Saturday, February 28, 2009

Trail Report Saturday Night

Trail is mostly great, packed and checked tonight - took Jon 2 hours longer than expected because yet another truck had carved up a mile from Norcope's Quarry on along the trail. Fixed as best it can be with a skidoo and a pallet (which flipped at least twice - no fun) and is passable, but a decision on the Kids race will be made after experienced mushers have finished the 12 mile and seen the damage (if the damage is too bad for the Kid's, we can shorten the Kid's race and stay on good trail).

Remember, you can stop this trail vandalism by emailing and asking for Parks and Rec to put in winter gates.

Bring Booties - even if you don't use them, they are now mandatory gear and must be shown to the RM at the start line


Aurora Booties
Icy Waters Ltd
Midnight Sun Alpacas
First Mate Pet Food
Dazhaw Du Chiropractic Clinic
C&D Feeds

Weathergirl topping up on Vitamin D

Bunnyboot Weathergirl returns from topping up on Vitamin D and comments the trails are awesome

Indeed they clearly are!

The temperature was actually about 10'C cooler, however things appear to have heated up in the vicinity of the CHT's Weathergirl


Trail Report - Sat Feb 28th

Three inches of fresh snow fell overnight Thurs - Fri on a very hard trail. This was good news to skijorers as the trail was so hard parked, snowploughing had no effect on decreasing speed - it made a loud scraping noise that encouraged the dogs to pull harder though.

Jon packed the trail yesterday evening and it is in excellent shape. There are some gentle bumps at the base of the Mt Mac road - thank you KSA for smoothing those monster gouges out.

Newsflash!! As a result of emails to Doug Hniantuk at City Parks and Rec regarding wheeled vehicles gouging up the trail, the City will shortly be assigning a By-Law officer to patrol the Copper Haul Trail (as part of their duties)! That was after just a few emails - keep sending them to and thank him for the patrol, and ask for winter gates to be built this summer to keep wheeled vehicles off this trail Nov 1st - March 31st.

Race is ON!!

Saturday Trail report and WeatherBunnyBootGirl still to come!!

Monday, February 23, 2009


This will be interesting - the trail conditions are varying from hard-packed grit to hard-packed glide, it'll all depend on the temperature on the day. With Dave "Tagish Tornado" Johnson returned from his eastern wanderings and Brian "Marshmallow" MacDougall throwing in the natty Race Marshall jacket and dusting off the sled, all the points "spoilers" are coming out of the closet for the end of season races. Snowpigs, with an eye on being one of the first skijorers in the Baby Percy have been slogging out on longer and longer runs. Jon is convinced that "hey, when Assman and Emma notice I don't have a pack on my back, they'll know we're not going out for 26+ miles" - yeah dream on Jon, enjoy the 7mph skijor on Sunday. Kyla Boivin has vowed "not to drink at the Quest Finish Banquet" and drive through the night to step on a speedy Drag n Fly sled and team at the start line. Harvey Van Patten commented "She'll be thinking that right up to her seventeenth beer!" Will Genessee Keevil return from digging the dirt on the Quest and twist mushers round her finger to spill all the nasty beans on recreational mushing (why bother - the News can always make them up)? Will Tony Radford drive the skeleton sled (it's got a crack in it's going to split on one of those fast downhills, and sharp bits of metal will rear up before you - ahh, a nightmare thought for Speed King Tony, relax, it'll never happen... like the Titanic) for race glory, or volunteer and get into the League? Who will challenge Asha in the Pet dog league? Swollen slightly from the lavish treats after victory in the Rendezvous Freight Pull she's spent the week trying to lounge on the couch (...and retreating to the dog mattress) (some dogs are spoilt) whenever she hears human footsteps. Can Jeff Diment hold it together and pick up the 2 points he needs to secure the Kid's League and Yukon Brewing's cash, or will Erin Spicer challenge for top honours?

Aurora Booties are sewing up some dog jackets as well as booties and collars; there's more Yukon Brewing T shirts in the prize list (cos you didn't consume them all at the Duffy's Pets Valentines Race - what, was there not enough kissing???); three slightly Raven pecked (and therefore very be so full) bags of First Mate (sponsor of Warren Palfrey, not doing too shabby in the Quest and still with 12 dogs) Extreme dog food; some superbly warm Midnight Sun Alpaca socks (now you have to bring them , Carolyne); an actual t shirt from Yukon Agriculture Association: dogs chews and "omniverous" treats from C&D Feeds; Succulent Arctic Charr for volunteers and dogs alike from Icy Waters Ltd; lots of cold hard cash from THE CHOCOLATE CLAIM.

