Ski season may be over, and I’m going to soon be using the Chariot to bike. But this fabulous piece of equipment remains one of my favorite investments ever. I wrote this review years ago, why Henry, now 4, was an infant. I still stand by everything I said.
Day 1: Head down and breathing hard, I glide uphill as my Nordic skis grip the snow underfoot. I lean forward onto my poles keeping my knees slightly bent and my stance aggressive. I’m in the zone, rhythmically working my way forward, my heart beating fast. This is the best workout I’m going to get this week, and I’m not alone.
Henry, my 10-month-old baby is hanging off of my hips. Actually, he’s enthroned in the Chariot, a modern capsule with a padded seat and harness that is sitting atop of two adorable Rossignal skis. I’m attached to the Chariot by two long poles and a harness that snaps around my waist. Like a dog pulling a dogsled, I’m charging ahead, lugging my cargo behind me.
The temperature is 20 degrees and dropping, snowflakes flutter from the sky. Henry is encased in a down sleep sack and a Patagonia bunting. The Chariot’s cover is down. He’s warm.
I can barely feel the extra weight. The Chariot skis glide with ease, and the carrier’s sophisticated shock absorbers provide a comfortable ride. But Henry’s not happy. Twenty minutes into our trip, he’s complaining. Twenty-five minutes in and he’s wailing. A quick check shows he is too warm, so I open the bag, unzip the bunting and create more ventilation. He’s still unhappy so we head back to the lodge, slightly shaken.
Day 2: I love the ski attachment. A type-A perfectionist, I love the simplicity and organization of the system. The skis snap into place with ease. The harness and poles are a cinch to attach. I’m as comfortable with this gear as I am changing a diaper.
Now I just have to convince Henry it’s fun.
Turns out my job is easy today. Five minutes into the ski (this time he’s wearing fewer layers and I leave the down bag unzipped), he’s singing. When he falls silent, I stop and turn to check him out (all possible without having to unharness myself). From my vantage point I can see he’s snoozing. I ski an hour and a half.
Day 3: Third time’s a charm, right? Hell yeah! I’ve got the Chariot assembly down to a science, and within five minutes of pulling into the parking lot, the rig’s ready to go. It’s a warm 30 degrees, so I don’t even bother with the bunting suit. Instead Henry gets a fleece jacket and the down sleeping bag.
We’re off. Other skiers offer compliments and surprise. One asks if it’s like pulling a log. No, I reply. It’s much easier. The trailer seems to transport itself. It’s durable, easy to pilot, and comfortable.
Once I figured out the system, the hardest thing about the Chariot was figuring out the right temperature control for Henry.
Bottom Line: I have now used the Chariot for four winters—for both Henry and his little brother Silas. I also use it all summer as a bike trailer for the boys and also as a stroller. It is the best baby gear I own. The actual pod is protected and secure, the skis powered through a variety of different temperature snow, and I can always keep tabs on the boys when they’re in it.
Since having kids, my goal has been to spend a lot of time outside doing the things I loved before kids. With the Chariot and its various attachments, I get to do that. I also get a fantastic workout and give the boys fresh air. Sure, there are occasional tears, but the majority of the time passed without fussing. For winter, whether you’re an experienced Nordic skier or a first timer, I highly recommend this system. And in the summer, it can’t be beat.