Oh to Be 12 Again
Christmas time brings joy, love, peace and presents but the best present for this girl is the week-long Revy trip we take every year. I think in the last 15 years I have only ever missed 2 of these trips and let me tell you this year was EPIC! I have never rode in so much pow and bluebird, yes it was chilly, but so worth it! My 12 year-old nephew, Chase MacDougall, joined us this year and at first I must say I was a tad worried about all the stucks that were going to occur in the 4ft of fresh we got, however this kid absolutely rocked his 600 RMK.
So the first couple days in Revy you could barely see your hand in front of your face, it was snowing and just not the greatest conditions for a test ride on the new sled. There were a couple stucks and a couple rolls but not once did he complain. This kid is tough! He was having goggle issues so like a champ he took them off a rode without them! Jesus, this babyface wouldn’t last 1 minute without goggles and there he was, driving through 4ft of fresh pow having the time of his life.
After the snowstorms blew through we were able to get above the clouds and enjoy some amazing bluebird skies. Chase picked up on his sled amazingly fast, and the stucks and rolls decreased quickly to a point where his confidence grew and he was ready to explore! We stopped a couple times in some meadows and let me tell you there was not an inch of untracked snow after he was done. Around and around in circles, up and down hills he was like the energizer bunny that would never stop. At one point he found a nice windlip that he started to jump. I flagged him down to stop so I could take some pics, and to give him a reminder to keep on the throttle when jumping so he wouldn’t land flat and fall off. The next jump he hit full throttle, did a killer wheelie then fell flat with an ass-over-teakettle dismount. Five seconds passed of him lying face down in the snow before he jumped up, gave two fist pumps, a “whahoo”, and off he went to hit it again. Like I said, tough kid!
We decided to venture over to Eagle’s for the day and there are some big climbs in there for a beginner rider… up till that day most of the stuff Chase had been riding was mellow, so now had come the time to step up. At each hill I would first give him a pep talk, telling him whether to pin it or to just keep steady momentum to plow though the trenches. I would go first showing him “the line” to take, but on a couple of the hills I would get to the top and think OMG that is so not the right line, but then there he would come, fully pinned, bouncing off ruts and bounding to the top. You could see his smile for miles. Then would follow the celebratory dancing and fist pumps; he was rocking it! Each hill gave him more and more confidence to the point now that he thinks he can truly climb anything… future chute climber??
The last day came the true riding challenge, getting into Turtle. We decided to double him up through the cut blocks so we wouldn’t scar him for life, since I remember plenty of times rolling and crashing and almost writing off sleds in those trenches! Once upong a time back in the day, we got to the top and a local so nicely told my dad that he had no right taking us girls up that hill. Nonchalantly I replied that this was my 10th time riding here and I ride with Randy Swenson… haha, dropping names even as a kid!
So we got Chase to the gulch—and that’s a serious spot. To him it’s all new, so he had no clue what was in store, but to me all I could picture was Chase pinning it across the sidehill, holding on for dear life, and me hoping to gawd he doesn’t fall off the cliff to never-never land. Nope, not him, he just mosey’d right along like it was no big deal then continued to follow me throughout the day. We got back to the lakes and then it was play time for him. We couldn’t see a ton because of a low cloud, but Chase absolutely tore up the lake. We went up into the sun for some lunch, and all you could see was Chase going around and around, just a boy and his sled. Nothing else mattered in the world except turning that sled even harder the next time around.
This trip really opened my eyes to how much sledding has evolved. From low-powered hard-to-manage sleds, to sleds where you can easily ride the first day… from being the only ones on the hill to everyone knowing your secret spots. Spots where we would have to spend a whole day breaking into is now done as just part of the trail, hills that I used to tremble at climbing are no sweat with sleds these days. From no egos to the brand smashing “hey look at me” attitudes… everything about this sport has changed. All this got me thinking how awesome it would be to be 12 again. Nowadays things hurt more when I crash, I take for granted the places I can get into easily and no one is doing a wahoo dance with me unless I climb a chute. 12 year-olds can play all day on one lake, flattening every inch of snow and still go round and round in circles having a blast, whereas we aren’t satisfied with the snow unless it’s untouched. We as adults continually push ourselves to ride better/harder but then are never really happy with our progression. Somewhere along our journey we have all lost what it’s like to just ride like a kid, to truly enjoy every inch of snow. As adults (me included) I think we all get a little stuck in capturing the moments to later post on social media whereas kids truly live in the moment… It’s interesting to think how much they learn from watching us ride or from the words of wisdom we give before a climb when really one of the greatest lessons for sledders is one we can actually learn from them!