We even have a RED LANTERN, unlike the sad Rendezvous Races - c'mon guys, couldn't your Hougen sponsors stretch to a $15 red lantern for a $75 entry fee - shame on you!

And Dynamic Duo Gene Ennis, Race Marshall, lately back from handling for Q300 finisher Martin Jahr (and if she can deal with him, don't even think of arguing) and Mel Bedard Race Timer, lately back from giving birth to son Yoann -again don't argue, any pain you think you have is nothing in comparison. But be re-assured, the CHT doesn't hand out Doug.A/hole. G arbitrary penalties...oh my, was that a political partisan statement???

Sunday March 1st - it's showtime - 10 am Icy Waters Ltd, sleds 2-4 dogs; skis 2-3 dogs
 Meet at 10am, the CHT, where all the cool dogs go!!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Trail Report Thursday 19th Feb

Team Pompom were out blazing down the trail twice this week, they report it's all good, hard, solid, fast....except for the truck that came in from the Lobird/MacLean  Lake access again in a pathetic attempt to climb up the quarry hill. It couldn't of course, as the snow was above its axles. Then it turned in the trail.....

Harris Cox of the KSA spent a long time today and tipped his machine and grader (and they're not small) over twice repairing it, he's coming back to finish the job tomorrow. Thank you!

We really need those winter gates - if you haven't yet, please email of Whitehorse Parks and Rec and ask him to get this trail gated off in winter - if you have, email again and ask him how the project is going.

So that end is being sorted out for now, at the Fish Lake rd end, Norcope ploughed the first 1.5 miles again to their quarry. Now it is a better job than last time, but  close inspection reveals about 0.5" of snow was left - c'mon guys, leave a bit more, that's going to simply burn off unless we get more snow.

Jon took a 4 dog team out round the kid's loop this afternoon (in preperation for his very slow upcoming run in Rendezvous! Sled? Sled! wot's this handlebar thing? and what on earth is this pointy hook thing for - locking onto faster teams? shades of Mad Max! Great!!) and despite the ploughing it's in excellent shape, very hard and fast (erm, if you had fast dogs and actually changed the runner plastic occassionally). Be careful when trying to hook onto faster sleds in this section, as if you miss the hook may embed in the 2-4' high banks of snow and stop you very quickly.

(Disclaimer - the above suggestion is for professional drivers on closed courses only)

Al looking good for March 1st and the inaugural
- Yeeehaaaaaaaaa!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Pooper Scoop

With half a foot of fresh white, the truck carvings on the climb into the Stone Chute were barely noticeable for the Duffy's Pets Race Day. But, slogging through the snow made for a slow race. By the time teams got to the Pyramids the dogs were sweaty and their monkeys pooped. Check out the tongues on the Drag'n'Flys pulling Tony Radford, right:

Conditions didn't hinder lively competition, though. Here's Darryl Sheepway (below) gaining on Rene LaPierre:

Important Lesson from the Trail: STAND STOCK STILL, even if the lead dog of the passing team is freaking out. By the time Darryl and Rene crested the hill, Darryl called "On by". How could I know he'd pass between Rene's team and me, standing just off trail? The Smoking Paws, looking like pups compared to Rene's malamutes, veered wide with fear in their eyes. They weren't the only ones. Don't move, don't move: you twitch and they'll tangle. Many thanks to Rene and Darryl for a grand display of trail etiquette and smooth passing.

Doggone Kennels ran away with best dressed mushers this month.

When I commented on Kirstie's great dress, she grabbed a ruffle and gave it a swish. "It makes me feel so pretty out on the trail." That's not something every musher can say. And Birch Kuch stole the show in style and headgear. Here he is pumping up the trail:

First in show, though, was Debbie Last bouncing down the trail in Cupid's Sled:

The day before the Twister Stefan Wackerhagen's dog ran six miles and was still full of spunk. On the right is the four-year, a little less perky, heading for home.

In the 5 km Pet Dog League Asha clinched top prize in her class with another first place finish for Jonathan Lucas. However if there was a prize for the silliest finish, judges agree Tony won hands down. Pictured below he looks pretty skilled, but two pratt falls and a kiss-the-ground face plant near the finish line gave spectators plenty of laughs.

In the 5 km Kids League another clean run gave Jeff Diment first place, with Larissa Rueckenbach, below, hard on his heels.

All competitors took home prizes thanks to our generous sponsors Air North, Yukon Brewing, Aurora Booties, Midnight Sun Alpacas, C&D Feeds, First Mate Feeds and the Yukon Agriculture Association. Be at Icy Waters, Twister HQ, at 10 a.m. March 1 for the Chocolate Claim Race Day.

