Epic snow-pocalypse #2 for this wintry season, #3 in the last 12 months. Richmond, as a rule, just doesn't get snow. We're nestled between the mountains and the ocean, and most big systems either stall out in the mountains or sweep just north of us. But we've had 3 snow-storms with accumulation in less than a year, with more expected this weekend. Holy crap.
Since it doesn't snow much here, there's not much call for having fancy snow-toys. Yeah, sure: we have an inherited old sled (the kind with the wooden deck and metal rails), but it's heavy, doesn't glide well on anything other than packed powder, and requires maintenance. Screw that!
When it does snow, the 3 or 4 places in town that stock toboggans are inundated with requests. I didn't want to be "that guy", and I knew my little boy was statistically unlikely to see much more of the white powdery stuff around town too terribly often, so I splurged.
Wednesday of last week, I ordered these two pieces of pure awesome:
For Alastair, the Zipfy Freestyle Mini Luge. It's bigger than it looks, but still by far the smallest thing out there on the slopes. Alastair had little trouble keeping it upright, and was actually doing some moderate steering by the end of the weekend.
We did find another little boy who had one, and we got to do some racing.
For me, the Flexible Flyer PT Blaster. This one is actually smaller than it looks. I had thought--based on some reviews--that I'd be able to put Alastair in front of me, but that turned out to be extremely cramped.
This things FLIES. Holy crap. No seriously: holy crap. It was the fastest thing out there, went farther than anything else, and could steer. Everyone who rode it raved about it. You should buy one.
My in-laws kept Alastair most of the weekend, taking him Friday night and keeping him thru Sunday afternoon, so I got a chance to try out both sleds before taking him out (didn't want to trudge all the way out only to realize they were both duds). But when we did get out, whoa.
I was scared to let him go down by himself the first time, since almost all hills in Richmond end with creeks, so I tried running down the hill beside him. I was able to stay right at his side at almost a full run, but at the bottom of the hill, I didn't correct for the flat ground and face-planted. Not wanting my son to get his first exposure to freezing water, I flung my arms out like a diving football player and managed to catch him as my face hit the snow. TOUCHDOWN!! And the crowd went wild--literally. I got cheers for my save.
We moved over to another area with a longer run-out and spent over two hours trudging up and down, trading toboggans, and having THE BEST TIME EVER. He got the hang of his mini-luge in a hurry, and we didn't leave the park 'til after dusk.
Monday I had to stay home with him because the babysitters were unavailable. I needed to get a bit of work done, so I figured we should try Forest Hill Park (I'd heard good things about the crowd-levels and quality of hills there). Man o man is that place out of control! Mostly in a good way, but still a bit bonkers.
Their snow has been packed into moguls on one side, and nearly-flat surfaces on the other. Of course Alastair was drawn to the moguls. So here's my son, not yet 24-hours into his first sledding adventure of his whole 4-year life, jumping moguls. Fairly successfully, too. Sure, he fell plenty of times, but he also landed that Zipfy like a pro. Twice he mashed his face into the snow, and both times came up grinning like a loon. The first time was good enough to elicit cheers from the crowd. He'd gone straight down like a rifle-shot, hit a small mogul, launched off a larger one, flew sideways through the air, and came down pretty hard. There was a collective gasp from the crowd when he launched, and cheers when he sat up (with snow mashed behind his sunglasses). No tears, no whining. He just rubbed his head and said "ow", grabbed his luge, and headed back to the top. My kid is hard-core.
After an extremely late nap, we dashed back to Bryan Park to get in as much more fun as we could before the cops closed the park, and with temps in the 40's and 3 days of sledding behind it, the hill was slick and fast. FAST. And extremely dangerous. Alastair got clobbered by an adult at the bottom of the hill. Solid hit to the ribs that flattened him. He did not get up quickly, and when he did, oh boy was there some crying. The guy felt awful, but really it was Alastair's fault: he likes to sit at the end of his runs and relish the moment. Everybody understands that it's the responsibility of the walkers to get out of the way of the sleds. Everybody but my son.
But after that, he got it. And we found that little boy who had the other Zipfy, and the three of us had race after race after race. Alastair is fast and stable on that thing, but in a race he looks around too much. One time he careered into the other little boy, cutting him off and making him fall. Alastair "won" that race, but I'm pretty sure he should have been penalized.
Again we sledded until it was too dark to do so safely, and I hauled his wet tired butt out of the park on my sled.
My ass hurts, I'm exhausted, and they're calling for more snow this weekend. Hells yes.