By Dom Cioffi
I’ve just returned from a week vacation in the mountains of Colorado. My wife, son and I journeyed to Aspen where we stayed at a beautiful hotel at the base of the main mountain. In fact, the gondola that takes you to the top of the hill was literally a few steps outside my hotel door.
This was a work event for my wife that unfortunately had her tied up with clients and planned dinners for the majority of the time, which meant my son and I spent most our time skiing and hanging out together.
I was initially hesitant about skiing with my son – not for any other reason than I didn’t want to wait around for him all day. While he is a solid athlete, he’s not an accomplished skier. He’s also never been completely enthusiastic about the activity. I had visions of enduring hours of frustration while he snow plowed down the mountain, complaining the whole time.
However, that fear never came to pass. After one lesson with a professional teacher, his skill level skyrocketed. I could attribute this to great instruction (which it was), but I also think puberty helped considerably.
Since my son started puberty, his level of aggression and intensity his increased substantially. The testosterone rushing through his body has thrust him into a much more physical approach to life. While he used to be demur and reserved, he now approaches things with much less fear.
No sooner did we hit the slopes when he was racing me down the hill. And then he had an uncomfortable (for me) fascination with tree skiing. He found little joy carving tracks down the middle of the mountain slopes. For him to be fully engrossed, he needed trees to glide around. Granted this wasn’t dangerously tight tree skiing, it was more of an obstacle course approach that forced him to bob and weave.
And then there was the terrain park.
I’m a snowboarder so I know first hand how dangerous a terrain park can be. And yet, I still venture into them every time I see one.
Last year in February, I fell while taking a run in a superpipe. For those of you who don’t know what a superpipe is, it’s a half pipe structure made out of snow that has 22-foot high walls. To be honest, it feels more like an ice structure, and when you fall in one, it feels more like a concrete structure.
Needless to say, I got cocky last year after a few successful runs and then tried to push it. On my last run, I caught an edge on one of the side walls and took a nice tumble onto my shoulder. Initially it didn’t hurt much, but days later, I was in a ton of pain. That pain then continued for nearly 10 more months.
I told myself I wasn’t going to venture into the terrain park this year, but then my son insisted. I agreed to ride in, but I was certain I would just board around the various jumps and obstacles and not actually engage. That approach lasted one run.
By the second time down, I was already testing the smaller jumps; by the end of the day, it was all I could think about. Yes, I did take a tumble or two but, thankfully, I ended up with minimal injuries.
More importantly, my son gained a level of confidence about skiing that we had never witnessed. Prior to this trip, his experiences with skiing were less than stellar, with him wanting to spend more time
in the hotel room than out on the slopes. That definitely changed during this vacation.
As we were flying home on the plane, our son turned to us and said, “That was easily the best vacation I’ve ever been on. Is there any chance we can go skiing again in a few weeks? I think I could be an Olympic skier.”
That claim generated a good laugh – even from him.
This week’s film, “The Prodigy,” features another child who is garnering attention, except in this case, it’s for all the wrong reasons.
“The Prodigy” is the story of a young boy who exhibits genius beshavior throughout his young life. However, around the age of 8, he starts to engage in increasingly disturbing activities that begin to worry his parents and the doctors that are working with him.
Check this one out if you love a good psychological thriller with a tinge of the supernatural. While it won’t completely blow you away, it is a good enough film to keep you engaged.
An unnerving “C+” for “The Prodigy.”
Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at [email protected]