Getting Up-close & Personal with Olympians
Clair Bidez Rides the Superpipe
It's cold, dark and the snow is dumping, but that doesn't stop thousands of locals and their kids from turning out at
"It's great for kids to see the best athletes in the world," said
Little kids play in the snow and older ones are mesmerized by the action as they line the same half-pipe where the U.S. men's team swept the competition in the 2002 Olympic Games, motivating kids all over the country to beg their parents to let them learn to snowboard. It was the first U.S. sweep since the men's figure-skating team did it in 1956.
"Definitely worth freezing for and better than TV," said a shivering 13-year-old
But for champion
In the coming weeks, of course, all eyes will be on
Wherever you take your kids to the snow this winter -- and there have never been so many discounted opportunities for families (www.ski.com), you're bound to be frustrated by how much effort is required -- on vacation no less -- the mittens lost on the way to ski school, the preschooler who falls asleep on the chairlift and won't wake up (that was my daughter Reggie), the chapped lips, runny noses and cold fingers, the broken snowboard laces, the ski boots that hurt.
Remember that these newly minted 2010 Olympians were once little kids whose parents faced all the same travails -- and then some. "Taking kids to the mountains always requires a lot of work for parents," acknowledges
"I couldn't ask for more supportive parents,"
For many here, just getting to this final night of the competition was victory enough. It certainly was for 17-year-old
Certainly there was a lot of schlepping involved -- just like for any of us whose kids love snow sports -- and inevitable injuries, offered
That means being there to pick up the pieces when they've lost, just like at any soccer tournament or basketball game. "You just hope he comes out at the end walking," said
It is always a family affair too, with aunts and uncles, cousins, siblings and friends on hand as a personal cheering section for the young athletes. Even an entire junior girls' snowboarding team from
"Anything that gets the kids outside is a good thing," added
The key: "The kids have to be having fun," said
The local kids, meanwhile, were just happy to be out after dark with their friends, watching their idols and playing in the snow. In fact,
Recent Vacation Ideas & Travel Destinations
- From France to Italy Over Mont Blanc
- Taking the Kids - Skiing in Telluride
- Taking the Kids - Skiing this Winter without Busting the Budget
- Taking the Kids - How Snow Sports Can Transform a Child's Life
- Taking the Kids to Mohonk Mountain House
- Taking the Kids - Old-Fashioned Train Ride to the Grand Canyon
- Puerto Vallarta Family Fun Down Mexico Way
- Yosemite National Park in Winter
(c) 2010 Eileen Ogintz
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