Living in Saskatchewan means we experience many months of winter and some people deal with that by (wastefully) hiding out indoors for the entire season. When it comes to winter in Saskatchewan we certainly take pride in the fact that we embrace winter and don't let it slow us down.
Just over two years ago Cambri and I had our daughter. Having an active lifestyle we immediately began looking for a child carrier that could keep up with us. After talking to some friends and a little internet-ing we decided on the Thule Chariot Cougar 1.
During the summer we put our Chariot through it's paces, but we had yet to utilize it much in the winter. Cambri and I had heard about the cross country skiing kit and looked it up anticipating to suffer from some sticker shock. Buying into the Chariot family does have a downside, cost, and the cross country ski kit didn't stray from that theme retailing for $349.95. We decided to use social media to help us find a used kit and found success within just 48 hours at a much lower price.
What does the ski kit include?
The ski kit comes with two skis, adjustable length rods ("tugs" if we may borrow a term from the horse cart world), and a waist belt that includes a water bottle holder.
Setting it up is quite simple. The skis use the same single button release mechanism to clip into the hubs the wheels use. This means that your child will still benefit from the Chariot's built in suspension system. The "tug" poles slide into the same slots the Chariot jogging wheel uses and are held in place with a double wire snap pin which is easy enough to lock and unlock while wearing xc ski gloves. The "tugs" are adjustable for your height and are connected to the wide waist belt. The waist belt is easy to adjust and comfortable. Make sure you tighten it up.
We have found it takes about five minutes to setup and because of this we recommend leaving your two year old in the vehicle until you are ready to put them into the Chariot.
Dressing your two year old.
We will regularly ski in temperatures down to -15C with no trouble. Layers are key and we dress her in breathable layers. Nothing fancy here. Then she wears her two piece snowsuit purchased at Costco, a toque, her snowsuits hood, Kombi mittens, and her everyday winter boots. We also fold up a smaller blanket and put it on her lap. On the -15C days we zip up the window vents and she is perfectly fine.
Skiing while pulling the Chariot is easier than we had anticipated. With freshly waxed skis the whole unit glides smoothly on groomed surfaces. You will notice the weight and it will make you stronger. We have calculated that the Chariot with the ski attachment, our daughter and her clothes currently weight in at approximately 72 pounds (32.6kg). That sort of weight sure makes you work going up hills but does reward you with some extra momentum heading down.
The stance of the skis are wider than a groomed classic ski track which prevents any damage to the ski tracks. In fact the footprint left by the loaded Chariot is barely noticeable on the trail.
Our second hand Chariot ski kit has been worth the investment. It's rugged, well built, simple and reliable. Our daughter is excited about going skiing and we feel she is warm and safe in the Chariot. The Chariot's built in storage is perfect for hauling extra clothes, snacks and fluids to use at any rest shelters along the trails.
We feel the kit will certainly recoup the cost in the amount of use it will see and we are excited to try it out in the summer while hiking. It may be a nice alternative to pushing the Chariot along the trails.