First Tracks With Deuter Junior Kids Backpack

It’s a La Nina year, which in the Pacific Northwest can mean below-normal temperatures and generous — OK, epic — precipitation. Come early January though, we were mourning the bone dry, rock ski conditions in the Cascades.

And that put a kink in our plans.

Our son, Owen, is a sturdy, active toddler. The thought of spending a six-month stretch locked up with him indoors seemed daunting for Mark and me. So this fall we geared out the kid with plans to let him loose outside all winter. We inherited hand-me-down skis and boots from a friend and assembled a full accouterment of attire.

With so much to keep track of — gloves, socks, helmet, goggles — Owen’s orange Deuter Junior kids backpack quickly became an indispensable piece of equipment. The wide mouth of the main compartment swallows everything and snapping the top flap keeps it snugly contained. The compartments on the outside of the pack are also perfect for storing snacks (raisins and cheese sticks, his favorites.)

We were all set. Now we just needed snow.

Mother Nature obliged. In mid-January, a powerful storm socked in Mount Bachelor and blasted it with record snowfall, prompting the ski area to announce a weather-related closure for only the second time in more than 20 years. When the near whiteout conditions finally let up, we joined the stampede of snow-starved Central Oregonians headed up to the mountain.

f3Acting on the sage advice of our friends with older children, we bound the tips of Owen’s Rossignols with a piece of soft plastic tubing and some screws. Then we strapped a harness on the little guy. Off we went!

The ride up the Carousel lift was a breeze. Owen gawked at the snowy landscape and eyed with interest the other little people barreling down the hill, their parents or instructors trying — sometimes frantically — to stay close behind. But when it came his turn to ski down, he needed a little cajoling.

After we closed the deal (a cup of hot cocoa at the lodge après ski), Owen girded himself for what lie ahead. Like any reasonable person who is strapping big sticks to their feet and flying down the face of a mountain for the first time, he was scared. I gave him a gentle nudge and, together, he and his daddy began their descent.

Our ski down happened in fits and starts. Owen leaned forward and picked up steam, then lost his footing, tipped over and lay splayed out until we plucked him from the grips of the snow. (Repeat five times.)

f4As I watched it all unfold, I couldn’t help but feel proud of my little boy. So much of my experience as a parent is a blur of sleepless nights, doctor appointments, shuffling back and forth between daycare. But these firsts — first word, first step, first ski — are poignant moments in my bearing witness to his budding life.

Clearly tired and frustrated by the end of his first run, Owen was ready to call it a day. And so were we. After all, we didn’t want to the spoil the sport for him before he’s even big enough to appreciate it.

As we drove down the windy road into town, I felt pretty smug. We made it out of the house without leaving behind a glove or boot. We got out on our skis. We left behind a trail of toddler shrapnel in the lodge dining area. We spent time together as a family.

And after all of that, Owen took a nap.

–Lisa Goodman (Family Ambassador).

Organize Kiddo's gear today!

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