[past] president’s day, part one

february 21, 2011. the day i think i'll always want to remember and try to forget. the day this new chapter in my life began.

on friday the 18th, i drove up to flagstaff to spend the three-day holiday weekend with my boyfriend, troy. that night, we watched the Dark Knight. saturday we drove into the woods and played in the snow.
sunday was church and a yummy homemade dinner. i don't remember what we made, but i know it included biscuits. the whole weekend we talked about how we wished it would snow really hard so that i would get snowed in and have to stay in flagstaff longer.

on monday morning, we got up early, jumped into our longjohns and thick socks, filled our camelbacks and headed up to snowbowl for a half day of snowboarding before i had to head back to tempe. this was only our second snowboarding trip of the season. i was pretty sick during the first one up in brianhead, utah, so i was really hoping to have a solid day at snowbowl. even before we got up the mountain, though, i was feeling nervous and not as excited as i had hoped. looking back, i wonder if i somehow knew what was going to happen. but to be fair, feeling nervous is definitely not new for me -- i'm a worrier (that's why my friends call me whiskers. <--- if you get this reference, consider me impressed).

worried or not, i didn't want to ruin the trip for troy, so we bought our lift tickets and started riding. my worry eventually subsided, and we had several fun runs. my right leg was hyperextending a lot, making carving very difficult. i figured it was leftover weakness from my broken ankle that hadn't returned back to normal yet. in fact, i had started seeing a physical therapist to try to strengthen my muscles. so, i just chalked it up to a weak leg.

around 1:30, i told troy i was going to take a break and rest my leg. i unstrapped and walked into the lodge to go to the bathroom. my right leg was like jelly. i almost couldn't walk. dang, i thought. maybe i should call it a day. so i limped back outside and sat down by the lift and waited for troy to finish a run. when he made it back, i told him i was going to rest a bit more, and then i'd join him again after his next run. he left. i pulled out a leftover biscuit and started eating. i saw troy get on the sunset lift and start his ascent. the next hour was the scariest of my life.

like a typical right-hand-dominant person, i was feeding myself the biscuit with my right hand. after the third or fourth bite, i noticed my arm felt heavy. then really heavy. then it was gone. i couldn't lift it. and i couldn't move my leg. within 30 seconds, i had lost all movement on my right side, and it was completely numb.

immediately freaking out, i scrambled for my phone. dead. there was a girl and a guy sitting close to me. i frantically asked the girl to use her phone and fumbled over the keys dialing troy's number. no answer. redial. no answer. one more time. nothing. my freak-out had now turned into intense panic.

"please!" i yelled to the girl and guy, "please go get ski patrol! i need help!"

"uh, ok," they said. but they didn't move. more urgently this time, i begged them to hurry and get help. the guy got up and went toward the lodge.

i laid back on the snow, trying to get ahold of myself. i prayed and pleaded for Heavenly Father to help me. my hyperventilating was causing my left side to tingle and not work properly. i'm losing my left side too, i thought in terror.


  1. wow. that sounds so scary, ash. i'm so glad you are writing this!
    p.s. I thought they called you whiskers because you were curious as a cat? :)

  2. thanks for sharing your story, ashley. will be thinking of you often.

  3. I'm anxious to hear more!! You have me on the edge of my seat!!

    Tricia Thompson

  4. "My friends call me whiskers, because I'm curious like a cat!"