Is it Spring? Make Up Your Mind Already!

In Like a Lion, Out like a Lamb. March means spring in Utah. And that means sun. Or snow. Or both.

I love that first day of the season when I don’t have to bundle myself and my kids into snow coats, hats and mittens. I love feeling warm sun on my face after months of chilling wind. I love having picnics with my tots at local parks. But the beginning of spring also means the end of winter. No more snow for sledding, snowboards or nordic skiing. No more snuggly nights by a fire or beautiful snow covered pine trees.

I love spring, but I hate that it means winter is over. Living in the mountains makes that two way pull even stronger. At my house, snow still clings to the ground and Sundance Mountain Resort is open for business. The snow will fall and I’ll get some great turns on my snowboard or get out on the flats with the We! Ski Kit.  Then the sun will shine and I’ll crave to go play at a park with my kids or break out the bikes. Just twenty minutes down the canyon daffodils are poking through the dirt and city parks are busy with laughing kids.

It’s hard to flip from cold to warm weather activities. It’s hard to bundle up with scarves and mittens one day, and find all our bike helmets the next. But this season, instead of being annoyed I’ve decided to embrace the change. Sure being prepared for cold and warm activities means the skis and baseball gloves are all pulled out of the garage at the same time. Yes my son has gone to school with either too much coat or not enough. It’s hard to balance some of the aspects of changing seasons, but what a blessing to be able to ski in the morning and bike in the afternoon. There’s not many places in the world where I can comfortably do that. Utah is one of those places.
In the past I’ve considered this shoulder season the ugliest season of all. The snow is gone but the green hasn’t come in yet. Now I’m more nuanced in my opinion. Yes, the majority of my surroundings are not as beautiful as they are in deep summer or winter, but there are still pockets of gorgeous everywhere. Driving down the canyon I can enjoy the pine tree sentinels on the side of the road. Playing by the river I can watch the currents in the water. The jagged rocks on a recent hike reminded me of the beauty of non growing things. And it gave Little g a great place to climb. There is beauty all around, even on early spring days.
The return to warm days is gradual. I can embrace that and appreciate all the opportunities it gives me.

Get Outside with Burley’s We! Ski Kit

The rest of the country may be ready for spring but around here I’m clinging to winter with everything I’ve got. Sure I like warm weather and pretty flowers as much as the next person, but the advent of spring means snow will melt away fast. No snow means no skiing or snowboarding!

I’ve loved snowboarding on my own this season and skiing with Big E and Little G. But Baby L got none of the winter sports love. She was always left with a babysitter.

As any breastfeeding mother knows, it’s hard to get out with a baby in tow. At eleven months, Baby L can’t even walk yet, let alone ski, snowshoe or sled. That’s why I was so thrilled to try out the We! Ski Kit and D’Lite Bike Trailer that Burley sent to review. It meant that I could finally get outdoors with the baby and share what I love most with everyone in the fam.

Certain gear opens up a whole world of opportunities. That’s what the We! Ski Kit is for us –  a ticket for outdoor freedom.


Wrangling Equipment
The We! Ski Kit is compatible with Burley’s D’Lite,Cub, Encore and Solo trailers. Skis attach as easily as the wheels, with a quick push of a button. Lightweight poles connect the trailer to a padded waist strap the skier wears.

Wrangling equipment is a huge hassle on any outdoor adventure. Scratch that, any outing ever. I feel like I’m constantly hauling stuff in and out of the car, but certain features of the D’Lite and the We! Ski Kit  made this headache a little easier. 

All Burley trailers fold down easily, although sometimes setting it back up takes some upper body strength. Attachment poles disconnect at the midpoint and the waist band for easier storage. Plus they’re surprisingly light. I could barely feel them when I strapped in.

Even with all of those features the set up, strapping in, connecting and securing takes time. Baby L hates it. She cries while I frantically buckle, zip and cover her then clip in, connect and adjust myself, but once we’re on the snow it’s a whole new experience. Cries are replaced with sounds of contentment and eventually she’s lulled into a calm sleepiness.

I Am Not a Horse

Using the We! Ski Kit made me feel a little like a horse pulling a carriage. I’m okay with that. At least horses get out of the house and away from doing dishes all day. 

The waist strap felt comfortable and surprising light, but pulling that much extra weight is not easy. Adding 65 pounds of children to a strenuous workout made for a lot of huffing and puffing. It was much easier when I just took the baby instead of both Baby L and Little G.

