Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year’s Eve Nordic

My New Year’s Eve celebration took place on the Bretton Woods Nordic trails, a little bit earlier than most. When the kids often are ready to greet the day at 5:00am, bedtime comes early for the Outdoor Mom, whether I like it or not!

So how do we all get out to enjoy some cross-county skiing with a three- and one-year old? Bretton Woods Nordic rents pulks, an enclosed sled that an adult can tow behind them while skiing. But our favorite piece of equipment the past few years has been our Chariot. This high-tech stroller is basically a pod with wheels that pop off so that you can attach skis to pull the kids Nordic skiing or a bike attachment to tow the kids behind your bike. When the kids were infants, we used the baby sling attachment to cradle them safely in the Chariot until Bridget and then Timothy could hold their heads up on their own. This equipment has been an invaluable investment in our health and sanity. When Bridget was a baby, it was often the only way we could get her to nap. It has enabled us to get outside with the kids and get quite a workout in the process. It has meant that Matt and I don’t have to take turns getting outside.

Pulling the Chariot around the Bretton Woods trails is always an attention-getter. We often get comments like, “whish I could ride in style like that!” and “Wow, that’s got to be quite a workout!” Since Matt is a much faster Nordic skier than me, I often joke that having him tow the kids is the only way I can keep up with him. He jokes back that towing the kids is the only way I’ll let him have a beer when we get home.

Yesterday we met out friends who also have a Chariot, Phoebe and Dave, and their two boys. Finding friends to share the trials and tribulations of feeding your outdoor habit with kids in tow makes it all the more fun - for the kids and the adults.

This ski season has brought a new dimension to the use of the Chariot – our preschooler now want to have the option of getting out and taking part in the skiing. We are obviously excited to see that Bridget wants in on the fun, but this has forced another change in our approach and expectations. Now we need to summon up the patience to schuss slowly along as Bridget learns her way through the forest. But hopefully the payback will be an independent skier in just a few years.

Bridget’s feet are still too small to wear cross-country boots, so we got her some strap-on kid’s skis from Madshus that adjust to her snow boots and have an unattached heel to simulate the feel of cross-country skiing. So we pull the kids for awhile, then let her get out and ski a bit, then back in the Chariot when she tires. The gear compartment in the back of the Chariot is big enough to stow snacks and diapers and to stick the skis in the top when not in use.

Bridget and the boys especially enjoyed cruising down the gentle slope of the Sebosis trail. Having two other kids to follow is a great motivator for Bridget. She sees that getting down the trail is totally possible, and that if you fall, you just get yourself back up and keep going. Bridget’s boots don’t hold her up like her stiff downhill boots, so this will be great for her to learn balance on the skis. She shuffled along with a big grin on her face.

Now that the Christmas rush is over, I’m looking forward to pulling Timothy on the Nordic trails while Bridget is at preschool in the mornings. With any luck, we’ll be able to combine morning nap time with a chance for Mom to get outside!

Thanks to Dave for this great picture!

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