Snowboarding – the Beginning…

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

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Me, Casey & Kyle taking a break from snowboarding. The Foggy Goggle fireplace is the best! 7 Springs 2009

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!”

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Kyle throws me a smile while riding the chairlift at Snowshoe WV… snowboarding fun! 2010

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!

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Kyle ready to get on the chairlift at 7 Springs 2009

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!

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Reminiscing,Snowboarding and have No Comments

Starting With a Snowboarding Bang!

I totally forget about snowboarding in the summertime.  ~Shaun White

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Me & Kyle snowboarding… our 1st run of the season 7 Springs 1/5/13

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.

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Me, Casey & Kyle taking a break from snowboarding. The Foggy Goggle fireplace is the best! 7 Springs 2009

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!

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Me & Kyle ready to board the chairlift at 7 Springs 1/5/13

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.

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Kyle took a picture of my raccoon hat wearing goggles… snowboarding at 7 Springs 1/5/13

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.

posted by auntheather in Common Sense,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Patience,Pets,Reminiscing,Snowboarding and have No Comments

Seeing the World Through Goggles

Cherish those precious moments because their will come a day and time when the children are challenging and unruly, but it is always worth being patient and getting through those harder days.  ~Unknown

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I posed Kyle in my snowboarding goggles when he was 6 months old. 1/2002

Now that we are approaching snowboarding season, hopefully, since last year we didn’t have much of a winter, I thought of this adorable story.  It always brings a smile to my face.  Every now and again a memory from my mental diary surfaces, and this one was too cute to pass up.

It starts with Kyle, maybe three years old or there about, I’m going back roughly eight years.  I met a friend of mine, her sister-in-law and her son at the Olive Garden for soup and salad.  Naturally, I had Kyle with me because more than not, he’s attached to my hip.  Of course I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Us Piper’s never leave our little man behind.

Being a little tyke, Kyle’s car seat was in the backseat strategically placed in the center so I could see him in the rear-view mirror.  Not to mention, I always thought it was safer in case there was an accident, then he would be protected by the surrounded space.

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Me in Breckenridge Colorado… love those mountains! c. 2009

Surprisingly (sarcasm), my snowboard was in the car along with my gear.  I fold down the back of one seat and slide the board through the trunk to rest on the now constructed flat surface.  That’s were it resides most of the winter.  Never know when I need to hit the slopes for an emergency snowboard ride!  Well, for whatever reason I had my goggles in the house and Kyle felt the need to put them on.  He didn’t just put them on, he placed the goggles over his eyes and kept them there even as we left the house.  Yep, we departed to start our journey to meet up with Holsters and her sister-in-law, and Kyle’s accessory of choice was a pair of snowboarding goggles.  To be honest, I thought he liked them because it kept the cold air off of his face and the sun out of his eyes.  I usually wear tinted goggles.  My eyes are really sensitive to the sun, especially reflecting off of bright snow.

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Kyle’s 6 month old photo shoot… I knew he was going to love snowboarding! 1/2002

As we drove to the restaurant, Kyle just sat in the backseat sporting the goggles like it was normal.  I fully expected him to remove the protective eye wear when we got inside.  Nope.  He kept the goggles on his face like they were his reading glasses.  He went along his business eating and hanging out, all while wearing the goggles!  Holsters looked at me like ‘What is up with the goggles?” and my only response was, “I have no idea, but he seems to like them.  I’m excited!  Snowboarding here we come!”  In my eyes, his positivity toward goggles meant he likes to snowboard.  I know that’s silly, but that’s how I spun the situation.  At this point, I don’t I took Kyle snowboarding yet and he never saw me ride.  But you know, I think he associated those goggles with me.

Kyle was really too cute!  Our server couldn’t even help but giggle and smile at this little bleach blond haired boy, wearing snowboarding goggles while eating!  You should have seen all the looks as we walked in the restaurant and lets not forget when we exited the joint.  Kyle didn’t seem to mind.  He didn’t relish in the attention but he didn’t shy away from it either.  It’s as though he didn’t notice anyone staring.  Kyle certainly turned a lot of heads, this time for a good positive reason.  I must say I was proud to walk beside this content young man, who was so enchanting, I even fell under his spell.  To this day, I wish I would taken a picture of video of the event.  But alas that memory is mine, and those that witnessed it.

You know it’s those unplanned precious moments that stick with us forever!

posted by auntheather in Cooking with Kyle,Education & Learning,Family,Milestone,Observation & Imagination,Reminiscing,Snowboarding and have No Comments
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