Right now I am feeling a mix of elation and satisfaction.
Elation at seeing our 6 year old daughter “skinning up a mountain” for the first time and exclaiming, “Skinning is fun” and “I love skinning.”
Satisfaction at having conceived and executing a plan without a hitch, that needless to say, was fraught with potential pitfalls.
Our daughter, Ann, first mentioned wanting to skin up a mountain a few weeks ago. That set the wheels into motion, but in reality it all began some years ago.
Prior to November, we spent the past five years living in Snowmass, Colorado, and every time I drove into Aspen with Ann I pointed out the most prominent peaks along the way. I would talk about when she got older how we would climb or ski Pyramid and Hayden together. Eventually she talked about riding her bike up or sledding down those peaks (those would be firsts). Later she asked questions about whether we would need ropes and harnesses and if it would be scary.
Another favorite ritual for her is helping me put skins on my wife’s skis whenever my wife is headed out the door for a fitness hike at one of the areas, or greeting me when I return, tired but happy, from a tour.
As the parents of a young child, you never quite know what sticks and what just goes by the wayside. Even prior to the recent conversations about skinning, I began planting the seed about skiing on Independence Pass once it opens later this spring. I talked about how we would put on our climbing harnesses and I would tow her up. She said she was in but I had no idea if that was going to work until today.
The last piece of the puzzle was the gear. Where do you come up with a mini AT setup for a 6 year old? Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered a rig that Lou had created for Louie when he was a little whipper snapper some 20+ years ago. Turns out it was still in the garage. With 48 hours notice, the mini rig made it’s way up the valley passing from one friend to the next until it ended up on a porch for me to pick up this morning. Before we headed out, I read Ann an old blog post Lisa had unearthed about Louie’s first skin up Buttermilk and off we went. The torch has been passed and hopefully it will stay lit.