the rest of March then April, May (and maybe some June?) to continue adding to this season's tally. Impressive kids!

We decided to use the French Gulch Trail for this morning's feat. This trail is always the first to melt in Spring, so if you can use it in March (or April) then you do! Well, we've had a snowy week without too much warming, so it was off to French Gulch this morning to surpass 1000 miles for the season. This trail also gets driven by the handful of homeowners sprinkled throughout the gulch who have keys to open the winter gate preventing all other traffic from driving here. As a result, the trail evolves into two set tracks on each side of the trail corresponding to tire tracks from the occasional vehicle. It makes for a unique skijor as Jack & Rudy like to take one track each while I glide down the untouched middle powder. Fun!

Jack & Rudy a "vehicle width apart" as I glide in the middle powder.

French Gulch is known for one very interesting feature: it is home to a very active moose population. We do not always see moose on outings here but Jack & Rudy catch the scent of moose in their noses EVERY outing in French Gulch. Usually, they'll catch the scent of moose multiple times along the way.

One of the scent of moose events today was extra entertaining from Jack & Rudy. As we were trotting along, Jack clearly caught the scent of moose to our right and decided to scale the super high snow wall to look for moose:

"Sniff, sniff, moose nearby, I'm going to jump, climb and investigate!" says
moose seeking Jack.
"Hey bro, that's a high wall!" adds curious Rudy.

Rudy is certainly not going to be outdone. If Jack smelled a moose, then you know Rudy did too. So here is Rudy following suit while Jack is up high enough to peek over the high snow wall:

"Made it! Where's the moose?" asks Jack.
"Here I come!!!" adds wall scaling Rudy.

Now this all happened very fast. The elapsed time from the Jack initial climb photo to the following photo was about 3 seconds. I was quickly trying to get the situation under control and was hoping a moose would not appear suddenly from the other side of this snow wall!

"Made it! Where's the moose? We smell it!" asks the successful wall
scaling moose seekers.

I tried to peer over the wall myself but it was too high. I also wanted to coax Jack & Rudy down before a moose did appear! I did get them down and we went forward a little bit to the two trees just ahead of Jack & Rudy. The wall was a little lower between these trees. We all stopped again and gazed into the trees but failed to spot an actual moose. But, with this intense a reaction from Jack & Rudy means there definitely was a stinky moose nearby, we just couldn't see it in the dense trees.

Well, that was an exhilarating moment. Now, back to skijoring. We went all the way out French Gulch and even redid two nice sections of trail twice. But, we were still way ahead of schedule to arrive back at the trailhead. Not a problem, the Sallie Barber Mine Trail shares the same trailhead parking lot with French Gulch. So we added a little extra distance to our outing going partway up to the mine and them coming back down. The difference between the French Gulch Trail and Sallie Barber Mine Trail could not be more extreme. From vehicle sized set tracks on French Gulch to very narrow single tracks on Sallie Barber:

The kids now zipping along in narrow backcountry trails of Sallie Barber.

Today's video highlight will go along with the prior photo. Come along and watch Jack & Rudy speeding along in the narrow backcountry. Keep in mind this is near the end of our outing. The kids NEVER show any sign of slowing down, it's only me who gets tired :)

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Another season, another 1000 miles of skijoring and counting. Will we get to 1100 miles, certainly. Will we get to 1200 miles, probably. Will we get to 1300 miles, probably not but you never know. How about 1400 (like last year's record season), probably not but stay tuned!

What a way to earn end of run treats:

"We could go on forever; but treats are great too!" says the happy kids.

Today's tally: 8.6 miles traveled with 800 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2023 Season to Date: 117 days on the trails covering 1004.7 miles with 98,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Surprise Joy Ride

Everyone was thrilled at this morning's surprise joy ride out on Prospect Hill!

"We are having a GREAT time!" declares the happy pair looking back at
me during a quick pause.