Text: Jessica Simon Photos: Mike Simon
posted by yukonwriter

Sled Racing and Skijoring

Skinny Puppy Kate Weekes sets up her pass on teammates and musher Larry Lang.

Adrien Laydevant skating into the Pyramids, en fran├žaise.

Valentine's Twister footage: Mike Simon
posted by yukonwriter

Friday, February 13, 2009

Team Dreams

When your dogs are twitching in their sleep here's what they're dreaming of:

Rounding the pyramids and heading for the Drop Kick Corner with Tony Radford
Passing those skijorers. Wendy Morrison brakes for Team Pom Pom.

Or maybe they're

Riding the runners with Valerie Bussard

January CHT images from Jessica Simon

posted by yukonwriter

Glory Hounds

Team Pom Pom leaders Sammy and Grey:

CHT poster boy Will van Randen

Jessica Simon photos

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Strange Case of the Ruts at Midnight - partially resolved

Air North took the idea of one of their trucks damaging the trail very seriously and had called in the driver for a talk. He did go a short way along the trail from Fish Lake Rd, realised he was going to get stuck and got the heck back out. He was in no way connnected with the damage up on the gravel hill where the yahoos came in from the Lobird/MacLean Lake Access.

Thank you Air North, for taking this so seriously.

The only way to preserve a winter trail for winter use (ie keep the wheels off) is to prevent the wheeled vehicles getting on it in the first place. Please support the emplacement of gates at the access points to the Copper Haul Trail, to be closed Nov 1st - Mar 31st by emailing this support to of the City's Parks and Rec Dept who is promoting this idea within City administration.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Duffy's Pets and Tanzilla Harness Supply Race Day Results

Great thanks to Laura Jane Lucas and Gene Ennis for their ideas and work to make this February race a very memorable "Valentine's  Day Special" complete with carved trophy donated by Earl Shaw.

Twenty Two teams turned out, in -15'c, sunny weather, with a trail initially smooth but soon torn up into 3"+ of sticky snow that grabbed and seemed to hold runners and skis alike .

12 Mile Twister,
 all 5 dog sled teams unless otherwise stated

1 Lee Kirkpatrick Drag n Fly 1:02:47
2 Tony Radford Drag n Fly 1:09:39
3 Birch Kuch Doggone Racing Team 1:09:51
4 Jon Lucas Snowpigs 1:11:59 2 dog skis
5 Aileena Ruekenbach Huskyteers 1:12:56
6 Darrel Sheepway Smokin Paws  1:13:18 3 dog skis
7 Adrien Laydevant 1:18:06 3 dog skis
8 Larry Lang Skinny Puppy 1:21:17
9 Kate Weekes Skinny Puppy 1:23:18
10 Ian Stewart Skinny Puppy 1:29:27
11 Kirstie Falkevitch Doggone Racing Team 1:30:23
12 Laura Jane Lucas Silverpaw 1:31:36
13 Debbie Last 1:32:28 Best Decorated Sled award
14 StephanWackerhayn 1:33:25 1 dog skis
15 Rene LaPierre Nanuq Adventure 1:38:21
16 Xavier Chabanne Sky High 1:47:07
17 Janet Keller Grizzly Blizzard 2:05:41
18 Jean Pierre Damare Sky High 2:06:16

League Standings

1 Kyla Boivin 26pts V $250
2 Jon Lucas 22pts V $200
3 Tony Radford 14pts $150
4 Lee Kirkpatrick 10 pts V $100
5= Laura Jane Lucas 6pts $50
Aileena Ruekenbach 6pts
Darrell Sheepway 6pts V

To qualify for a League position competitors must have volunteered (V) on the 12 mile race - out on the course, RM, or timer; on the start line only if there are enough other volunteers willing to go out on the course. Also to have completed 3 or 4 races: points total from a max of 4 races even if competed in 5.

Kids 5km Race
4 dog sleds

1 Jeff Diment 14:52
2 Larissa Ruekenbach Huskyteers 16:24

League Standings

1 Jeff Diment 36pts V  $125
2 Keagan Hopkins 16pts $100
3 Larissa Ruekenbach 14pts $75
4 Erin Spicer 10pts V $50
To catch Jeff, Keagan must win the next two races, and get a parent to volunteer on the 12 mile.

To qualify for a league place, the competitor or their parent must have volunteered as per the 12 mile qualification, and competed in 3 or 4 races.

