Sometimes, I wish my ski accident hadn’t happened. But when I notice that my life has truly changed over the past three years, I’m actually grateful. Because of the accident, I’ve been given multiple opportunities to speak to fellow skiers about how wearing a helmet saved my life. I spoke at the Valhalla movie premiere by Sweetgrass Productions, the 5Points Film Festival in Aspen and Carbondale, and a Summit County Medical Center event. If I hadn’t had this accident, I wouldn’t be offered so many opportunities to speak publicly.
March was my three-year anniversary of my accident- our family friends, whose son also had a TBI, call it “rebirthday.” The weekend of March 27-29 (which was a couple days after the anniversary), my parents wanted to get one final ski day in before the season ended at Copper. I decided to stay at the ski house while they skied. One of my close friends from patrol, Colby, invited me to have dinner with his fiancée, Andrea, at Tucker’s Tavern, which used to give a free beer to patrollers, so I know it fairly well. I already had plans to have dinner with my parents, but Colby asked if they could come along. Agreeing, we set a time that we would meet at the restaurant. After my parents got back from the slopes, we went over to Tucker’s to meet Colby and Andrea for dinner. While on the path walking over, I saw Colby’s brother, which was not unusual. I told him that I was excited that he was coming to dinner, too. When I walked in the restaurant, I heard a chorus of voices say, “Surprise!” I couldn’t believe it– there were 30 or so ski patrollers in the restaurant.
I was so shocked and amazed that all those friends and supporters had come to celebrate. I’ve spent so much time around the Copper Mountain ski patrollers, and I was incredibly grateful that they all showed up for my anniversary party. My mom called the head of ski patrol the week before and asked him to encourage patrollers during every morning meeting to attend my gathering. Some of my good friends came, some of whom I hadn’t seen in so long, and I feel very fortunate that many people came to celebrate with me. Lucky for me, my parents graciously offered to run this whole thing- it was their idea, they contacted the head of ski patrol, and they paid for everyone to come to my event. If it wasn’t for their thoughtfulness, I wouldn’t have been able to celebrate with the patrollers that mean so much to me. To my parents, all the ski patrollers who came, thank you- from the bottom of my heart.