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Gratitude at Altitude
Living in the Moment With My Son
W ith summer vacation right around the corner, many people are planning trips to get away for a while. This month, I’d like to share one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. Just this past March, I took my son Jake on a ski trip to Whistler Blackcomb ski resort in British Columbia, Canada, for his 21st birthday. Jake has always talked about going out west to snowboard, and for six days, it was just the two of us. Whistler Blackcomb is considered one of the premier ski resorts in the world. I can confirm that it’s a spectacular place, but the amazing mountains aren’t what made the trip so special for me. This trip meant the world to me because I got to share it with my son, doing something he loves. I’ve been skiing since I was 25, but my son has always been a fanatical snowboarder. But since Jake was recruited to play college baseball out of high school, he always had to put his passion for snowboarding on the backburner. He was dedicated to baseball and his coaches, and I didn’t want him to risk getting hurt on the mountain. But at the start of his junior year in college, Jake decided he was done playing baseball. It had stopped being a pleasure pursuit and felt more like work. So, for the first time since he was 7, he was free to do as much snowboarding as he could fit in to his school schedule. Snowboarding has always brought him more joy than baseball. When we were at Whistler, I could see how happy he was. It was awesome getting
to watch my son do something he truly enjoys.
My son and I in 7th Heaven.
A section of the summit on Blackcomb Mountain is aptly called 7th Heaven, and the view was awe-inspiring. The first time we got off the chairlift, we were speechless and couldn’t stop smiling. We had perfect weather the entire week, with sunshine and blue skies. Jake was so excited to be snowboarding on the best mountains in North America, and I was so grateful to be sharing that moment with him. I was literally overcome with gratitude and emotion. The resort and the skiing were great, but being there with my son made it perfect. He gave up spending his spring break on a tropical island with his girlfriend
“This trip meant the world to me because I got to share it with my son …”
relationship. Gone are the days of father and son knocking heads, and God knows we’ve had those moments. He’s a grown man now, and we’re able to interact on a new level. I loved the experience, and I love getting to know the good man he’s becoming. He makes me proud. I didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. That week in Canada, I truly did experience gratitude at altitude! -Len Spada
and his fraternity brothers to go skiing with me. I couldn’t believe how lucky that made me feel. Jake is a junior in college. He’ll be graduating soon and starting down his own path as an adult. I don’t know if I’ll ever get another chance to spend six days alone with him again. I spent the week just soaking it all in. The whole trip was spectacular. After skiing and snowboarding all day, we would go out for a nice dinner, get a drink together, and just talk. The simple joy of just spending time with Jake felt like a birthday gift to myself, not him. I really enjoyed entering this new stage in our
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