Brian Berkelbach: Farewell, Steamboat |

Brian Berkelbach: Farewell, Steamboat

Nearly two years ago today, I threw my cap up as high as I could on Folsom Field as I had officially graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with a degree in business administration. While my friends were looking for apartments and jobs in Denver, I was comparing snowfall totals for the previous ski season at resorts across the country. It had been a dream of mine for several years to live slopeside at a resort for a couple of years and ski my brains out to hopefully "get it out of my system."

It was a no-brainer. Steamboat, here I come.

Well, my two years are up, and I am starting a new chapter this Thursday as I pack up and head a few hundred miles west on U.S. Highway 40 to Salt Lake City. I am chasing the girl of my dreams as she pursues a master's in speech-language pathology from the University of Utah. I really hate to leave this wonderful place, but at least I don't have to hang up my skis — her other options were Oklahoma State University and University of Alabama.

Sure, I will miss the powder days, the face shots and the hot springs, but it's the community here in Steamboat that I am having a tough time leaving behind. As I turn a quarter-century old this June, I look back at the places I've lived — Philadelphia, the Jersey Shore, Boulder and Steamboat Springs — and no place compares to Steamboat. From the people, to the opportunities, to the scenery, to the weather, to the quality of life, we are all so lucky to live here. I write this as I sit at my favorite coffee shop, and my so-called "noise-canceling" headphones are no match for the people around me. While most people might consider the noise a disturbance, I can't help but smile. The happiness and exuberance is truly contagious.

I was the head coach for the JV lacrosse team at the high school this spring, and something had hit me in the past few weeks. I got to know the kids, the parents, the coaches and other faculty members at Steamboat Springs High School. I had become a member of the community, and I learned what Steamboat is really all about. Everyone truly cares about one another and their success. People go out of their way for others. This is a community I want to come back to. These are the type of people I want to surround myself with.

I wrapped up our season after our final win against Grand Junction this weekend. I thanked each of my players for an incredible season and let them know I was leaving Steamboat, but that I would be back one day. The team "brought it in" for one final chant. And it went: "1-2-3 Brothers!"

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I can think of no better place than Steamboat Springs to start and raise a family. I will be back. Thank you, Steamboat, and thank you to the community for everything you have given me during the past two years. I wish everyone the best, and look forward to my return one day. Go Sailors!

Brian Berkelbach

Steamboat Springs

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