"Surprise joy ride?" you ask. Well, yes. We set out to skijor the backcountry on Prospect Hill this morning. This network of trails is historically unmaintained backcountry terrain all winter long used by both skiers and snowmobiles. But, today was quite the surprise. A groomer had recently run up the main Prospect Hill Trail and down the backside of the hill for a little ways before turning around. Look at this beautiful trail:

A recent groom on Prospect Hill! We've never encountered this before!!!!
As you see, Jack & Rudy know what to do with a groom - ZOOM!

So, what we thought was going to be a highly technical skijor on backcountry trails instead turned into a groomed joy ride; thus the Surprise Joy Ride! 

On the backside of the hill, where the groomer turned around, we were able to leave the set trail for a short distance and romp through some nice powder before reconnecting with the groomer track:

Some nice powder as we cut a diagonal between the groomer trail for
a short distance.

But, we spent most of the day on the surprise groomed trail. We actually did the Prospect Hill route twice we were having so much fun on the surprise groom: out & back once and then out & back again. Along the way we get some nice views of Breckenridge Ski Resort across the valley from us:

Jack & Rudy zipping along as the ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort
come into view across the valley.

As I said earlier, Jack & Rudy know what to do with a groomed trail - zoom! Come along and watch the fun. The nice views of the ski runs of Breckenridge Ski Resort come into view across the valley from us after the first left in the video. Finally, watch the end as I have to navigate a sharp hairpin right on pretty beat up snow while Jack & Rudy slow automatically to let me navigate the hard right before opening up the throttle again. I don't have to say anything, they magically know to slow so I can navigate this on skis. Perfect partners!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Since we did the out & back route twice, we had numerous turnaround points to add some comedy to the outing. Jack & Rudy always deliver on the comedy :)

Some (i.e., me) take in the nice views at a turnaround point.
Some (i.e., Jack & Rudy) dig & dunk their heads into the snow looking for
rodents at a turnaround point.

What a surprise joy ride, right guys?

"Oh that was FUN!" declares the very happy and satisfied kids
awaiting end of run treats atop a nice snow wall.

Stats for today's surprise joy ride: 9.2 miles traveled with 1200 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2023/2204 Season to Date: 116 days on the trails covering 996.1 miles with 97,600 feet of elevation climbed.


Monday, March 25, 2024

Single Track

Cruising on by the historic Sallie Barber Mine on this morning's skijor in fresh snow.

Nice photo of the mine, nice photo of cruising on by Jack & Rudy,
nice accumulation of fresh snow this morning!

Today's outing took us up the front side of Sallie Barber, then down & back up the back side, then a little out & back on a side trail before returning back down the front side. As is usually the case with comical Jack & Rudy, we pause to roll snow angels to cool off after the initial climb to the mine:

"Rub a dub dub!" goes snow rolling Jack!
"DUNK!" goes upside down head dipping Rudy!

The front side of the Sallie Barber Mine Trail is very popular with both locals and tourists; but most stay on the front side and go up and down that part of the trail. The back side, though, is more of a local's trail and gets much less usage. Today we found the pre-existing single track on the back side of the trail to be pretty narrow. But, it was just wide enough for Jack & Rudy to fit side by side while running fast:

The pre-existing single track barely two Siberian Huskies wide :)

A video will do much more justice to showing just how narrow the single track trail actually was. The snow outside of the trail was very deep, so Jack & Rudy needed to both fit in the trail to keep pace with each other. Come along and watch as the fun kids are packed in tight while still running fast. 

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

On the way back up the back side of the mine, a rodent hunt broke out. It was pretty funny to witness. First Rudy did a dive off trail, then Jack lunged next to him and the Rudy backed up, went behind Jack and dived yet again off trail. Clearly the rodents were moving forward under the snow :)

"Dunking for pesky rodents! Where are they?" asks head dunking Jack.
"They are moving up this way!" says beautiful diving Rudy.
The big indentation in the snow next to Jack is the location of Rudy's
initial dive before he backed up, went up trail behind Jack and the did this
new dive off trail.

