Sunday, March 24, 2013

Huckin' Ze Gnar... into five!

So winter has once again bypassed me in record time... I must have blinked! Spring Equinox has graced us with the presence of "Sarasvati," the newest member of our fleet. She is a 10.5' Hyside raft, and showed up stinky, fresh from the factory. Upon opening the box & unrolling her on our living room floor the evening of March 20th, Charlotte grabbed the barrel pump and had at it! I expected her to pump a few times and be done (as she has in the past,) but no! To my surprise, the floor began to inflate! Once it was fully inflated she asked me to move the pump to a chamber valve and commenced to keep pumping! It took her all evening, but that girl inflated the entire raft, thwarts and all... all by herself. I was blown away!
Charlotte pumping up the new raft!
Charlotte's 5th Fairy Birthday Party
Charlotte turned five last weekend, in a flurry of Fairy wings, pixy dust, giant crepe paper flowers and toadstool shaped finger foods! I have seen her blossom this winter... the transition into five has been quite remarkable, in physical growth as well as in a mental/cognitive way. I guess that's just what happens at this age, they stop being toddlers, and turn in to "Kids..."

 She started off the season by hucking a cliff. A very small kid sized cliff mind you... but a legitimate cliff. It is on the run out of one of her favorite bump runs, and one of the first days of the season, she just... went off it! I thought maybe she hadn't seen it? My heart was in my throat... she launched... and landed it! In the back seat, did a bit of a sit on the tails of her ski's maneuver, but stood up & skied it out... WOW, was I flabbergasted! "WOHOO! You Go Girl!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. She now knows the term "Huckin' Ze Gnar" and uses it proudly.
Charlotte "Huckin' Ze Gnar!"

We skied that run often, and worked on keeping forward in her landing. As the Winter progressed and we actually got some real snow though, her "cliff" got pretty buried & became more of a "jump" which we visited less often as she has discovered other fun little jumps all over the mountain. I have a feeling that the big cornice Mommy likes to huck will be her seasons grand finale, though we shall see...
Aside from the whole "cliff" and jumping thing, her biggest accomplishment this year has been speed. Charlotte has always been a very methodical kid, has impeccable technique and takes her sweet time using it. This year though, she started picking up some speed! I must confess that I am actually very grateful that she waited on this one... it scares the daylights out of me when I see little kids power wedging down the slope at break neck speeds! I am very glad that she took her time in getting comfortable at high speeds, glad that she took her time in utilizing proper technique, and is now in full and confidant control when going fast.
We were fortunate to recently meet another little girl just about Charlotte's age who is also a little shredder. Ericka is a fantastic little skier, and the two girls have quickly become fast friends, playing that they are following whisps through the trees and looking out for Mordu, (characters from the latest Disney movie "Brave.") Erika though has spent most of her time on groomers, while Charlotte seems to favor the bumps and trees. And while Charlotte has the upper hand when in the steeps, Ericka smokes her on the groomers! As graceful as her technique is, Charlotte is still only "just" getting comfortable with speed.
Charlotte & new found shredder friend Ericka tearing it up!
As the ski season brought daily improvements, I am excited to see what the River season will bring! Already she is showing enthusiasm, and blowing Mommy's mind while blowing the new raft! She actually begged to go to roll sessions this winter, though unfortunately we haven't made it to very many... We did however, spend a rather cold, windy and rainy day on the Rio Grande race course last Sunday, and she was just simply thrilled to be out on the water. Her only complaint was of being too hot (I guess I bundled her well,) and of only getting one splash in the face! Yes, I am looking forward to every minute of every mile on the water with her this summer... I think it is going to be a good season! And who knows what kind of Gnar she will decide to Huck next!
Enjoying a cool, windy spring run on the Rio Grande for St. Patty's Day

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