Pet Dog 5km
1 dog

1 Asha the Rottie Jon Lucas Skis 21:14
2 Chance the Griffon  Tony Radford Skis 34:32

League Standings

1 Asha 40pts V - too far ahead to be caught, Asha wins 2008-9 Pet Dog League $125
2= 8 pts Chance $100
Nanuq (Michael Pealow)
4 Cosmo (Anissa Guenfoud) 6pts $50
5 Keno (Heather Desmarais) 4 pts $25

As in other 2 classes, competitors must volunteer for the 12 mile race and race in 3 or 4 Pet Dog races.

Thanks to RM Gene Ennis, Timer Carolyn Campbell, Asst Timer Esther Keddie, Volunteers out on the Trail: Mike and Jessica Simon; Jocelynne LeBlanc and the crowd of Sky High volunteers; Diane Lister; Matthieu Renner. Also all the startline sled holders. Pinnochios Springs Kennel Colin and Simi Morrison's chilli, hot drinks, firepit  at the startline, and Gene and Laura Jane again for all the decorations, cake and Kissing (although Jeff wasn't too impressed).

And buy our sponsor's stuff - Yukon Brewing, Duffy's Pets and Tanzilla Harness Supply, Aurora Booties, Midnight Sun Alpacas, C&D Feeds, First Mate Dog Foods, Icy Waters Ltd, Yukon Agriculture Association.

Next Race - Chocolate Claim Race Day, Sunday March 1st
12 mile Sled 2-4 dogs; Skis 1-3 dogs

Sunday, February 8, 2009

7" fresh snow - no prob for the CHT Racers!

No prob - but it was hard and slow - so just brief recap for now, full results tomorrow:
Firstly - Gene Ennis and Laura Jane Lucas's idea for the Valentine's Day theme went off brilliantly - and they put all the work in to make it happen - brilliant: lots of decorations, kissing at the start line (which was ok, or quite nice, very nice actually, can we do this every race?) however the icicles (erm, snotsicles) at the finish caused some  hmmm, erm, drawback: as Kyla Boivin put it "up here, way up here above my cheekbone, and keep that mess in your beard away from me, Birch"

12 mile:
Drag n Fly floated through with 5 dogs to take 1 & 2, whilst Doggone Kennel dream 5 dog team with guest monkey Birch took third. Snowpigs' Assman and Emma drove through the treacle to take 4th whilst lightweight floater Aleena Rueckenbach drove her 5 dog team to 5th.

Debbie Last wasn't , and picked up 10 blocks of Icy Waters Ltd Arctic Charr dogfood for "best dressed Valentine's Day sled" - ha! that'll get you decorating next year!


Jeff Diment  finished 1st against Larissa Ruekenbach which we think (but we are a bit tired) means Jeff has sewn up the Kid's league. Well done both of you, and Larissa, get your Dad to volunteer next race so you can pick up some of Yukon Brewing's $$$$ for a league place!

Pet dog

Guard dog vs Bird dog - Asha the Rottie took on Chance the Griffon whilst their monkeys pretended to do something important on skis. Rumour has it Jon actually creased his new jacket.

Asha 1, Chance 0

With 40 points from 4 races and her monkey volunteering in the 12 mile, and 2 races to go it's all over: Asha is Queenie of the Pet Dog League, Season 2008-2009, and $125 from yukon Brewing will find it's way into Jon's pocket ("Hey! That's mine!" says Asha) on March 22nd!

All kennels should have a freight puller - Asha's winning's have made sure Snowpigs havn't actually needed to pay out any cash for dog food so far this season! They pay for themselves, and pick up cash in the CHT Pet Dog!

Results soon!!!

Thanks to everyone, volunteers, monkeys, DOGS, for coming out and making it a great day!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bunny (boot) Weathergirl says "RACE IS ON"

At -16'C the Bunny (boot) Weathergirl clearly shows the race is on! 

And the trail looks good at 11.00pm Saturday, after being worked on 5 times in the last 30 hours.

Trail report Sat 7th Feb

A good 3" snow fell overnight and Jon packed it down this morning. A lone snowshoer immediately took advantage of the flattenned part of the trail..... It's still snowing (has been since at least 7.30am) so Jon and Laura are going packing this evening as well. At this rate we'll all be racing in a 6' wide trench! At least you can't get lost.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Trail Report Friday 9pm, -12'C

"Hey, Wheel guys: jink right, we'll jink left, let's get him down like Gael and Ibex did Gaetan!"  Wheel dog "Too right, I got gristle in my soup this morning, it's still stuck in my teeth - take 'im down!"(photo Dave Mondor)

(photo Dave Mondor) "Crikey it's hot!" "What's the matter with you? at least you're white!"

Luverly! well smoothed by Harris Cox (KSA) and his triple bladed grader and then polished off by Jon. Probably the flattest it's been since November. Hopefully the bush party yahoos will find another quarry to party in on Saturday.

