By Ms. Joyce Costello (USAREUR)January 23, 2013
FOLGARIA, Italy- There's a picture of me and my sisters in cheesy 70's snowsuit with our dad who had strapped the baby to his back; all of us on cross-country skis. My mother had taken the photo from the front porch, telling us stay out of the house for at least two hours. As a child you don't know the phrase "cabin fever", but as an adult you quickly learn that the kids will go nuts if you keep them cooped up during the long, cold winter months. As a result of a cooped-up whining child of my own, I was more than willing to shell out the exorbitant cost of private ski lessons for her just so I could get two hours of peace and silence up in the mountains. Though, I kindly dressed her in a cheesy 2010 version of a 70's style snowsuit.
It turns out, taking the kids to the slopes is not just a great way to tire them out and get them to go to sleep early on Saturday night. The Jackson family, stationed in Naples, came to Vicenza as a family for a New Year's celebration trip with the specific goal of hitting the slopes to experience a new sport as a family.
"We've been skiing before as a family, but wanted to try snowboarding because two of our kids like to skateboard," said mother Nikita.
"It's a really good bonding experience and exposes the kids to something new," added father Jovan. "Physical fitness is important to me and this is a way I can introduce my kids to something that is good for them and good for us as a family."
Nikita pointed out that most families have no problems finding fun summer activities, but once it gets cold and dreary parents have to find other ways to curb cabin fever. Son, Khalil, 12-years old, said he was glad his parents decided to take the chance to learn a "cool sport like snowboarding".
"I skateboard and like riding my bike and playing video games, but getting out here in the mountains was 'funner' then sitting around the house," said Khalil.
It was a sentiment shared by his 8-year old brother Josiah and 14-year old sister Tirzah.
"I like hanging out with my friends back home, but I really like doing stuff with my whole family," said Tirzah.
"I can't wait to do it again," quickly quipped Josiah.
Families can take advantage of free snowboard and skiing classes offered on Outdoor Recreation trips. The two-hour long course represents a 74 Euro savings per person, according to Chris Wolff, ODR ski and snowboarder.
"When out on the slopes with young children, I recommend lots of patience and money for hot chocolate," said Wolff, a father himself.
At the end of the day, even though the fashions may have changed, the family memories captured will warm you up and that alone makes getting out of the cabin worthwhile.