It’s a good, strong name. You don’t have to spell it out to anyone. It’s easy to pronounce. Crossing the T with a swirl is always fun. And well, any baby with the last name Burton sounds as cute as a button.

There’s the director, Tim Burton. And the actor, Richard Burton.

And then you have this guy –

Jake Burton.
Jake Burton – founder of Burton Snowboards.

Most people know him by his snowboard brand.


And then you have me. Julie Burton. An embarrassment to the name scattered all over Keystone, Colorado.

The expected happened – I went crazy on top of a mountain.

I did try.

I screamed at Scott. “I’m in hell” was my standard response when the ski patrol asked if I was ok. I fell. I fell again. My knees buckled. I was cold. I was hot. For once in my life, I felt all of my old bones of 33 years. Newborn babies straight from the womb sped around me. I walked down the mountain. I got a cramp in my leg. I sat in the snow and cried. I hyperventilated. I crawled to a terror-stricken woman sitting in the snow. She said she was from California and has never skied before. We rode the lift down from a green. We got laughs but hey, the lift ended at a bar. We waved back.

The ride of shame.
A Burton on the ride of shame.

That was my first and only attempt at skiing. The mountains took my breath away.

They took my breath away to an 85 percent oxygen level. I started my rapid decline to death caused by the flu made worse by altitude sickness. That’s what the doctor said after he laughed at my last name.

A Burton needs oxygen.
A Burton walking with an oxygen tank.

I spent the next two days in my hotel room, drugged up with a fever and chills. Scott said I cried and talked in my sleep. He kept medicine in me in between his ski runs and hot tub time with our friends. I don’t remember any of it.

I cried at the airport. I was asked if I had ebola. I was asked if my real name was, in fact, Burton. I was asked, “what year is it?”

I’m typing this from my death bed in Kansas. I don’t require an oxygen tank anymore.

If I make it out alive, I will start a women’s fishing apparel line named Burton.

I’m bringing this name back down to sea level.

Have you ever gotten sick on vacation? Have you ever gotten altitude sickness? Have you ever spent a vacation crying the whole time? I hope Jake Burton never reads this. Sorry, Jake. I tried.