From Injury-faker to Superstar: How Bode Got His Groove Back

Posted in On the Mountain
by Amber on April 11, 2012

bode-superstar (bode-superstar)

My 5-year-old son Bode has had quite the skiing history during his young life.

Named after skiing legend Bode Miller, we hoped he would show an affinity for the sport. What we got: a roller-coaster ride with several crashes along the way.

When we first put Bode on skis at age 3, he was fearless. Refusing to do the wedge, he carved in and out of his fellow skiers in a crouched tuck position. At age 4, he lost some of his confidence and this year at age 5, a bad experience at the beginning of the season resulted in an aversion to the sport as he faked an injury to get out of ski school.

It wasn't pretty.

But with our recent four-day vacation to Park City Mountain Resort, I knew his experience on the slopes would make-or-break him.

Signature 3

We received the recommendation to enroll him in Signature 3 Superstars, a ski school program designed for 4-6 year-olds whose skills have moved beyond the standard program as the students are exposed to a significant portion of the mountain.

But upon reviewing the requisite skills that included making consistent side-to-wedge turns, I knew he wasn't ready. He could barely make it down the hill 10 feet without falling.

So I held him back to the regular Signature 3 Ski School with the distant hope he would be ready by week's end.

The Beginning of the Miracle

I'm not sure how, I'm not sure why, but something finally started clicking with Bode. The first two days he raved about his experience but I was guarded in getting excited about it. Then as we walked up the hill to ski school on the third morning, he started pointing out his favorite haunts.

"Dat is where I take the chairlift," he said pointing to First Time Lift. "And over dere (Turtle Trail) is where we go skiing."

But then came the clincher: "I JUST LOVE SKIING!" As I started to pick myself off the ground, he continued, "IT IS SUCH A GOOD WORKOUT."

Loving skiing was one thing but a workout? This is the kid who can barely make it around Target without complaining his legs hurt.

The Superstar Miracle

By the end of his third day, I asked the ski school if they thought he was ready to be bumped up to Superstars on our final day. They connected me with instructor "Coach" who assured me he thought it might be a bit of a stretch but he was pretty much ready.

Bode was thrilled to be in his new class and good mom that I am, I fretted the entire day. What if he couldn't keep up? What if he left with a worse attitude than he started with? What if he never wanted to ski again?

I am sometimes prone to overreaction.

Near the end of the day, my husband Jamie and I were heading back to the base area via Homerun when we spotted a familiar pair of red ski pants--it was our little Superstar! We followed his class into Blaster, one of the resort's Adventure Alleys that wound through a cosseted tree covering.

I was blown away. Not only did Bode keep up with everyone, his instructor later informed us he had gone from being the one who needed the most help to the best in the group in a matter of a few hours.

Keep in mind there are only three kids in each Superstar class but that was enough for me.

My husband and I trailed him through Blaster and down some "secret passageways" off Claim Jumper. As I reveled in his confidence, laughter and skiing ability, I inadvertently crossed my own ski tips and before I knew it I was the sole person to wipeout.

And I lost face with a few little Superstars.

Here's for hoping there will be room for me in the class next year.



Comment posted by Kristen on April 14, 2012 8:10 AM MDT

Love his story! We were fortunate to take two trips to Park City this year. Our 4 year old started off his ski career super shy, super slow, not really into it. Definately turned the corner by the second trip! Phew!

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