Sally Francklyn returns to skiing with the BOEC
Editor’s Note: Sally Francklyn is a former online editor of SKI and Skiing Magazine as well as the former blog editor of Vail Resorts. On March 24, 2012 Sally fell while skiing in the backcountry of Jackson, Wyo. and is now inspiring others with her story of surviving a traumatic brain injury. Watch her story here. Two years later, she’s getting back on skis with the help of the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, a local organization that does incredible work with adaptive skiers, wounded warriors, paralympians and more. Here, Sally recounts her fall and how she’s starting her climb back to normalcy. Stay tuned for more details from Sally on her work with the BOEC.
Two years ago, I was skiing in the backcountry out of Jackson Hole. I was with three other friends, and we rode the gondola up, then hiked out of bounds. When we got to where we were going to ski, we clicked into our skis. My friend went first to check out the conditions, and he said they were good, so I went second. I took a few turns, then I fell. It was so steep, that I slid down the snow for more than 800 feet. I hit my head on some rocks, and also had some broken bones. My friends skied down or hiked up to where I was stopped. I was unconscious. Luckily, I was wearing a helmet, which saved my life. What my friends did was what I needed, exactly how I needed it, and that’s also a major reason I survived the fall.
I was flight-for-life’d to the hospital in Idaho Falls, where I spent the next three weeks. Since I had recently moved to Wyoming from Colorado, I had a lot of friends who visited me from Colorado, as well as Jackson. Then, I was transferred to a hospital in Colorado Springs, where my parents lived and where I was from originally.
Although my life is not the same as it used to be, it could be a lot, lot worse. The way my friends reacted to the horrible situation is part of the reason I am who I am today. I’m getting back into the things I love doing — living on my own, going to the gym, and I’m doing things to help with my recovery. I used to be a ski patroller, and I’m not able to do as many things as I used to do like skiing bumps, expert runs, etc. I’m getting back in to the sport I love. I recently went with the BOEC (Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center), and with them is the first time I’ve downhill skied. My helmet was destroyed during my accident, so I was given a new one, which I wore the times I skied with BOEC.
There are two things extremely important to me- wearing a helmet, and skiing (while wearing a helmet). I’m glad I’m getting back into the sport I love doing, and if I wasn’t wearing a helmet, I wouldn’t be skiing. So although skiing is dangerous in different ways, I still love it- even though it altered my life.
— Sally Francklyn