Baby on Board

Taking to Mount Hood’s ski trails with a Cougar in tow.

December 7, 2009

Alright, so my co-workers have been giving me flak for not posting about my adventures last weekend with my son, Ben, a bit sooner. Seems everyone was fascinated by the fact that my wife Elizabeth and I had taken our little guy out on a snowshoeing trail. How did I accomplish such a thing with a seven-month-old they asked?

Our little outing came courtesy of the Chariot Cougar. The Cougar, you see, is a tricked out jogging stroller, one that can be outfitted with a number of attachments. You can rig it up to be towed by a bike, for instance. But the add-on that we had most wanted to try was the cross country ski set up. And come Thanksgiving, we finally had the chance for a winter test drive.

We popped off the Cougar’s skinny rubber wheels and slid in their place a pair of compatible skis. Next we plugged into the Cougar’s chassis, two long, adjustable stainless steel poles which connect to a waist harness. Boom: now we essentially had a dogsled for Ben, with Mom and Dad taking turns as the huskies that would pull it.

Unfortunately, we also had to drop nearly $300 at REI to purchase said upgrades. (Hello, dividend!) But really, how can you put a price on quality time with the family? At least that’s what we told ourselves as we closed our eyes and handed over our bank card to the cashier.

When we hit the Crosstown Trail in Government Camp, people gawked at us like we were towing a Mars Rover behind us—if they had time to catch a glimpse of us at all. This thing burned through the snow the way a hot iron might melt into shag carpet.

Check out the video

We had only intended to do a quick mile-long loop around Enid Lake. But we found maneuvering with the Cougar so easy that we banged out a near three-mile jaunt in just under an hour.

Our one hang-up came on a narrow and gently sloping portion of the trail. Here I noticed that the Cougar tended to lean downhill a little. And as Elizabeth pulled Ben ahead, I watched as the right ski lifted up into the air and the Cougar fell on its left side with all the commotion of a feather crash landing on a waterbed.

But as a rookie dad, the sight caused my heart to leap into my throat. I quickly slid alongside the carriage, righted the little vessel, and took a peek inside.

There in his padded seat, encased in fleece and secured by an overhead strap was Ben. His big, round blue eyes topped by a candy-apple red wool hat were squinting into the shape of almonds as he beamed a wide, toothless grin followed by a heart-melting giggle.

At which point I knew—the little Cougar had been worth every penny.

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