Despite lots of exploration under the snow, neither came up with a rodent in his mouth (although it has happened before :)

Finally, back down the popular front side of the mine which is almost always plenty wide from lots of usage to fit my two pals comfortably side by side.

Zipping down the front side. Wheeee!

Back to the trailhead and Jack & Rudy found yet another snow wall to climb to receive end of run treats:

"We'll climb up to you! How about those treats?" says the polite kids climbing
up so I don't have to kneel down :)

A fun backcountry day in fresh snow: 7.7 miles traveled with 700 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 20 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 115 days on the trails covering 986.9 miles with 96,400 feet of elevation climbed.

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Safety Dust

Everybody having a great time skijoring this morning?

"Yes! We are having a blast!" exclaims the happy duo looking back at
me with big smiles.

With warm (well above freezing) Spring days and cool (well below freezing) Spring nights, the morning trails can get pretty slick this time of year from the nightly refreeze of the prior day's melt. But, our skijoring schedule calls for morning outings, so we simply deal with it as a team. Sometimes it is so slick that we have to skijor at a gentle jog to preserve the human. What's amazing is Jack & Rudy understand this. They will NOT attempt to go fast if the conditions are sketchy, they'll simply jog along towing me gently on skis. It's better to jog on snow than have nothing at all!

Jack & Rudy towing me in a gentle jog as we are on slick and narrow
backcountry trails to start the day.

On wide trails, though, there is a simple addition that can make the trails safe to go fast again. If we get any snow overnight, even a trace amount, that is enough for the human to be able to skijor safely at full speed again. When it is just a dusting (i.e., trace amount of new snow), I call this the Safety Dust as brings the otherwise slick trails back to safe skiing. This was the case today. After going gently on narrow trails in the backcountry, we dropped onto the wide trails at Gold Run Nordic Center. I was thrilled to see the layer of safety dust over what would have been otherwise "too slick to skijor full speed" trails! Yay!

See Rudy's footprint in the bottom center of this photo (as well as the other
footprints behind him and Jack), this shows the dusting of new snow on the
trail that was just enough for me to let the kids uncork the skijor engine.

Now come along for a Safety Dust Skijor video clip. It really is amazing how little new snow I need to be safe on the otherwise slick underlying trails. I was completely at ease letting Jack & Rudy floor it with my layer of Safety Dust under my skis! Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Yesterday was quite a bit warmer during our skijor outing than today, so Jack & Rudy were rolling snow angels to cool off during any pause on the trails. So, I was pretty sure Rudy would be in a singing mood today after rolling all day yesterday. Jack, of course, rolls snow angels on EVERY skijor outing!

"Turnaround, Roll Around!" goes Jack at a turnaround point this morning.
"Turnaround, WOOOOO Around!" sings wooing Rudy.

After doing two laps on the upper nordic trail in the Safety Dust, it was time to transition onto the main trail to return to the trailhead. This trail gets a LOT more traffic than the upper trail, so I was a bit concerned about whether the dusting would be enough to proceed safely. But, low and behold, the groomer had just run on the main trail minutes before we transitioned onto it. Oh boy, first tracks groomie zoomie to end the outing:

First tracks on the fresh groom! Zoom!

Back to the trailhead to celebrate yet another super fun skijor outing with my pals:

"That was perfect!" says my wonderful partners awaiting end of run treats.

A fun outing brought to life by a wonderful layer of Safety Dust:  10.2 miles traveled with 1000 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 22 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 114 days on the trails covering 979.2 miles with 95,700 feet of elevation climbed.

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Stop, Drop and Roll

Look at these incredible conditions we found on the upper elevation trails at Breckenridge Nordic Center this morning!

First tracks on a recently groomed trail with a light layer of new snow on top!
Absolutely perfect!!!

Even when there wasn't a light layer of new snow, there was the fresh groom. Zoom!!!!!

The fast & fun kids FLYING along the groomed trail.
All the dots & haziness you see in the lower right of this photo are snow
poofs flying off the kids feet. Wheeee!

