I am pleased to welcome Katie to the blog today. After emailing me a few months back and mentioning she lives in a cabin in the mountains with her husband and young daughter, I knew she would have some good stories! I was thrilled when she finally agreed to share one with us all. As always, please feel free to leave her some love in the comments!
It was a beautiful day for a ski tour, at least at first. We typically like to get an early start, but after figuring out what gear we needed and how to fit it all into the kid carrier (we attached a separate bag), making breakfast and packing lunch, feeding and changing S again, getting the skis ready, and putting her pacifier on belay, we finally headed out at the crack of 11:30. We were familiar with dressing her in the cold: long sleeved Capilene onsie with pants, baby leg warmers to keep her legs warm while changing her outdoors, knitted socks, booties, wool mittens, a thick fleece one piece suit with handwarmers in the hands and feet, a little hat with a felted wool earflap hat over top, sunglasses to protect her eyes and a bit of sunscreen on her exposed face, all under a toasty down outfit. We planned to be outside for up to 5-6 hours and wanted to be prepared for anything. We’d done plenty of cross country skiing and snowshoeing with S on our backs or in her ski trailer, and a little skinning uphill before our local resort opens in the morning. We like to take her on an outside adventure at least 5 days a week. But this was the first backcountry ski tour that I skinned up and skied down with S. I wanted to carry her so I knew I could do it, even though my husband usually carries the heavier backpack. Note: we are both experienced skiers and have excellent backcountry travel skills. We completely avoid avalanche terrain while traveling with S.
As we were putting our boots on, S actually fell asleep in her carrier, but she woke up and looked around as soon as I lifted her up. We started skinning up the mountain. It was flurrying and the sun was poking out of the beautiful, puffy clouds. My husband checked on her every so often to make sure she was warm and alive. We attached her little “ducky” blanket as a loose balaclava so she could safely breathe warm air and keep her face protected. She smiled. She was good to go. About 30 minutes into the skin up, my stomach started to growl. “Didn’t I just eat a good breakfast?” I thought. I looked at my watch, yes, I did just eat, but it was 4 hours ago at this point. So I grabbed a sports gel and continued on. Thirty minutes later, S let me know it was time for her to eat, even though it seemed as though I just fed her too. We decided to stop so I could nurse her. We packed down a spot next to the trail; got her out of her carrier and she ate. My husband ate his lunch and got the diaper changing station ready. It started snowing a little. After S finished eating, I passed her to my husband so I could eat while he changed her. He laid her on his backpack under a low hanging branch and hung his coat on the branch to protect her.
Then, things went downhill very quickly. The clouds came in and wind picked up. It started snowing harder and was blowing at us sideways. She was bare bottomed and now screaming. We use and love cloth diapers, even on the trail, but they can be a bit cumbersome to use, especially in a snow storm. We were getting colder by the second and there was now an inch of fresh snow on our skis. Then, our dog came over and started chewing on the branch that held the coat that was protecting S from the wind and snow. Snow flew all over her. Great. By now, we were all cold and cranky and we decided to pull the plug on the outing. We quickly finished changing her, packed her and everything back up to head home. We got so chilled in that 20 minutes that we decided to continue uphill for 5-10 more minutes just to warm up before heading down. Within 2 minutes, S was fast asleep. Within 5 minutes, the snow stopped. Within 10 minutes, my fingers thawed out, the sun was back out, and we had to take layers off. We were all happy again. So, we continued on. We realized that we stopped during the only 20-minute snow squall of the day, which almost cut our day short. Almost.