We all started snowboarding in the beginning as a family just to be closer together, go on trips. It was our soccer, but instead of dad yelling at me from the sideline he is there riding with me and hitting the jumps even before I am hitting them. ~Shaun White
Snowboarding has become something of our thing between me and Kyle, starting him when he was three years old. One snowy day at my parents house, I decided to strapped my snowboard on and ride it down my uncle’s field. Kyle was fascinated by the sport. S0 I placed his little feet between my binding on the board, held his hands and rode him down through the powder. Kyle just loved it! Now I wasn’t going fast, or doing anything special. We just rode the one side of the board and fell over into piles of snow when we felt like the run was done. He seriously had a blast! We both walked up and down the hill and I strapped myself in and out of my bindings countless times that day. On a side note, I was beat! My legs and arms got a workout! We rode past sunset and all the way into night. Kyle didn’t want to stop, he wouldn’t admit he was getting cold and wet, but I knew better. Since we started in my parents yard and passed over the driveway before heading down the field, sometimes I would get stuck on the driveway. Dad joined in on the unplanned fun and assisted us by giving me little pushes to get us going. That one random fun day started Kyle’s love of snowboarding. In fact, at one point Kyle looked up at me and said, “Aiya I’m a snowboarder!” With a huge proud grin spanning my face, I encouragingly said, “Yes you are buddy!”
A bit small and young to be riding, I decided to try Kyle out anyway. I figured he was low to the ground and pretty patted so what could it hurt? Kyle really enjoyed snowboarding or at least the idea of it. When he was four years old, I took him up on the slopes to officially ride his first run. He was fearless and loved it! Since I never taught a youngster to ride before, I thought it might be better to get him an instructor. That was his Christmas gift, I purchased him instructor lessons and his jacket, bibs and gloves.
His first lesson was at Hidden Valley. As soon as he reached the top of the Bunny Slope, we strapped him in and helped Kyle to his feet. Instantly, he stretched one arm out in front and one behind himself, like he was giving us a yoga pose. He turned to the instructor and said, “Let me go!” A very puzzled and shocked instructor looked at me, I shrugged and gave the nod. Kyle went down the run and even did a little jump, only maybe a inch from the ground, but never lost composure. When he eventually crashed in a pile of snow, he gave me the biggest grin from his tiny little round head. I knew he was hooked!
A year later when Kyle turned five I took him back up to the slopes. Since he was a little man, I’ve always and still do, rent his boots and board. Trying to keep up with repurchasing his gear year-over-year to coinside with his growth spurts just seemed silly. Plus, I never knew if he was going to change his mind and decide he didn’t want to be a boarding dude anymore. So far so good, he still loved snowboarding and was having a blast.
One trip to Seven Springs had me in stitches. Kyle was riding down the bottom of Fawn, and every time he would crash I helped to his feet, so to speak. Kyle’s swimming instructor, who also happened to be a ski instructor was there with us. She was along for the ride, and I’m sure for the pure humor of the day. It only takes an instant for something to happen. In this case it was one of the funniest sights ever seen on the mountain.
As Kyle rolled into the powder, I helped him up and literally helped him right out of his boot, which were incidentally strapped into the bindings, attached to the snowboard. Again, Kyle was pretty young and little to be snowboarding, which means his boots didn’t quite fit him. We had to settle for the smallest boots and board they had, but even with thick socks the boots were still too big. So needless to say, the gravity and the slick snow did their job and allowed the board to continue on its course of action, without Kyle. It was hilarious! The boots were still perfectly strapped onto the board as it ran away from us. Just then, Kyle in his bright blue winter socks and wearing his helmet that looked like a planet sitting on his tiny shoulders, were running down the slope after the escaped. It was the funniest sight! This little guy of about three feet, wearing Smurf blue socks, a noggin that was too big for his frame (his head was always large and round) and his little limbs sticking out from his sides like he was Ralphie in the Christmas Story, was working his way toward the runaway snowboard. I was dying! Not being able to assist Kyle, as the onlookers saw, I was laying in the middle of the trail laughing so hard, tears fell from my eyes. I will say it again, that was one of the funniest sights! I wasn’t the only one who found humor in the event that unfolded in front of me, so did my companions and those directly above us on the chairlift.
Eventually, someone further down the path saw the possessed snowboard and stopped it. Kyle ran to claim his board and waited for me to gain composure and ride down to him to start it all over. Kyle didn’t seemed phased by what happened. Probably because he didn’t know, that wasn’t suppose to happen. At least he wasn’t afraid of it happening again.
To this day, I still can see that story unfold right before my eyes, as if I was watching a rerun on TV. When Kyle and I were riding this past weekend, I brought that story up again. He kind of remembered it, but still loved hearing the story retold, as it has been every year since.
For the next couple of years, Kyle’s Christmas gift included a season pass to Seven Springs. He always seemed pleased with that gesture. Ever since that faithful day, with the use of my parents yard and my uncle’s field, Kyle always wanted to snowboard with me. I will admit, secretly I wanted him to enjoy snowboarding as much as I do. I couldn’t be happier! He’s the coolest!