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. 

This post includes affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you purchase something by clicking through these links. 

Big Springs Park Snowshoe with Hike It Baby

Have you been “mama-stalked”?

Last August I was walking around the Outdoor Retailer trade show when a stranger approached me and handed me a card. She had noticed Baby L strapped to my chest (it was hard not to notice a second person plastered to the first). Her name was Shanti Hodges and she invited me to check out her website – Hike It Baby.
Once she said Hike It Baby something clicked in my head. I knew Shanti. We were part of the same Outdoor Family Bloggers Facebook Group. From there I knew she cared about getting outdoors with kids, just like me and I was more than happy to check out her website.

HikeIt Baby is a community of outdoors lovers who lead hikes in over 150 cities. Chances are there’s a local Hike It Baby branch near you. Run by volunteers, all hikes are free and offer an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with other parents of young children.
Since last August I’ve attended several local Hike It Baby Hikes and last month led a Snowshoe hike at Big Springs Park – my favorite local trail.
Little g was excited to try out her bear print snowshoes while Baby L was happy to sleep on my chest once again. We went out, a group of five mamas all carrying at least one child. We were all trying new things as most of the others had never been snowshoeing before.
We started out on the trail that followed a beautiful stream. I loved the ice formed by the water edge and the frozen landscape all around. It was great getting outdoors and we did pretty well for the first half mile.

Then all hell broke loose. We had gone just half a mile, but half a mile of snowshoeing while carrying twenty extra pounds (or more) is really hard. When we turned around to head back to the trailhead Little G decided she was done. She cried, complained, whined and refused to walk another step. Unlike another mother of a four year old I hadn’t brought a second baby carrier to strap her to my back. Instead I hobbled down the trail with Baby L in the wrap on my front and Little G clinging to my neck on my back. 

It was awkward and difficult and we were all glad when it was over.
One great thing about hiking with other moms is that they get it. Yes my daughter’s crying was annoying to everyone but they’d also been in situations where their kid didn’t do exactly what they wanted when they wanted. They knew that sometimes adventures with tots don’t always go exactly as planned.
That’s what makes Hike It Baby great. No hiker is left behind because they care about building the next generation of outdoor lovers. If you haven’t checked out Hike It Baby now’s the time. See what hikes are in your area and get out on the trail! 

How Hippee Are You?

I’m writing this while eating granola that I purchased in the bulk food section of Sprouts Market using refillable jars that I brought from home.

Yeah. I’ve gone a little hippee. 

I’m not the only one. Green living, sustainable agriculture, and climate change are big topics in the world. As an outdoors lover it makes sense to care about the environment and want to preserve the beauties of the earth. But living in an eco-friendly way requires sacrificing personal convenience.

How much do you give up for the sake of the environment?

In October, I read the book Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. Her family of four produces just one quart of garbage a year. That’s less than the average American produces in two days.

Zero Waste Home and its accompanying blog advocates living more simply by consuming less and using package free alternatives. Since reading the book, I analyze everything I throw in my trash bin – wrappers, bits of tape, food scraps – and think how I could compost, recycle or avoid tossing it altogether. It has changed my daily life.

I now use cloth diapers (much to Mountain Dad’s dismay), bring my own containers to the grocery store and carry a handkerchief instead of tissues. I choose to garden, make my own reusable bulk bags, and scrutinize every item that enters my home with a view on how to dispose of it when the time comes.

Living in the mountains requires us to haul our own trash and recycling away, so we naturally have an incentive to produce less of it. It also makes it easy to compost since our yard has no grass, just trees and native landscaping (mostly weeds).

But even so, I view my life from the outside and wonder, What happened to me? I used to think the only people who refused straws and used their personal water bottle at restaurants were the fringe of society. The crazies who hugged trees and wore free range wool or fair trade cotton. Now I am that person!

Maybe I should expect this kind of change living in an outdoors loving community. Tree hugging. Granola. Anti-plastic.

I realize that I live on the banks of mainstream society. But I don’t think I’m weird or abnormal. I think the rest of society is.

When I see people leave the grocery store with a cart full of plastic bagged food I judge them a little. It’s not hard to buy a few reusable shopping bags and keep them in your car. You go grocery shopping every week and will for the rest of your life. Why not invest $10 and a half hour of time to making the world a little greener?

Or my sister who continues to receive her bills by mail even though she lives in 2016 like the rest of us. I know automatic bill pay and ebills take time to set up, but one hour of your life is a small price to pay for greater convenience and fewer dead trees. 

Everyone has their comfort level in this area. For me it’s where cost, convenience and logic intersect. I compost and recycle because it’s cheaper and easier than hauling trash down the mountain. I cook homemade meals because it’s better for my family and I can use package free ingredients. Plus it tastes better.

There’s a little hippee in everyone. How Hippee are You?

Stranger Magnet – A Valentines Love Story

Mountain Dad is a magnet. A stranger magnet.
Unknown people ask him to take their pictures, or occasionally take pictures with him. If there is a car stuck in the snow he’s the one drivers approach. Every time we are on outdoor adventures a stranger approaches Mountain Dad for something – directions? Check. Recommendations? Check. Random small talk? Yep. Once we went UTVing and the only other person in sight struck up a conversation about suspension, towing capacity and aftermarket parts.
Some of the more outrageous stranger magnet moments he’s had? Two winters ago he and Big E were having a snowball fight in our yard when a random group of Korean tourists stopped and asked to take their photo. Snowballs, flannel shirts, flushed faces, maybe it felt like an Eddie Bauer catalog moment?

Then at the Sundance Film Festival this year, no less than five different groups grabbed photos with him in a single night while hanging out down at the Resort. Maybe they thought he was famous? I’m not sure why anyone would want to take their photo with random strangers, but of if they did, Mountain Dad would be the one they would ask. If we are on a hike or at a campground people come over to chat, not with me, but with the bearded guy in a flannel shirt. Stranger magnet.

It’s not like he’s the only person around. It’s not like he exudes approachability. He’s a broad shouldered man with facial hair. He’s introverted. Between the two of us, I would be the one most open to talking to strangers. But something in the universe makes people gravitate toward him. This is the mystery of our adventures. 

This interaction has happened so often in our lives that Mountain Dad has a nickname – American Friend James. What is it about a broad shouldered man in flannel that gives people a sense that he knows what he’s talking about? Does he exude friendliness? No. 
He exudes expertise. 
It’s true, Mountain Dad DOES know a lot. He researches, plans, and has experience with outdoor activities. When we invite other families to go camping with us I make a point to say, “It’s easier if you camp for your first time with us. We know what we are doing.”

Mountain Dad is confident. His quiet confidence leaks through everything we do in the outdoors. I trust his judgement with finding camping spots, loading up gear, and knowing where we’re going.  
When we were dating, he took me on hikes and camp outs for the first time in my life. He introduced me to the fresh air feeling of enjoying the outdoors. When we first got together, I never would have expected how much the outdoors have become a part of our lives. It has enriched our time together, become our vacation choice, been our family bonding time. For our ten year anniversary we spent the week in Alaska, camping in Denali National Park, viewing glaciers fall in Kenai Fjords National Park, watching bald eagles and grizzly bears and wild salmon.
I love that. I love him. The outdoors has been a large part of our life and our love story. What about yours?