I totally forget about snowboarding in the summertime. ~Shaun White
On Saturday, I took Kyle snowboarding at Seven Springs. It was sincerely a perfect day. The sun came out to expose a brilliant blue sky and white fluffy clouds, the temperature remained in the twenties, the windchill was low and it wasn’t too crowded. Saturday was the first time we were able to get out this season. Unfortunately, last year I didn’t get my board out, not even once, due to a lack of a real winter. But this season I decided to take advantage of the winter conditions early.
Once the snow falls, Kyle always reminds me about snowboarding, that and sled riding. Two of his favorite winter pastimes. This year, I saw in Kyle’s expression and heard in his voice, the sounds of disappointment and accusation from skipping a snowboarding season. He reminded me all summer that we didn’t go out once and he continued to reiterate the same over Christmas. If I could help it, history was not going to repeat itself and Saturday was a testament to that.
We had a great day! After we ate lunch we stopped into the Foggy Goggle to sit by the fireplace. I know it’s a bar, but that fireplace is always blazing and no one is ever hanging around it because they’re at the bar. That’s my secret location to sit and relax and warm up before heading back out. I have been taking Kyle there when he started snowboarding at four years old. In fact, while we sat on the bench in front of the fire waiting for our cloths to warm up a bit, Kyle nearly fell asleep. He never does that, so I know he must have already had a good workout during our morning runs. I leaned over to Kyle and commented “You know buddy, you’ve fallen asleep in here many times before. When you were really little, I would lay my coat on the floor, in front of the fireplace and you would take a nap until our cloths were dry. Then we would head back onto the slopes.” Kyle smiled at me and said, “I did? How big was I?” He is too funny! I showed him about how much space on the floor he consumed and where I placed him safely out of the way. Everyone would walk past this cute little blond haired boy, peacefully sleeping and smile. He really was way too cute!
Funny story. The Foggy Goggle had a larger than life statue of the Captain Morgan pirate in the one entrances. The first time I had Kyle in there to sit by the fire, we had to pass this monster statue that no doubt caught his eye. All of a sudden Kyle tugs on my arm and says “Look Aiya, Captain Jack Sparrow!” What do you say to that? After I was done laughing, I said, “Ya buddy, looks like him doesn’t it?” Kyle was so happy about recognizing what he thought was the Pirates of the Caribbean character, I didn’t said a word.
Though, he did bring it up to my parents and I had to pull mom aside and explain what he was talking about. Mom just rolled her eyes and asked if he was allowed in there. It’s not like I plant him at the bar and order him shots. We just take advantage of the emptiness surrounding grand old fireplace and the warm heat radiating from it.
When I hit the slopes, I like to go early. One, because I like getting a head start on the day and it’s usually not too crowded, making it easier with Kyle. I’m not a big fan of crowds, particularly the swarms of them who all seem to have just started skiing and are zipping past my little guy with uncontrollable movements. Also, let’s face it, I’m not the most patient with waiting in line to ride the chair lift either. Hence why I like to get on the slopes early. If they would allow riders on the run at 7:00 am, I would be there waiting to partake.
Once we got past the fitting of the snowboarding boots, we were golden. Yes, let’s discuss the boots. Kyle has this thing about his cloths, particularly his shoes, touching his skin. He doesn’t like anything to be fitted, I’m not talking tight, I’m talking fitted perfectly to his body. Nope, not for Kyle. If his shoes and cloths are not hanging off of him, he thinks they are too tight and throws a big fit. Did I mention snowboarding boots are suppose to fit? They need to be snug, not tight, but not loose. They need to be able to respond to the rider when he/she turns to carve. And to do that, the boots need to be fitted, not hanging off his feet. I will admit it does take a bit to get used to wearing snowboarding boots, especially early in the season, until you’re body is warmed up and loose. Listening to Kyle complain about the boots most of the day, drove me crazy, to be honest. But he wasn’t too bad I guess, nothing I didn’t expect.
My goal of the day, besides improving Kyle’s riding, was for him to become independent on the mountain. Not that I was planning on abandoning him, never ever! I’m talking about managing his own board. Kyle never really buckled his own bindings before and I always helped him up whenever he fell. I don’t generally baby Kyle, but he started snowboarding so young, I really had to assist him and then it became a habit for both of us. A habit I wanted to stop this year, after all he is eleven. I tried to be as hands off as I possibly could, forcing him to do for himself. Did I also mention the kid has NO flexibility?
By the time we rounded out the day, Kyle was gaining a little bit of flexibility and doing pretty good with pulling himself up and bending over to strap on his own bindings. Along the way, Kyle did receive some assistance from kind on lookers. Much like myself when I first started snowboarding. I guess we both either have that look of being purely pathetic or being too cute to pass up. I vote for the later, but I have a feeling reality lies in the first.
Kyle was even managing to get on the chair lift by himself, of course the few extra inches he’s grown over the years helped in that department.
Our runs on Saturday was a testament that Kyle didn’t miss a beat from two winter’s ago. He is not the strongest rider, or the most daring but he can hold his own. He just needs practice. There were a few times when someone was going to run into Kyle and he reacted pretty quickly to avoid a collision. I was quite impressed, thinking I was going to have to peel him off of the run! But nope he maintained control when the other party didn’t. Good job buddy!
Kyle is also a considerate rider, always looking over his shoulder and beside him for others that are sharing the mountain. He never pushes or cuts people off either. He will wait patiently for others to get out of his way and he never wants to hurt anyone. That’s my Kyle, still wearing his big heart on the slopes.
Throughout the day, we couldn’t help but getting silly. It wouldn’t be a typical day for us if we didn’t. Every time I put my goggles on top of my head, which is wear my raccoon hat was resting, Kyle would start laughing. He said it looked like the raccoon was wearing the goggles. And it did!
Speaking of raccoon hat. There was someone there wearing a HUGE raccoon skin cap, complete with a tail. It was ridiculous! It was so big and obnoxious on the person’s head that it looked like an actual raccoon was hanging on for dear life. Every time we saw it, we busted out laughing! You couldn’t miss it. I thought we were on Wild Kingdom.
Hopefully this year brings us more of those days. I’m not necessarily talking about the conditions, but the time spent together. We had a blast and I really cherish my one-on-one time with Kyle.