The Fudge Factor

Making good on a promise meant a very ridiculous day for this mom.

Fudgey the bear goes skiing, because a deal's a deal, no matter how absurd.

Fudgie the bear goes skiing, because a deal’s a deal, no matter how absurd. Photo: Jeff Olsson

There’s a very good reason I was skiing a week ago at Copper with an enormous stuffed bear on my back. Over the summer, when it was time to sign our kids up for ski racing programs through Team Summit, my daughter, Anya, was proving to be somewhat of a reluctant customer. While I don’t want to be one of those parents who push their kids into competitive sports, her participation in ski racing would really smooth out the overall family schedule. Not to mention, my husband and I would have every Saturday to ride together.

Inside the lodge, Fudgie tries on a helmet and goggles.

Inside the lodge, Fudgie tries on a helmet and goggles. Photo: Helen Olsson

The Deal

So, it’s possible that in a weak moment I may have mentioned that I would ski with Fudgie the Bear if my daughter were to buck up and go to training for 8 weeks. It seemed a pretty safe bet to dangle that fuzzy carrot. Surely she would forget about it by February.

When I was a kid, my mom told me she’d give me five bucks if I kept playing the violin when I wanted to quit. I’m pretty confident I’ve never seen a dime of that particular bribe.

Did Anya forget about the deal? Not a chance. In fact, she badgered me to ski with the bear at Aspen the week before, but I had to draw the line somewhere. Skiing with a giant bear is bad enough at Copper, but somehow, it just didn’t seem to jibe with the Aspen gestalt.

My husband never once volunteered to carry the bear.

My husband never once volunteered to carry the bear. Photo: Helen Olsson


A girl and her bear.

A girl and her bear.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), I still had our Kelty baby backpack, which the bear barely fit into. Anya put an old Team Summit jacket on Fudgie and I hoisted her over my shoulder. This is a pretty well-loved honey colored bear and as a result, her neck is a little wonky. On the chairlift that meant Fudgie sat slouched over like a dozing child. Almost as heavy, too.

I mentioned to Anya that Fudgie wasn’t  getting much out of the ski experience. She was sleeping through it. Anya looked at me with an exasperated teen-aged worthy eye-roll: “Well, duh, mom…she’s hibernating.”  Silly me.

You might not be surprised to learn that people were laughing at me from the lift. I mean full-on belly-holding guffaws. I looked ridiculous. We skied moguls, steeps, and even took a turn through Copper’s 17 Glade. Jeff had the GoPro (bear cam!), so we have video to prove it. Does a bear ski in the woods?  (Rhetorical.)

Lessons Learned (Maybe)

There is a lesson to be learned here. Parents are so often accused of making idle threats. “If you don’t stop fighting, I’m pulling the car over this instant and you’re getting out!!! I mean it!!!” Yeah, right. As if you’d leave your five-year-old on the shoulder of the Interstate.

The more dangerous proclamation a parent can make, I am here to tell you, is the idle promise.

Fudgie, truth be told, was abandoned for a few runs in a tree island. Anya was no amused.

Fudgie, truth be told, was abandoned for a few runs in a tree island. Anya was no amused.

But a promise is a promise, so I skied with Fudgie. Anya held up her end of the bargain, getting up every Saturday early for ski racing, sometimes in subzero temps. And on this day, with the bear’s gigantic fuzzy head hitting me in the back of the helmet all day, Anya skied hard with a grin on her face.

We so often say we’d do anything for our kids. I’ve said I love them so much I’d take a bullet for them. After Anya called me on the Fudgie promise, I’m rethinking that kind of statement.

If you think I made this all up: here’s video proof.

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  1. Best, funnest, and funniest damn mom in the world—-you.

    • Helen Olsson says:

      Awww, thanks. Some day the kids may think so, too. Now they think I’m the worst, meanest in the world! But it’s true that funny stuff seems to happen with this whole motherhood thing, that’s for sure.


  1. […] friendly fellow—who happened to be wearing a bear backpack. We hit it off immediately, given my last blog post was on skiing with a stuffed bear on my back. He told me that both his daughters learned to ski and […]

  2. […] And in case you’re intrigued by that ridiculous bear photo, see my blog post, The Fudge Factor. […]

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