Of the dozens of people I talked to for this year’s Snow Ride Guide, I think I was most impressed with Christine Barnhart, a 44-year-old single mother from Enumclaw. She showed extraordinary initiative to get her daughter into snowboarding.
While I was able to tell you a little bit about her and her daughter in today’s paper, they are worth a few more words. Here’s a little passage that didn’t make it into the section. (The picture is by Peter Haley)
CHRISTINE AND NATASHA BARNHART
Ski shop saleswoman and lodge cafeteria worker
Ages: 44 and 16.
As a single mom, Christine Barnhart knew she was going to have to be creative if she was going to introduce her daughter, Natasha, to snowboarding.
"I don’t know if I would be able to give her fun like this with a single income," said Barnhart, a Federal Aviation Administration receptionist.
So the Barnharts of Enumclaw figured out how to ski for free at Crystal Mountain. Barnhart got a job as a ski shop saleswoman, while her daughter started as a bus girl in the lodge cafeteria.
"I only skied four days all season, but I met my objective of introducing her to the sport," Barnhart said. "And now she’s hooked."
But the Barnharts got more out of the experience than just free lift tickets.
Natasha got her first job. "That was wonderful for her," Barnhart said. "She did well."
Natasha worked her way up from busing tables to dishwasher to prep cook. By spring, she was making 50 cents more per hour than her mom and didn’t mind rubbing it in.
"Obviously I wasn’t doing this for the money," Barnhart said.
Natasha saved her money and used it for spending cash on a five-week school exchange trip to Germany.
"Working at Crystal was a great first job," said Natasha, a junior at Enumclaw High. "I can’t wait to go back this year."
Natasha had never snowboarded before last winter, but Crystal offered her free lessons to get her started.
Another perk for Barnhart was driving to the mountain together, her daughter captive in the passenger seat for more than a hour.
"That time was nice," she said. "Pretty rare when you have a teenager."