Like a lot of parents, I start dreaming about idyllic summer family trips during the fall. A couple years ago, the planning urge struck while on our way on home from a family weekend of climbing in Idaho. I turned to my husband Rob, who was driving, and said, “Let’s take the kids to the Arctic.”  

I felt his eyes leave the road and land on me, “Are you out of your mind?”  

I didn’t think so. Rob and I had met on a winter ski expedition to Siberia in 1999 and for the next eight years—before having children—we skied together on the highest mountains of many continents, as well as the Tetons, which are almost literally in our backyard in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Adventure is something we both embrace. But Rob clearly thought that I was taking it too far.

I gave in easily. Our then four- and five-year-old daughters sitting in five-point harnesses in the back seat were probably a little too young for what would have been a radical departure from the beach vacations, ski trips, and short camping outings that had thus far defined our family adventures. “OK, next year then,” I said with sigh. Instead, we settled on a two-week road trip to Yosemite with a rented travel trailer. I went to the Artic without them soon after, taking my second ski expedition in the Brooks Range, a place I’d fallen in love with back in 2010. The 2014 trip was every bit as rewarding as my first, fueling my desire to devise a kid-friendly version that wouldn’t involve hauling gear on sleds.