With such perfect conditions, we knew we were going to run out of terrain before we ran out of planned time out on the trails. Not a problem, we simply turned and redid extended stretches of the trail three times during the outing. Temperatures were a bit on the hot side for Jack & Rudy (just below freezing at the start and just above freezing by the end), so I knew each turnaround was going to come with rolling snow angels to cool off :)

Told you so! Stop, drop and roll before restarting again.

Speaking of upper elevation, the views from this network of trails can be breathtaking at times:

Zipping along with snow capped Rocky Mountains ahead and
to our right. Pretty!

Speaking of snow angels, come along for today's video highlight. We start out flying along a relatively flat stretch of trail. Then we slow a bit as the fun kids tow me up a rise in the trail. Next we floor it again down the other side of the rise. Finally, we continue off trail for a short bit before stopping so Jack & Rudy can do their favorite "stop activity" - that being to stop, drop and roll in the snow to cool off. Funny kids.

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

What a magnificent day, just perfect, right guys?

"Oh yes, we floored it to earn our end of run treats today!" says the focused kids.

Zooming around the nordic terrain: 10.6 miles traveled with 1200 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 24 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 113 days on the trails covering 969.0 miles with 94,700 feet of elevation climbed.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Catching Air

Cruising through the ruins of an old 1800s mining ghost town on this morning's skijor outing:

Peacefully trotting along as we take in the mining ruins.

Today's outing had found us starting in the backcountry and ending on the wide trails of Gold Run Nordic Center. With warm days and cold nights this time of year, the backcountry trails can get a bit slick and icy every morning. Luckily, Jack & Rudy know to slow the pace on slick trails, so it was a comfortable trot to start the outing as you see above.

We like to try and drop onto the trails at Gold Run Nordic Center just after the groomer finishes with the trails in the morning. That is especially true this time year when the trails have warmed the previous day and refrozen overnight. Unfortunately when we got on the upper most trail at Gold Run, the groomer had not been here yet this morning:

The photo does not do just to just how slick this trail was from warming
yesterday and refreezing overnight. My legs were burning from driving the
skis into the slick conditions to keep upright and pace with Jack & Rudy :)

But, then, thank dog, once we got on the main trail at Gold Run, the groomer had been there only minutes before us! One other fat bike rider with his dog were the only tracks on the fresh groom. Well, after keeping speeds to a minimum for the first two legs of the outing, Jack & Rudy knew what to do with this fresh groom! Zoom!

Yay for the fresh groom, time to safely uncork the skijoring engine
and catch some air sprinting along the trail!

The trail conditions in the prior photo are absolutely perfect. You'll notice there are some trees to shade the trail part of the day to prevent too much melting this time of year.

Well, after the prior photo, we took a left towards the trailhead and got onto the most sun exposed stretch of trail at Gold Run. This stretch is always the first to "melt out" in the Spring as it gets all day sunshine:

The hover huskies still catching air; but, yikes, look at that bit of ground
starting to poke through to our left. Spring sucks :)

Luckily that fully exposed stretch in the prior photo does not last for very long. Within a minute or two and we are back down into the trees. This well shaded stretch of trail keeps its snow well into mid to late Spring. Come along and see for yourself as Jack & Rudy are towing me along a pristine trail through dense shade providing trees. Wheeee!

[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

Ok, now get ready to laugh. Do you think Rudy is enjoying his snow angel this morning :)

"Ah! You know you want to join me!" exclaims super happy snow rolling Rudy.
"I'm in heaven too!" adds mellow rolling Jack.

Eventually, all outings have to come to an end. Despite knowing the "end is near" it is still running hard with all smiles from Jack & Rudy as we approach the finish:

"Whee! So much fun today!" declares the happy kids.

Finally, the happiness from Jack & Rudy continues right on into our final act of the morning: sharing end of run treats.

Such happy kids! What fun pals!

From early slick trails to freshly groomed nordic trails this morning: 9.1 miles traveled with 900 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 23 MPH.

2023/2024 Season to Date: 112 days on the trails covering 958.4 miles with 93,500 feet of elevation climbed.