We’ve been living mountain lives for the past 15+ years whether that be in the US Rockies, the Swedish wilderness, or the Alpine valleys of Austria. Since we both met each other (working for an outdoor brand) we have made it a simple priority in our shared life to be living in the mountains. It’s non negotiable so to say! Why? It nourishes our souls, keeps us physically fit and mentally relaxed, and ultimately it grounds us in a sense of reality.
So, when we found out (through a sheer miracle of medical science!) that we would become parents we never even considered that we would deprioritize mountain living. In fact quite the opposite, we were determined to give this new little person the same mountain life that we have come to cherish so much.
However, we also weren’t naïve enough to believe it wouldn’t be a challenge. Up until this point we have busily fitted climbing, hiking, mountaineering, biking, ski-touring, and trail running into the seasonal changes of the year and tried to balance that with having a job in our day-to-day lives. So adding another dimension to the balance struggle was always going to be something to be worked at and managed.
Today we are 18 months into the life of our wonderful little daughter Elva and are living rurally in a small hamlet in the French Alps surrounded by majestic mountain valleys and an endless playground. And we still ski, run, climb etc. and spend all our family life in the mountains.
The Mountain Buggy Terrain (and a bunch of its accessories) which we’ve had now for the past 6 months has hugely contributed to enabling us to maintain, and indeed enhance, this mountain life and this pretty cool journey we’re on.
Since Elva was around 6 months old we started going for hikes with her in a baby-carrier backpack. It’s a good option as it gives you the freedom to go on a variety of terrain but little ones like Elva also need a lot of sleep as well and she often nods off after a while. She needs her sleep every day (as anyone with a little one knows!) and the backpack is not the optimal place for her to be having her quality sleep. Also, even though she is wrapped up in super warm little jackets, pants, gloves, and hats she is still more ‘exposed’ in a backpack. Hence our gravitation towards a Terrain Buggy as we were looking for something that Elva could always have the option to sleep when she wanted while the adventure continued for us two. A solution where everyone is happy!
When we first got the Terrain buggy the season was changing from Summer to Autumn. Leaves were changing color, the days were getting shorter, and the air cooler and crisper. Perfect for long hikes in the mountains.
Around where we live we have every type of track imaginable: rocky single track, muddy double tracks, steep farm ‘roads’, forest dirt roads, and rocky steep switchback cart tracks from days gone by. It’s perfect terrain for trail running and hiking. And, our Mountain Buggy Terrain can handle way more of it than we initially ever imagined. Since getting the Terrain buggy we have found that our options, when you factor in flexibility, are way less limited than before. And as we’ve discovered, there are tons of options open to us on where we can go.
The autumn found us doing everything from mellow dirt road quick escapes near the house to longer hikes over multiple track surfaces and widths including the first early snows of winter. We sometimes joke that we have invented a new sport called ‘extreme baby buggying’! At some of the places we get to we’re often greeted by locals with what is first a look of surprise and then quickly followed by a, “bravo”!
And as the colder weather approached we always had the Mountain Buggy sleeping bag attached to the Terrain as it is perfect whether Elva is awake and taking it all in our having a nap. Either way she is toasty warm and happy. And if we get home, or to a café, we can leave her outside with the confidence that she’ll get a good sleep and stay warm.
Likewise the rain cover always comes with us on every hike no matter what the weather as it’s always there when needed as an option to increase protection from the wind, cold, or rain. The cover has also enabled us on many occasions to get out for a walk together down the road on long wet and windy days when you normally would not have been thinking about taking your 1 year old out for a stroll!
As autumn begins to turn into winter every year around late October it has always been one of our most favorite things to do to go for a long hike up into the mountains to ‘touch’ the first new snows and feel the thrill of the approaching winter. And this year was thankfully no exception as we were able to put Elva in the Terrain buggy for the long approaches on dirt roads and tracks until we got up to the snow covered rocky single-track where we left the buggy and transferred her to a baby carrier backpack for the upper sections and the final picnic spot at a now closed refuge. What a joy to share that special time of year with Elva knowing that we only had to make it back to the buggy in time for her nap and we could hike out the rest as she slept. All content with a good day out.
As early winter approached and the snowline came further down the valley to cover a lot of our favorite dirt road hiking routes we were able to continue using the Terrain buggy to get out and enjoy a nice crisp fresh winter day. Often starting out on asphalt, then dirt, and eventually ending up on snow we regularly left with enough snacks, water, and diapers etc. packed away in the carrier underneath the buggy with the confidence that we could be out for a few hours and enjoy the day together.
The large robust inflated wheels get through snow a lot easier than I thought initially possible and whereas it’s obviously a bit more work than a clear road it’s surprisingly not that hard to maneuver.
On steeper tracks and roads it really helps that the handlebar is adjustable as its super nice to move up and down depending on the steepness of the hill (also pretty useful considering the height difference between myself and Katelijne!).
And on top of hiking and getting out in the mountains we also found the Terrain buggy really convenient for the more mundane tasks of grocery shopping and everything else necessary to modern living. Whether it’s going to the local market to buy our vegetables etc. or popping down to the bakers the carrier beneath the buggy is pretty handy for carrying stuff home or back to the car. In fact I can’t remember what we did before!
We also found the Terrain buggy super easy when flying back to our respective homes of origin for Christmas family visits and dealing with busy airports and all that comes with that. And obviously perfect for long walks on the beaches by the ocean, something we miss living in the mountains!
Finally as real winter set in the ski season fully kicked off we found the Terrain to be an absolutely critical piece of equipment in accommodating our ‘yoyo’ skiing. This is where we all go to the ski area together and one of us goes skiing while the other looks after Elva in the buggy going for walks through slushy car parks, groomed walking tracks, and the lower flat section of the piste before swapping over so the other can ski. Or doing a few runs on the baby slopes with Elva in the baby carrier backpack for a while before she falls asleep and we put her into her toasty sleeping bag in the buggy.
All in all, the Terrain is hugely contributing to us maintaining our mountain life and enabling us to share our favourite things with our little girl. And now we’re looking forward to the spring and the summer and new mountains adventures. More on that soon….