However with another inch of snow today, the CH Trail gets increasingly sticky for wheeled vehicles, perhaps one will get trapped...and consumed.

Sunday's Race Officials - RM - Gene Ennis; Timer -  Carolyn Campbell - do not argue with these people, their word is law.

Rule recap - let people past when they call trail, or their leaders come past you, D'OH!

This is a ***** race, not a camping trip, if you have to stop, don't spread your team and gear all over the trail!

Skijorers - no metal edged skis unless approved by RM; gloves mandatory; no snow hooks for you  - use your body.

Everyone to show booties to RM/Timer at start line...or you don't start, or you can, but you have an instant DQ.

For this Valentine's Day race, win two bottles of Yukon Golden Bubbly if you kiss the same person at the start and finish, are our officials are going to be busy :)!!!
Best decorated team/sled - 10 blocks of dog food from Icy Waters Ltd.

10 am Sunday, non of that Carbon Hill 8.30am horror for the CHT!!. Icy  Waters Ltd, be there or have a good lie in!

Rumour has it we have a WeatherLADY for this race

RACE ON Duffy's Pets and Tanzilla Harness Suply RACE ON

With temperatures being predicted to be anywhere between -12 and -18 it looks like a balmy day on Sunday, and Pinocchios Springs Kennel's chili and firepit will keep any frost at bay.

Laura Jane Lucas, Dave Desmarais, Jim Hajash, and Lee Kirkpatrick all ran the trail yesterday and it's in fair condition for this time of year, with the ruts erased and lots of hardpacked snow. Lee tried a new speed racer tactic that terrified everyone else but in fact led to a short walk and a ride in another sled so we don't expect to see that ever again!

Trail will dragged tonight and Saturday.

See you all 10am, Sunday 8th, Icy Waters Ltd. Remember the 12 mile is 2-5 dogs for sleds and 2-3 for the skijorers.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Strange case of the Air North truck carving up the Copper Haul Trail

Anyone remember the truck ruts carving up the trail on that wide, steep ascent to the quarry and the stone chute on the last Jan 18th, Alpine Vet, Twister? They didn't get into the Quarry.

However seems they tried again last weekend - that would explain the axle deep ruts going repeatedly up the hill and finally into the quarry, and the 8 foot diameter blackened hole in the snow to earth in there. Our intrepid reporter coudn't make the link between that and the appearance last Thursday of mysterious axle deep ruts from MacIntyre Marsh (the CHT start line) leading 3 miles (3 miles!) along the trail, and simply stopping...until today.

The Klondike Snowmachine Association groom most of our trail, Jon tries to pack the small sections in between and gives it some polishing and cuts out the "sweeper" trees. KSA spent 2 hours fixing up the first set of ruts, it kinda makes them annoyed when it's repeated a week or so later.

Today we hear of a story about last Thursday about an Air North 1 tonne pick-up loaded down with pallets trying to force its way the full 6 miles down the Copper Haul from Fish Lake Rd (imagine the trail carnage if he'd made it - it was a male driver, yeah, of course) when it got stuck 3 miles in. Somehow it got partly back out, but needed the help of a passing Council grader to get fully out. The young male Air North employee was very chatty, explaining how he was taking the pallets in to the Quarry way down the Copper Haul for a bush party that weekend. He must have got a different vehicle and got them in from the Lobird access road, (after a number of tries) and had his party.

The KSA repaired the hill in just over 2.5 hours of work today, tomorrow they are repairing the 3 miles of ruts at the Fish Lake rd end of the trail.

A call to Air North management revealed the employee was supposed to have taken them to the landfill. The management are annoyed about the whole affair, and having a "word" with their employee. So don't blame Air North, they are "looking into and dealing with it" and they are a most excellent sponsor of the "Reach for the Sky and Take the Beer".

If anyone knows the jolly chaps and chapesses who had the bush party would they also have a word and explain how driving a truck up a winter trail destroys possibly hundreds of people's enjoyment, can be a career stalling manouvre, and in very rare cases has been seen to induce spontaneous combustion in abandoned stuck vehicles.

While this carving around in trucks could all be thought of as a jolly old breeze, the CHT Org is fed up of it and today the CHT Org contacted the City and began the process of working with Parks and Rec to plan to emplace winter gates at the CHT access points to prevent wheeled vehicle access. The CHT will be starting a petition but if you feel strongly about this please also email stating that you support emplacing gates on the Copper Haul Trail to prevent wheeled vehicle access between Nov 1st and Mar 31st.

Well, that was serious, wasn't it boys and girls?