Bringing Up Dad: Skiing in Norway with the Freerider Pro 30
My father just got back from skiing 2000 feet of untracked powder, summit to sea, above the Arctic Circle with his private ski mountaineering guide (nbd). He is sipping tea and reading up on Vikings while his skins and boots dry in his Norsk fishing cabin. His action suit of the latest-and-greatest in outdoor tech is hanging by the fire including a Deuter Freerider Pro 30. His skis of enviable width, having completed the day’s duties, rest in the mudroom. Satisfied with both his own performance this powder day and the work of his guide, he looks over at her and says, “Well, hun, what should I make for dinner?”
“Youʼre the dad.” I reply.
While other fathers were making sure that their high school children attended SAT prep classes and soccer camp, mine planted Outside magazine on my bedside table and resupplied me on through-hikes as a teenager. Dad didnʼt pull me an internship at Goldman Sachs in college but he did spend weeks glued to University of Washington weather models to sat-phone-sooth me through my inaugural Denali weather epic. He was thrilled when I secured my first dishwashing job in Crested Butte, ecstatic when I moved into my car for my maiden season of rock climbing and beamed when I announce that I had, no, not secured health insurance, but indeed had found a ski sponsor! Some dads hope that their children will be financially stable enough to shepherd them comfortably through old age. Mine just wanted a family mountain guide.
Now Dad can reap the benefits of his investment. Turning the Michael/Hayden Kennedy relationship on its head, I have mentored my dad into the dream partner (soft catches and second tracks). He is a wonder to short rope and crushes alpine 5.4s in good patriarch style (always producing chocolate at the summit). He can clean a stopper like you wouldn’t believe and never insists on rappelling when I would prefer to lower him (though he also simul-raps like a boss). And can that guy ever ski! He has moved through the Blues of Smugglerʼs Notch to the Extremes of Crested Butte and crushed Silverton Mountain last year. And yes, I’ve broken every pro deal and athlete contract to kit out this guy in the highest of fashion and function. How better to repay him for sitting through endless softball games, answering my blubbering-midnight-post-breakup calls and making my lunch?
Sliding a plate of curry my way, he turns to his ancient parental task of assembling tomorrow’s sandwiches for the next day’s adventures. I try to head him off, offering that we’ve skied five days in a row at this point and might we want spend the day fishing rather than skinning? Honestly, the guy has run me into the ground with his plodding pace, which so perfectly matches the rate at which I can break trail. Never breaking his sandwich-assembly stride, he gives me a glance that I know so well. It is one part lets-do-whatever-you-want- because-I-am-the-chillest-dad-ever and one part dammit-I-made-you.
“You’re the guide.” He replies. We’re skiing.
–Sheldon Kerr (Outdoor Ambassador)