16-month-old snowboarder, Orion, is a sight to see

16-month-old snowboarder, Orion, a sight to see (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - "Orion, the constellation, the great hunter, the protector of the shepherd of the sky," said Chelsea Crutcher, who named her son after that constellation.

Orion, the son, although small, is eye-catching, just like one of the most recognizable groups of stars in the sky.

“The biggest question is always, 'How old is he?' So he's 16 months - and it's countless people every single day,” said Orion’s dad, Trent.

“I would also say we almost never see kids younger than 2, so it's pretty rare. I think if a kid is one-and-half and they’re having fun, then they're not too young,” explained Megan Holthaus, the snow sports school manager at Perfect North.

Orion, who was actually 14 months when Chelsea and Trent first put him on a snowboard, is the youngest of the Crutchers' four boys. This winter, the entire family decided to pick up snowboarding.

"He has by far picked it up the quickest. It is annoying how quick he's picked it up. I’m over here falling every 5 feet and he's just zooming past me going down the hill. It's not fair," Trent said, laughing.

Chelsea said, “I had two options. I could run around the lodge with him the entire time or I could put him in bindings. We had this riglet board over the summer, and we would pull him around the house, pull him around the backyard. The boys loved it, including him, and so by the end of the summer he was getting on the board himself, asking to be pulled around the house.”

And now it's the slopes at Perfect North - well, the bunny slopes; it's all relative though.

“If you go boots and cats and boots and cats, he does this little dance, but for him in a snowboard, it gets him to wiggle his legs and gets the sensation of pushing himself down the hill as opposed to being pulled so he can start himself going which is what you're supposed to do in snowboarding,” Chelsea said.

“He'll get in his snowboard and actually try to put the bindings on himself. He's gotten to the point where he can get the clip in and slide it all the way down and get it out,” said Trent.

"If he doesn't want to snowboard, he'll let you know, too. He'll get out of the binding, he'll put his foot down and he'll say, 'I’m done,'" Chelsea said.

That's not too often though. The Crutchers have made the short drive from Mount Airy over 20 times already this season. Trent served six years in the Army and is now with the Cincinnati Police Department, and Chelsea worked for Cincinnati Public Radio as music recording engineer for just over a decade.

Neither grew up on the slopes, but, for now, they've found as a family it's a place they all can grow together.

"I feel like that challenge, that follow through is really important and so we're seeing that with Orion, too. He's learning how to follow through on something, not just try it out, give up and quit. You've gotta get through it, push through those hard moments, get up and do it again," said Chelsea.

As for the Olympics?

"It is definitely possible with how much he loves to snowboard. He'll get mad when you pull him in. He'll go and take the snowboard off the rack by himself and try to drag it out,” Trent said.

"We joke about it with the staff here. They're like ‘Are you ready for the Olympics, 'cause they're coming your way.’ If he loves it, we'll stick with it. We say that about all of our kids though. When they really show a genuine, honest interest and passion for something, we invest in it with them emotionally," Chelsea explained.

They say Orion is a sight to see. He sure is.

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