Spring Training

I’m sitting at my desk with the window open watching snow melt rushing down the Eagle River on March 20, 2011 – the first day of spring.  Winter is officially over.  Just as St. Patrick’s Day celebrations were shifting into high gear a heavy snow started falling in Vail.

St. Patrick's Day - Vail, Colorado

The spring storm was predicted to drop 3 – 7 inches of fresh on the Shining Mountain valley.

St. Patrick's Day Storm 2011

The next morning while much of the valley was nursing a Guinness hangover, both Vail and Beaver Creek reported 9 new inches of snow from the St. Patrick’s Day storm.

Fresh Lines above Vail Village - March 18, 2011

This latest storm brings Vail Mountain’s season total to 395″ and the third snowiest season I’ve been given since moving to the valley.  But as much as the ample snow and abundant sunshine has me in a perpetually good mood, there’s something sneaking up behind me.

Morning on Gore Creek - Vail, Colorado

Gore Creek - Vail, Colorado

Like remembering that camp will be ending in a month, the first day of spring is a warning flare to those of us who love sliding on snow that the 2010 – 2011 winter season is almost over.   There’s certainly potential for a few more storms like the St. Paddy’s Day one but at this time of year, those storms are often followed by warm temps that melt the new fresh in 24 hours or less.

Sparkling Day - Vail, Colorado

Time to soak up the shiny bluebird spring days, pray for a few more storms and enjoy turning through slushy mashed potatoes because in a month Vail Mountain will be closing.  Any lift access turns will need to be made at Abasin, Snow Gods willing.

Montezuma's Bowl - Arapahoe Basin

But while I glimpse my lament for the onset of mud season, I love knowing that the change of the seasons welcomes things like trips to Moab, the Teva Mountain Games and baseball.  As a Red Sox fan living in Colorado I get my NESN fix from mlb.tv and the MLB Network.  I’m stoked for the start of the regular season and as much as I’m a Red Sox fan, I’m a baseball fan so each year we try catch a few Rockies games at Coors Field.

Coors Field - Denver, Colorado

Coors Field is an amazing ballpark.  No, it didn’t open the year the Titanic sank.  Babe Ruth never pitched there.  Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski never hit home runs there either.  But Todd Helton does.  And during the seventh inning stretch when the crowd is mid-way through “America, The Beautiful” they point the cameras west for a live shot of the actual purple mountains majesty.  It’s an amazing experience.

Coors Field - Gate D

Our last game was a rubber match in a series of three between the Rockies and the San Fransisco Giants on a beautiful summer day.  The two nine year old kids sitting behinds us with their families were so amped to be at the game, the seven hour drive from Kansas a distant memory thanks to hits by Torrealba, Hawpe and Tulowitzki.

Coors Field - Rockies vs. Giants

This past year and the one ahead of me are rife with change; when I look back on this time, I imagine it will stand out as a defining period in my career.  So this preseason as Big Papi trains for his best season since 2006 , I embark on my own training adventures with a Nikon in hand alongside skiers, kayakers and climbers.

Josh Burton - Teva 2009

Yes, winter is over and spring is here.  And yes, I am going to be sad saying goodbye to the 2010 – 2011 winter season.  But I’m also really excited to start down the trail toward the life that keeps me up nights.  Besides, “it ain’t over ’til it’s over” – NOAA‘s reporting a winter weather advisory for the beginning of this week:

“A STRONG WINTER-LIKE SPRING STORM WILL BRING SNOW TO THE MOUNTAINS OF EASTERN UTAH AND WESTERN COLORADO MONDAY NIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY. THE STORM WILL PUSH ACROSS THE GREAT BASIN MONDAY GENERATING STRONG WINDS ACROSS THE AREA WITH SNOW BEGINNING OVER THE EASTERN UINTA MOUNTAINS DURING THE AFTERNOON. SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW WILL SPREAD ACROSS THE WESTERN COLORADO HIGH COUNTRY MONDAY NIGHT AND WILL CONTINUE INTO TUESDAY…LINGERING OVER THE NORTHERN MOUNTAINS INTO TUESDAY EVENING”.

Awesome.  Happy Spring!

Catch the Fever

“The one constant through all the years…has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past…It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again”.
– Terence Mann

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