Kids Outdoors (is coming) & Backcountry Skiing (a brief intro)

Things have been quiet on the blog this week but not for lack of writing. This whole week, during my FIMBY writing time which are the first hours of the day, I have been working on a Kid's Outdoor Gear Guide, the clothing edition.

getting ready to ski

The most frequent questions I get from readers, next to soap making inquiries, are related to kids and the outdoors.

Damien and I have been fielding these questions for years and we do the best we can to answer these questions via individual e-mail, or in post comments, but I thought it was time for a dedicated post.

cresting hill on skis

Knowing I was going to be writing this I asked readers their most pressing questions about kids and outdoor gear at FIMBY Facebook and in my weekend newsletter.

backcountry skiing pin rouge

I've spent the last week pulling that all together so I can publish a comprehensive four season clothing guide for kids in the outdoors - of all ages.

It's taken me a wee bit longer than I anticipated because well, it's quite long. I used to publish small e-books, now I just write long posts.

backcountry skiing gaspesie

That post will be published Monday morning. I realize this isn't the time of year that most people publish amazing content. People are busy with holiday preparations. I know I am.

But this post will be an excellent reference post. I'm creating a banner graphic and it will be in the sidebar under Popular Posts & Pages so you can find it over the weeks and months to come (in case you miss it next week because you're doing the "Christmas thing".)

Something you don't want to miss, something that is time sensitive, is another giveaway we're doing at Toe Salad. This time for a women's extra small rain jacket. This is actually a perfect size for a child, which I explain over at Toe Salad. If you have a child in your life who needs an excellent rain jacket, head on over to enter the giveaway.

backcountry skiing with kids

As for the photos in this post, these are from the Monday morning ski that Damien, Celine and I took this week. We started out our door, skinned up the mountain, and skied down. The lift was closed but if you can walk up you're allowed to ski down when the the hill isn't open.

Damien does this often. It was a first for Celine and I and we were exhausted by it but happy also. It felt so good to be out together on a winter morning.

renee petite cascapedia valley

An introduction to backcountry skiing

For those of you unfamiliar with backcountry skiing this is how it works. You put skins on the bottom of your skis so you can "walk" up the mountain.

In order to walk up the mountain you need specialized ski equipment, specifically boots that allow your heel to move. Telemark ski equipment allows this, so does alpine touring equipment.

Pin Rouge Familial Piste

In the case of an alpine touring ski system your boot heel locks into place for the downhill and you ski down like you do with regular alpine skis.

Whereas with telemark, your heel is loose and requires a different ski technique than a locked heel alpine position. I could go on and on about telemark, I won't.

Suffice to say, I am a telemark student. This will be my third season practicing this technique and it is one of the hardest physical activities I've done.

goggle reflection

When we moved to Quebec two years ago we decided to invest in backcountry ski equipment for our family and to slowly learn the skills needed to ski in the mountains, in the "backcountry", not just designated ski runs.

Outfitting our family for this is a slow go and sometimes we hack our way through it. Laurent's skins, for example, are duct taped to his homemade split board right now. It's ghetto, but it works. Making the split board was last winter's project.

And when that doesn't work, the skins come off and the board must be carried up the trail. As was the case last week. His sister was the only one with a pack that could accommodate the board, you need extra straps etc. so she carried his board up the trail.

carrying splitboard

The split board

A split board is another way to do backcountry "skiing" or in this case "boarding". A split board is a snowboard cut in half (you can buy them ready made or do it yourself). Then you can "walk" up the mountain with skins on. And when you get to the top you pull the skins off (they are sticky on the bottom), put the board together, adjust the bindings, strap in and snowboard down.

Laurent's on a snowboard, the girls are in a modified telemark binding, and Damien and I are full telemark. Celine may consider a switch to alpine touring for next winter.

skiing up serpentine

The deal is, you get one ski "set-up" in our house. We can't afford to do cross-country, downhill, and backcountry. So we've chosen backcountry which allows us all to do all three.

removing skins top of mountain

If you're a ski fanatic like ourselves you might enjoy Ski Week at FIMBY.

I'm getting ready to wind things down here for Christmas week but first I plan to publish the Kid's Outdoor Gear Guide: Clothing Edition. So stay tuned. And don't forget about the giveaway at Toe Salad.

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Kid's Outdoor Gear Guide: Clothing Edition »

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