Most fathers recognize "The Moment" right away. Maybe it's because it hits them like a left hook to the chin.
It could be the first time your son or daughter beats you in a sprint, or when they hole a 10-foot putt on the final green and post a better score for the first time.
Or, as it happened last week, your daughter skis you into the ground.
Look, it's all good. I'm 62. Smoothing along as a harmless intermediate, occasionally picking up speed on mogul-less terrain, is more than good enough for me. I'm happy to survive with all limbs intact.
That said, lessons about Father Time were learned as wife Laura and yours truly watched Shelley our fearless 15-year-old blow by both of us during a family ski trip last week to Bear Valley.
It wasn't close. As I carved safe and easy turns, she pointed the tips straight down the fall line and ripped. I was left in the next ZIP code as she waited for me at the bottom each time.
"How long have you been here?" I asked.
"A while," she deadpanned.
Youth can be so cruel.
Shelley learned how to ski at Heavenly when she stood no taller than a kid's ski pole. We wanted to introduce her to the snow as early as possible, so that was a good thing.
The goal last week her first snowboard lesson had been postponed for some time. Finally, we set aside a day for Shelley's first morning as a rider.
She did great. The first two realities of snowboarding, to fall forward on your knees or backward on your elbows, were mastered quickly. She stayed upright by noon.
But two days later, after Tuesday night's modest snowfall, the family elected to don skis together for the day.
It was fun, exhilarating and, in the end, humbling.
I've regretted not learning how to ski until my 20s, so we made sure to at least give our daughter an early taste of winter fun on the mountain. Trouble is, she travels at speeds I no longer can even imagine.
The day broke clear and a bit cooler than earlier in the week. We started modestly on Cub, Bear's easiest slope, but later graduated to the Back Side and Grouse Connection, a long intermediate trail featuring a few attention-getting steeps.
I stayed close behind my daughter for a while and was content to just watch her complete her turns. A gradual uphill climb led to a winding descent and, when I reached the top, Shelley was gone.
She had shifted into a gear not accessible to me. I didn't see her again until we climbed aboard the Polar Express for the trip back up.
"Where were you, Dad?" she asked.
"Trying to catch up," I panted.
We shared a laugh that continued all the way back down to Bear's mid-mountain lodge. The day was good, memorable and for the old man in the house educational.
Like moments should be.
THE HOME STRETCH Employees at both Bear and Dodge Ridge awoke to snow flurries Tuesday morning, which began what's expected to be a week of unsettled weather in the Sierra. Not much snow is expected, but any amount is appreciated in March.
Bear has projected a closing date of April 14, though it's subject to change depending on weather and demand. Despite not much snowfall between December and this month, the resort off Highway 4 in Alpine County east of Murphys has enjoyed a solid season.
"The storms in December gave us a good base that held up well with all the cold night-time temperatures we've had. We really haven't needed to make any snow since November," spokeswoman Rosie Sundell said. "Sometimes, the timing of the snow is more important than the quantity. The snow we received always seemed to come during the week, which turned out great for us."
Dodge is scheduled to close on April 7.
SKI NOTES Everyone is invited to Bear's Easter service, to be held at the peak of the Kuma chair late Saturday afternoon. A wine and cheese tasting will be held at the lodge later that evening. ... Last Wednesday, the first day of spring, brought seven to 12 inches to Kirkwood. Indeed, last week's storm came just in time for spring skiing and riding everywhere.