The Adventures Of Fatherhood – February 4, 2022

We packed seemingly everything we own and headed to Vermont for an extended vacation last month.

We left on a Saturday and it snowed the night before at home. We arrived back on home the following Sunday and there was a blizzard the day before. Therefore, we left the snow, to head to more snow and came home to a great deal of snow. It was a winter vacation after all.

This is the second time our family spent a week at Mount Snow in Vermont. We love it. Though I would prefer a warm destination over the mountains for vacation, I admit there is a charm to getting away and spending our days skiing and evenings relaxing at our rental home. It’s a simple vacation, the biggest goal being for nobody to get hurt while also unplugging for some downtime. It was mission accomplished on both fronts.

The highlight of the vacation for me was watching the kids enjoying themselves on the mountain and then the quiet nights with no practices, games or appointments. The nights are always short on ski vacations, as the days are long and exhausting. It’s a great feeling.

Though the experiences were quite different for each of them, both Beckett and Carson enjoyed their first real vacation in a couple years.

  • A critical piece with any vacation we take is a plan to make it a successful and enjoyable trip for Carson. A ski trip is no different than Disney World in that regard. We need to ensure there is fun to be had for both kids.

We like Mount Snow in Vermont for Carson, 12, because of the Adaptive Sports program. An independent chapter of the Move United organization, the program matches youngsters with disabilities with trained volunteers who encourage, support and guide them through a day of skiing. Carson participated in the program four years ago and did well working with the volunteers. We felt confident the same would be the case this year.

A video describing the program puts it best, saying, “Out there on the slopes, Adaptive Sports at Mount Snow embraces everything we come here to experience – exhilaration, new challenges, respect, humor and joy.” All these things were on display throughout Carson’s time with the volunteers.

For five straight days, his days went like this – from 9:30-11:30 a.m. he skied with his volunteer(s); lunch break till 1 p.m. where he ate a hot bowl of chili every single day in the same lodge restaurant; 1-3 p.m. skiing; and then back to the lodge restaurant for wings every day to celebrate his day. Kids on the spectrum like a schedule, and this was how his days went on vacation. After four hours of skiing, he was exhausted. It was a great routine for him to embrace and it worked great for us as well.

These programs matching inspiring volunteers with kids with disabilities are near and dear to our heart. Carson surfed with Surfers Healing in August and skied with Adaptive Sports in January. The people who work within these organizations have the best of intentions. We paid handsomely for the opportunity for Carson to participate, but there is an incredible value for us to be able to ski on our own knowing he’s having fun, being included and is safe.

In fact, by nature of how the mountain is laid out, we often were able to watch Carson ski on the beginner slopes with his volunteers, who stand out thanks to sporting bright orange vests. He needed a lot of assistance at first but then slowly worked his way to being tethered by the volunteers and then being independent. At one point, two of the male volunteers opted to take him to the summit for a run down one of the green trails, Long John. I was shocked to hear this was being considered but trusted them to keep him safe. I was glad he was given the opportunity to ride on the big lift and see the top of the mountain.

Though we were hoping to run into him along the way, we never actually saw him. When Pam picked him up for lunch, she was briefed on what one of the volunteers described as an “incident.” It seems one of the volunteers stumbled on the run, taking a tethered Carson down with him for a fall. It rattled Carson, who must have taken in his surroundings and gotten scared. The three of them walked a bit before realizing they were going to need help getting down the mountain. Carson then got to ride on the back of an all-terrain snow vehicle from the top of the mountain to the base. It sounds like it was a fun adventure and Carson gave it all double thumbs up.

  • For Beckett, we enrolled him in ski school for the week with kids his age. He skied for six hours each day with the ski school and then he and his mom – who are both advanced skiers – made some runs before the lifts closed for the day. This was when Carson and I tried out the different wings at the lodge.

There were several times during the week when Beckett, 13, remarked how he loved skiing and couldn’t believe how happy it made him. This was huge coming from a teenager who can run the extreme of emotions at times.

Throughout the week, while Pam and I were skiing, we would see Beckett with his group zipping from here and there past us. He would start each day with questions as to why he must go to ski school and can’t be on his own all day. He would end each day exhausted and talking about where they went on the mountain and what runs they did. He had a blast and wants to go back.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.