By Sally Francklyn
My family has a ski cabin in Leadville, so I grew up skiing at Ski Cooper (and my dads backpack when he did hut trips). When I “graduated” from Ski Cooper at age eight, we began skiing at Copper Mountain. (This was before Super Bee and all the other lift “upgrades-” I remember when it used to be called B1 and B2.) I joined Junior Ski Patrol at Copper when I was 15 years old. Patrolling for ten seasons made me realize that hard work and commitment were necessary for success. I made some really close friends, and helped with some pretty traumatic events. It reminded me that health and life are fleeting.
I joined Junior Ski Patrol in high school, graduated, patrolled through college, and kept at it for a year or two after I graduated from there. I love the ski industry—when I finished college, I worked at Vail Resorts, and after a short time working there, I was hired at my dream job—as the online editor for SKI Magazine in Boulder. I travelled the world, skiing in places like New Zealand, Chile, and Canada, and got to write about my visits, fresh snow, and new (to me!) skiing there.
After being laid off from my dream job, I accepted another dream job in Jackson Hole, WY. It was with a public relations firm that worked with multiple ski industry clients (like Arc’teryx, Dynafit, and Nordica). The fact that my job would involve skiing FOR work was one of the main reasons I accepted that and moved up north to Wyoming.
Skiing with our clients in the morning “for” work was incredible. When I was there, one of my favorite bands came to town to play. I quickly made friends, loved the small town, and truly loved what I did for work (it didn’t really feel like work).
A month and a half after I moved there, I was seriously injured in a backcountry ski accident. The terrain I was skiing was not out of my comfort zone—the three guys I was skiing with and I had beacons, shovels, and probes. It was spring, so we weren’t that concerned about avalanches, but we made sure it was safe to ski anyway. I was skiing on some Nordica skis from the company I worked for—we had a quiver of skis that were ours for the testing. The din must have not been set high enough, because after I took a few turns, my ski fell off and I went careening down the slope, stopping when I bashed my head on a rock. I suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Now, I’m back in Colorado, and skiing at Copper again. Although I don’t ski as well as I used to, I still love it. I got custom ski boots from SureFoot at Copper, and although the boots were expensive, they’ve made all the difference in my skiing. I can now link turns like I used to, and can carve an edge in the slope without even trying. These new boots have confirmed that it was a great decision to keep skiing. Copper Mountain Resort has been my home since I was eight years old, and it’s my home again now—and I never plan to leave.