While skiing with the We! Ski Kit I had a little problem with physics. When I started sliding too fast down a small incline with the weight of the trailer and kids pushing me I couldn’t stop. I’m an intermediate cross country skier at best, being out of practice with last season’s pregnancy and this season’s infant. So it wasn’t a huge surprise to me when I fell.

But it did surprise Little G.  Little G, who is not all that little anymore, couldn’t buckle right with her bulky coat in the way. I have since figured out how to do this (Note – spend some time with the equipment before heading to the trail) but at the time I fell, so did Little G. Almost out of the carrier.

Burley folks are probably rolling their eyes at me. It says in no uncertain terms to buckle your child and put the cover on to avoid just this scenario. Luckily we were going slow enough that she didn’t get hurt, even when I fell again ten feet later. But she did walk the rest of the way back to the car.

Pros of the We! Ski Kit

  • Lightweight 
  • Easy ski attachment
  • Simple installation
  • Light feel when connected
  • Freedom to get outdoors 
Cons of the We! Ski Kit

  • Price $275
  • Cumbersome set up 
  • The front of the carrier plunges when not connected to the waist making loading kids tough.
I love the freedom the D’Lite and We! Ski Kit has given me to get on the snow. We need the outdoors on a daily basis around here and Burley has made it much easier to get outside. 


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January is Learn to Ski or Snowboard Month!

If you’ve ever wanted to learn to ski or snowboard now’s your chance! January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and several Utah ski resorts are offering beginner deals including a $45 lesson, rental and lift ticket package from Brighton Resort.

Graphic from SkiUtah.com

When I first learned to snowboard it was through Brighton’s Ladies’ Day clinic. I signed up for the four week course with a bit of a rebellious attitude. Mountain Dad and I had been trying to get pregnant with no luck. “Fine,” I thought. “If I can’t be a mom I’ll do something else I’ve always wanted to do.” Thus started my love of downhill snow sports.

Now, years later, I’m in the opposite position. At seven months pregnant, skiing and snowboarding black diamonds is definitely not happening. However, I want my tots to feel the joy of speeding down the mountain, the wind in their hair and a smile on their faces so I decided I’d put on my skis for a little ride in the tow rope area. (I really hope my doctor, mother, and sister aren’t reading this).

Little g and I “skied” a little last year with her between my skis, flopping around like a rag doll while I hunched over her to keep her from rolling snowball-style down the mountain. It was a lot of work for me and she had no control on the snow. At three-years-old this season we have boots that actually fit her and she’s noticeably taller and stronger, although this photo doesn’t exactly show off her strength.

After trudging, buckling, zipping, adjusting, clipping in and finally lining up, we glided up the tow rope. “Weee!” little g exclaimed. “I skiing!” With her between my skis we maneuvered down the slope, me trying to teach her what a snowplow on skis felt and looked like. She didn’t quite get the concept, but she enjoyed the ride, smiling and laughing the whole time.
A second run was all we got in before she flopped exhausted on the snow. We had only gone one hour, but it was enough. (Luckily kids five and under are free at Sundance, and anyone can ride the tow rope at no charge, so we didn’t waste any money.)
Unfortunately on our way down to base our skis crossed, entangling the two of us in a mess of skis, boots and legs. The awkward position of being flat on the snow, leg twisted the wrong way under me and a toddler on top was enough to convince me that maybe my doctor, sister, husband and mother were right. Perhaps I shouldn’t try skiing while seven months pregnant, even if it’s on the very flat tow rope area. 
I still consider the afternoon a success as Big E got over his recent trepidation with the tow rope and little g got a taste of how fun skiing can be. If I can pass anything on to my kids it’s how to find joy in this life. For me that involves speeding downhill in the snow. 

For my tips on teaching kids to ski click here. You may also enjoy these posts:

Big E learns to ski

Last winter, Big E started his skiing career by accompanying me to Sundance Resort several times. He had a lesson and by the end of last season was able to make it down the beginner run all by himself. I was so proud, my little skier at barely four years old.

This season, I expected him to catch my love of the mountain as if it were contagious. Unfortunately all those months between last season and this one left plenty of time for him to forget. Our first (and only) run together was frequently punctuated with falling, crying and frustrated pouting.

“I’m done with doing this on my own,” I thought and I signed him up for a lesson. His instructor was great, but said he “got frustrated when the skis didn’t do what he wanted.”

A few days later Mountain Dad tried cross country skiing. He’d done it before, years ago, but never on his own. When he came home annoyed and red faced he said, “I just couldn’t get the skis to do what I wanted.” Do you think they’re related?

January is Learn a Snow Sports Month, and I’m pretty sure our family will be first in line.