Sally Francklyn | Our Hero.

To the three of us who run this website, Sally Fracklyn is a true super hero. Her story is one of inspiration, courage and other-worldly perseverance. To think she is returning to the town of Jackson a short 8 months after a life-altering injury is amazing to us. Check this out for a first person account of her story and all information on the upcoming event this December 8th at the Pink Garter Theater in Jackson (and how to participate remotely!) We personally ask all of you to check this out. It would mean the world to us.

Summary: Sally was skiing with friends on a beautiful bluebird Saturday, March 24, in the JHMR backcountry.  She fell, slid into a rock and sustained a head injury.  Although Sally is on the way to recovery, she’s got a long road in front of her. This Saturday, December 8th there is an event and celebration for her, Search and Rescue and Jackson Hole Ski  at the Pink Garter in Jackson. Scroll down for more information. And yes, you can participate remotely.

The Story: (told through Jeff Brines point of view)

March 24th 2012. The day started much like any perfect almost-spring day in Jackson. Blue sky, below-freezing temps (but warming) and an empty early morning tram line. On this day, we decided to go ski Martini Chutes, named for the cocktail-glass like shape just outside the boundary of JHMR. Our crew consisted of the 3 people who run this website and one very special person whom we had all just recently met, Sally Francklyn.

The former Copper Mountain Ski Patroller had just moved to Jackson a few weeks prior and gotten into the swing of things almost annoyingly quickly. From early morning laps on Teton Pass to a full time job with a happening PR firm in town, she had Jackson more “dialed” in 3 weeks than most do in 3 years. The three of us felt lucky to call the former online editor of Ski and Skiing a friend, as she is a non-stop joy to be around. (and yeah, a ripping skier)

As we exited the tram on this particular day we choose to hike Cody Peak and later determine our best route venture to the Martinis. After some discussion, we decided to go look at a couloir called “Once is Enough”, as it was the most direct route to the Martinis and would allow us to safely arrive on top of our line before temps became dangerously warm as predicted.

I went first. Making careful but comfortable turns down into the choke and off to the skier’s right side waiting for the next skier. That is when the accident happened. I didn’t see the fall but I distinctly remember seeing a ski rocket through the choke before any loose snow or any skier. My brain hiccupped. Not wanting to believe what it was seeing. Sally had fallen, was sliding and had no hope of self-arresting.

Sally hit the wall on the left hand side and I immediately knew something was very wrong. From that moment until Sally was medivaced to Idaho Falls were some of the hardest moments of my life. Those feelings of panic, fear, and anxiety are some that I cannot accurately articulate through words. I’m thankful for those who kept me calm on the phone that day and directed all my energies to helping this person who was quiet literally fighting for her life.

If there is one piece of advice I can offer to anyone ever caught in similar circumstances in their life it is this: Stay in the moment. Don’t let your mind wander to the land of “what ifs”.  Do everything you can for that person without letting emotion in the way. Don’t stray. Stay focused.

Ski patrol arrived within an hour with the heli arriving an hour after that. Watching the helicopter land was one of relief followed by the extreme reality of the situation setting in. I wasn’t even sure if I could ski down from there. Skiing officially ceased to matter and I wanted nothing to do with sliding on snow the remaining 3000 vertical feet to the base.

Sally’s injuries consisted of a broken ankle, broken back, numerous superficial wounds, a skull fracture and a traumatic brain injury. Sally has battled with courage and strength that is nothing short of inspirational as she has ventured down the long road of recovery.

This Saturday marks a major milestone in her recovery. Not only is it her first time traveling since the incident but she is traveling back to the place it all happened. She’s coming to Jackson. And it’s a big deal….

Yeah Sally!!!

The Celebration:

This Saturday, December 8th there will be a celebration, silent auction and raffle at the Pink Garter Theater in Jackson, WY. Beer, good times, an unreal amount of top quality items (heli skiing, cat skiing, and top shelf gear) in a raffle and silent auction all benefitting Search and Rescue, Jackson Hole Ski Patrol and Sally Francklyn.

Via Chris Fracnklyn (Sally’s Brother) on Facbeook: “For those of you who are interested in participating and live outside of Jackson Hole, there are a few ways you can help out! On EBay, will be auctioning a few ski package with prizes ranging from goggles to Arc’teryx jackets to K2 skis. If you are looking to bid, just search superwomansally. My sister has been feverishly been designing and hand making beaded bracelets, and those will be available via EBay for $15 as well! There will also be a raffle on site in Jackson, with tickets selling for $5 each. Prizes will include various ski apparel, equipment, a full day of Cat skiing, with the grand prize of a full day of Heli Skiing in Alaska! If you are interested in participating in the raffle, contact me directly. Drawing will be Saturday night. And as always, continued donations on Sally’s GoFundMe support page, are a blessing for our family.

We have received and unbelievable amount of support from each of you already and my family can’t thank everyone enough. It has been truly special to be supported by so many great people.
Linked below is a beautiful article written by one of my sister’s close friends in the skiing community. If you need perspective on how exciting this trip is for me, read the article. If you haven’t had the opportunity to know my sister, watch the video Powder Magazine links. It will show you why it is so important to help support the groups that strive every day to save the lives of people so desperately in need. I hope that no one else I know has to undergo what our family has gone through, but in the event you find yourself in a similar situation, I would ask only that you had as great a group of people as the EMS workers up in Jackson Hole and Idaho Falls. From the ski patrollers who were first on scene, to the on-call doctor that jumped into her helicopter to ensure she stayed alive, to the unbelievably skilled doctors and phenomenally caring nursing staff that held not only my sister but also my family together during days when a positive outcome seemed utterly impossible. To the old friend who arrived at the airport to transport my sister from airport to hospital, to the staff that calmed her while she screamed and cried, to the therapists who have and continue to teach her to speak, walk, and live again. And to our god sent doctor that knows firsthand what it is like to suffer this pain. Plain and simple, each and every one of them has helped keep Sally alive in every sense of the word during each subsequent minute following her devastating accident.We wouldn’t be here without you. 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

Stay Connected:

Her website

Her facebook page

Her Caring Bridge page


    • JeffBrinesJeffBrines says

      Thanks Heather. I could probably write 100 pages on that day and the days that followed. Heavy stuff. In the words of Winston Churchill…”when in hell, keep going…” Sally has certainly kept going. And its impressive stuff. EDIT: To add, Heather, your article was more beautifully written. Very awesome indeed.

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