’Tis the Ski-son

Winter is here! Fernie-ites and visitors alike are eager to get outside and shred. On top of hitting the slopes, did you know that Fernie also has five unique xc skiing areas with over 50 km of trails to explore? It’s a great activity for the whole family especially as it is so accessible for new moms and soon-to-be moms.

Local shredder and new mom, Melissa Traub, began xc skiing at six months pregnant. Xc skiing was a perfect fit for Mel who did not want to miss out on winter fun during her maternity. “I love being outside and absolutely love that we have this activity that we can do outdoors in the winter together. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful place and I want Ember to grow up actively appreciating the environment that surrounds her.”

Although it takes a little bit more preparation and equipment, the joys of taking your little ones out on the trails to immerse them in Fernie’s winter culture is well worth it. The biggest difficulty, Traub revealed, is ensuring that the baby is dressed appropriately, as a new mom, “you constantly question what you've put them in – are they warm enough, are they too warm?” She uses a Chariot Cougar and ski attachment which provides a cozy cocoon for her daughter, Ember. The Chariot is also great as you can add blankets and remove layers as needed. The extra weight is also a challenge at first, as you learn to find balance with baby in tow. In the end, however, Mel found the extra weight to be a perk, as it added: “to the challenge of the workout and the feeling of accomplishment.” Another benefit is that xc skiing is one winter activity that Mel can enjoy with her daughter and her husband at the same time, “as opposed to one of us doing something while the other watches the baby and then switching.” After a long xc ski, infants are often also ready for an afternoon nap, which moms and dads don’t mind either!

Her advice to new moms looking to begin the sport is to persevere. To especially be kind and patient with yourself. “As with everything when it comes to being a new mom, it's a learning curve.” Go with friends and don’t be surprised if you take a few tumbles, especially on the downhill. The trick is to have a laugh, brush the snow off and keep going. Setting a good example of what it takes to learn a new skill for your child.

Mel’s favourite place to take her daughter is Montane. “I love the work out of the uphill and the cabin is a great spot for warming up, diaper changes, and breastfeeding.” She also shared that it’s a great sport because of the social aspect. It’s fun to hit the trails with friends and catch up while enjoying some exercise. Taking baby solo is also a unique way to spend some quality time together outside of the house. Traub likes to explore more challenging terrain and will take Ember in her “backpack-style carrier when we're going somewhere that the Chariot won't be very practical.” With a little ingenuity, enjoying the outdoors as a family is not only possible but a great workout and a good time.

This winter, at one and a half, Ember is ready to begin learning to ski herself, and no doubt these past positive experiences will reinforce her love of winter. If she’s anything like her mama, she’ll be shredding in no time!

Are you also a Fernie Mountain Mama? Please feel free to share your outdoor adventures, family stories and photos by writing to ferniemountainmamas@gmail.com, or hashtag #ferniemountainmamas to encourage more parents to take their little ones outdoors and share in all the fun that Fernie has to offer.

Happy cross country skiing!