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| | |-+  April 30, 2006, Crystal Mtn, Learning To Earn
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Author Topic: April 30, 2006, Crystal Mtn, Learning To Earn  (Read 4767 times)
Lowell_Skoog
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April 30, 2006, Crystal Mtn, Learning To Earn
« on: 04/30/06, 10:46 PM »



Most of us went to the TAY spring fest to visit old friends or make new ones.  It's fun to connect on-line names with real faces.  Backcountry skiing is an isolated activity most of the time.  That isolation makes the opportunity to connect with a larger community something special.

For me, the picnic was also a way to introduce my 9-year-old son to touring for turns.  Tom has had a breakthrough ski season this year, progressing from snowplows to skidded turns.  He's finally getting excited about skiing.  When I reminded him of the fun we had at the picnic two years ago (when I towed him up to Campbell Basin with a rope), he agreed to try a self-powered trip. My wife, Steph, decided to come along too, making it a family outing.

I dug out a pair of old Secura-Fix adapters, the predecessor of today's Alpine Trekkers.  With just a little work, I modified them to fit Tom's downhill boots.  An old pair of straight-sided skins fit his downhill skis.  I folded and taped them over the tips of his skis and adhered them to the top surface - lots of room to grow with this system.



Tom has seen many pictures of ski touring, and the new gear was exciting to him, so he was eager to go when we left the Crystal Mountain base lodge.  I was impressed by how quickly he took to climbing on skins.  But it didn't take long before he realized this was going to be a lot more work than riding the chairlift.  I suggested that he think about something other than how far it was and try to "climb on auto-pilot."  This suggestion worked almost too well.  Tom started composing a song about what a slave-driver I was and how he was going to pay me back later.  That and a couple of snack breaks kept him occupied most of the way up.  Encouragement from the other TAY'ers we met did the rest.

At the Campbell Basin lodge, I unpacked Tom's favorite lunch foods and he had fun carving a bucket seat in the snow to watch the festivities.  I forgot to bring his toy baseball bat this year, so we practiced hitting snowballs with a ski pole.  After a couple hours he was eager to go skiing.  (Down.  Not farther up.) We packed up and descended slopes he knew well from our lift-skiing trips.  He enjoyed skiing the "powder," his word for corn snow.

Back home, Tom said he didn't need to go ski touring again for another year.  I take that as a good sign.  I think if I suggest going to the picnic again next year, he may agree.  For me, that's reason enough to continue this annual TAY tradition.



Note: Please don't hesitate to start another thread about the Crystal fest. I consider this more of an indulgent dad story than an account of the party...  Wink
« Last Edit: 05/02/06, 07:17 AM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
Jeff Huber
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Re: April 30, 2006, Crystal Mtn, Learning To Earn
« Reply #1 on: 05/01/06, 12:23 AM »

That's great. What a neat story. Congrats to both you and to Tom. In a few more years, Lowell, Tom will be taking you touring!
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Zap
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Re: April 30, 2006, Crystal Mtn, Learning To Earn
« Reply #2 on: 05/01/06, 06:15 AM »

This is very encouraging and a validation of my plan.  We have 5 grandsons and from the moment I held them and each time I see them I whisper in their ear:

"It's fun to break trail for Grandpa." Plus "It's fun to carry some of Granpas pack weight".

I'm on plan.

Zap
« Last Edit: 05/01/06, 04:01 PM by Zap » Logged
ron j
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Re: April 30, 2006, Crystal Mtn, Learning To Earn
« Reply #3 on: 05/01/06, 07:45 AM »

Great Story, Lowell,
I agree with Zap, it sounds like you're doing a great job developing a fine trail breaker.

And I think you're right; responses to the fest itself here would be non-productive drift from the more important topic of how to train kids to break trail... no I mean how to teach children to love the backcountry.  Smiley
All joking aside -- you're doing a great job with Tom.  It was great to see you and your whole family at the Crystal Fest this year... your patience and love is showing through quite well.   Keep up the good work.
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"When I stop having fun I'm turnin' around"
"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future." - Niels Bohr
"If a given person makes it a priority not to die in an avalanche, he or she stands a very good chance of living a long, happy life in the mountains." - Jill Fredston
Dave_R
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Re: April 30, 2006, Crystal Mtn, Learning To Earn
« Reply #4 on: 05/01/06, 08:14 AM »

Hey Lowell,

Nice job, you even remembered to bring along that all-important nice weather!  Grin  Brett & I were talking about how nice it probably was up there yesterday...  ...and now we know.  I think he knew his old skis were having fun without him!

One minor note of concern for us:
Back home, Tom said he didn't need to go ski touring for another year.
Brett was hoping to have some one to build a fort with up at Summerland this year.  Can we call that "snow camping" instead?  Wink

-Dave R

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fheimer
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Re: April 30, 2006, Crystal Mtn, Learning To Earn
« Reply #5 on: 05/01/06, 01:44 PM »

Great report.  It's great to see the next generation.  My daughter just turned nine and I have been sceming how to get her touring.  She likes to cross conrty ski and downhill but the gear issue seems to be my hold-up.  It seems like the alpine trackers worked out and news out there for ski touring gear for kids. 
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skykilo
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Re: April 30, 2006, Crystal Mtn, Learning To Earn
« Reply #6 on: 05/01/06, 02:25 PM »

That's a wonderful story Lowell.  Congratulations on successfully introducing your son to the sport!
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JibberD
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Re: April 30, 2006, Crystal Mtn, Learning To Earn
« Reply #7 on: 05/01/06, 05:18 PM »

"Tom started composing a song about what a slave-driver I was and how he was going to pay me back later. "

So a kid this creative must have come up with some good payback.  Can you share?

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-Doug O
Alan Brunelle
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Re: April 30, 2006, Crystal Mtn, Learning To Earn
« Reply #8 on: 05/01/06, 09:46 PM »

Lowell,

I also have a nine year old ski enthusiast and hope to get him out on a couple of tours this spring/summer.  Maybe we will interesect routes.  I actually had the same experience with my son regarding the realization that a lift is way easier than walking up.  I sometimes think that one barrier to getting them to tour, other than their physical abilities to climb is lack of companionship.  Maybe a group of youngin's together might make for more motivation.  I have seen reports with Charles' daughter enthusiastically skiing near Paradise.  Maybe TAY should organize a kids wilderness ski club!

Regarding touring gear, sounds like you have the solution.  For others who are interested, I was able to come across a relatively cheap set of Fritches, small and they have been real easy to mount on any cheap small ski I can get.  They are so adjustable and will stay with him for quite a while (therefore a good investment even if relatively expensive used ones can be had) and then they will fit my wife when he is forced to buy his own gear.

We have done tons of skiing this year, and I am giving him a break during the kids baseball season, but by early June I will have him out hiking trails in search of snow.

Alan
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Mad_Dog
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Re: April 30, 2006, Crystal Mtn, Learning To Earn
« Reply #9 on: 05/02/06, 04:27 PM »

Very nice pictures, you seemed to capture Tom's excitement, and he must feel really good about making it all the way to the top.  Kudos to him for that!!

But it didn't take long before he realized this was going to be a lot more work than riding the chairlift. 

Even though I hate to admit this, I too was saying that same thing to myself as I was skinning along side the chairlift and I'm just a touch older than 9  Grin

Way to earn your own turns Tom  Cheesy.
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There is nothing worse than refusing to learn: this is where old age begins.

Jeanette
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