Brita Colero describes what happened on January 9, 2021 as “an accident in the purest sense of the word accident.”
The Lake Country, B.C. woman was skiing at SilverStar Mountain Resort that afternoon and had stopped in the middle of the run to check-in with her group.
They were on Caliper Ridge, a steep black diamond run that runs underneath the chairlift on the resort’s backside.
Colero said she was about to head off again when she put one of her poles down “at a funny angle and somehow sort of tripped” herself.
She said she sat down backward when she tripped, so her skis didn’t pop off, as they often do when a skier falls.
She found she couldn’t get up or stop herself from sliding down the hill.
“Basically, I just took some deep breaths knowing that really this was out of my control and my life was essentially in Gods hands,” Colero recalled.
“And then BAM, white, and then my eyes were open looking at my friend.”
She’d slid into a chairlift pole covered in a mat.
Among other injuries, the mother of three had broken her spinal column leaving her unable to move her legs.
“For myself, I can be grateful for what I have. It could have been a life-ending injury and I’m alive,” she said, during an interview from GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver where she is currently a patient.
The elementary school counsellor is expected to spend several months at the rehab centre.
“There is some certainty and a lot of uncertainty about what will happen. I have very good function chest up and I have some sensation below that. Really it is hard to say where that will go. The doctors have told me that their hope for me in being at GF Strong is that I would be able to be in a manual wheelchair and be fully independent,” Colero said.
The Lake Country woman has been skiing since childhood and is expecting to be back on the slopes in some way in the future.
Asked about what she’d say to other skiers in light of what she’s experienced, Colero said they should “rip it up!”
Colero said she has been overwhelmed by the community support her family has received since the accident.
“I will live on in this new chapter and I’m so grateful for people’s help. It’s humbling to accept it,” Colero said.
“My thanks to everybody. Just keep pressing on. Know that I’m getting better every day.”