Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Seasons Ebb and Flow...

Spring skiing conditions
     As the winter ebbs, spring begins to flow... slushy mashed potato snow & glacial patches dotted with rocks & (heaven forbid) entire fields of brown, melting to puddles under her swishing pink skis, and beging to trickle, trickle. Absorbing into mud, saturated, rushing tiny streamlets, down, down into the earth, down, down the mountain... still weeks away from its destination of the River. We hang up our skis, as the churning chair lift engines prime for hibernation, eek & slow to a seasons stop. And though the valleys blooming fruit trees and incessant sun shine suggest spring has long been underway, the River sings a different tune... Crystal green, its narrowed banks are flowing low, low. The runoff is running, what little there is to run this year, but not yet reaching River flows...
A Lovely float on the Verde River, AZ
Feb. 22 Arkansas River Float!
   This purgatorial time of interface, so dualistic in nature, brings the boats out right alongside the skis. Or this year, had the boats forgetting the skis... Low water schmo water, it's all boating to me! And the confused nature of current weather patterns seems to also confuse the human brain wave patterns in our little nuclear family. We pulled out the raft one sunny afternoon in late February and had a lovely wee float through town! Ensued by more such delightful floats in the following weeks. Then after a jaunt to Arizona where some beautiful Verde and Salt days were had in early March, we returned home to more sunny sky's and unseasonably warm temps. So, the skis commenced to gathering dust in the shed while the boats continued getting wet.
Maytag rapid- Salt River, AZ
     Yes, the water is officially 'stupid low.' Yes, we get our '14 raft stuck... allot, but we have fun! Browns  Canyon of the Arkansas River is not very conducive to rafting at 240 cfs, but it can be done! This I know from last saturdays escapades. It just takes allot of lowsiding and getting out on rocks to feed the raft through slots narrower than the boat is wide. During all of this early season low water boating we have been doing though, the ski hill remained open, in spite of our obliviousness... Ski? But it's River season, right? No, actually, it's not really.
     Our poor skis, after a full month of neglect, were gallantly rescued by a friend from New Mexico who came to visit and motivated us to go ski! It's a good thing too, because we caught the very tail end of it all. Ginger rallied us to ski on Friday, and inspired by hot pink '80's stretch pants, I managed to rally again on sunday, closing day... also know as Gaper day!

Last day- dressed to impress!

Ginger & Charlotte sporting spring skirts!
     This ski season was not about me though, in fact, I only free skied two days this winter! (One of which was [a rather serendipitous powder day] date, the other was our Valentines Day date.)  This season was about Charlotte. I did something very selfish, I took the winter off from my normal guise as ski instructor, and opted out of putting Charlotte in preschool, just so we could ski. Yup, we skied. She & I, just the two of us. Well, OK, Alan did a fair amount of skiing with us, but I encouraged him to go ski at his own pace, and he did so gladly. Alan is a remarkably patient man, Charlotte is not his child, and he is not one of those naturally awesome kid type people... in fact he is straight up not a kid person. He tries so hard though, and generally does a much better job of parenting her than he gives himself credit for. Anyways, tangent aside, yes Alan skied with us a good bit, but mostly it was Charlie and I, and she tore it up!
     Charlotte grew up in ski school. My daycare option was to bring her to ski school, and because she was such a little go getter, was aloud to ski in the 3-4 year old class instead of staying in the daycare. Charlotte first donned a pair of skis at 21 months old. I expected her to fall down, get upset, and get over it... but no. She went bombing straight down the hill screaming "Weeeeeeee!" Got to the bottom and said "Again again! More more!" And a little shredder was born. As mentioned, her ability on skis won her entrance to the 'little chips' ski class at one and a half. And so, she skied. Occasionally she asked to play in the daycare room, but more often than not she wanted to ski!
Charlottes first day of skiing, 21 months old.
     Her second year as a 'little chip' (then 2 1/2, still younger than the class age,) saw her excel beyond the kids ski school hill to greens up on the big mountain, and easy blues by the end of the year. Ending the season with a bang, she skied her first few bumps, after weeks of begging "Mommy, how do you ski bumps? Can you show me how to ski bumps Mommy? Mommy, how do you ski bumps?" I kept telling her "Next year sweetie, next year." But she persevered & won, tackling a few easy bumps on the last run of the last day. She fell down twice, got right back up, skied those darn bumps & was super proud of herself!
Tuck! Faster!
Bumps baby!
     This year, with Mommy & a whole season all to herself, she accomplished amazing things! It seemed like every day she got something new, even up until the last day, when she learned to tuck. This year Charlotte tackled many bumps; large ones, steep ones. Fell in love with trees, tore up deep powder, and faced some remarkably steep slopes. (Not always with dignity, but always with her own ability.) She learned an amazing amount of technical skills this year too; carving, railroad tracks, skid turns, hockey stops, skating, tucking, etc... Charlotte has never had a power wedge, she skis parallel. The ski school I worked at preaches direct to parallel & is super conservative with their use of the wedge. She also never had one of those harness/leash things, she just always had to tag along in the gaggle of a class. This year though, this year was big for her, and she hit milestones.
      Here is where I find myself feeling guilty of neglect... what happened to the last month!? Gone... gone in a splash of blissful spring time boating! Not waisted, no no, but gone. Two more days, that was all I got her up skiing for, and now it's done for the season. I feel like somehow I cut her short... Charlotte wants life and she goes after it! This is the child who began walking on her 8 month birthday and has not slowed down since... and I, I am simply a tool for bringing opportunity to her, while watching Blissfully as she eats it up. I am reminded of one beautiful powder day this winter, we were skiing some of her favorite trees, straight off behind the patrol shack at the top of the lift, when she suddenly stopped and said "Wow, this is steep! Hey! Do steep and deep rhyme!?" Both of us giggling, she took off again... shredding those steep and deep trees, at her three and a half year old pace, not fast, but efficient.
Loving life on a powder day! 
     So ski season ebbed it's final tidal withdraw, as we three were already fulling riding the trickling, but growing flow into River season... at least we weren't too far down stream... we did get those last two days, and I am grateful.

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