Aubrie Mindock

Professional skier, author of "When I Saw Heaven" and "Back Up On Skis," Olympic hopeful

Minutes before I died

My mother took this photo of me about 30 minutes before my Winter Park accident. We were in the lift line and my mom told my father and I to turn around for a quick picture. At the time we did not realize how significant this picture would be. 

How Life Has Changed:

I was 19 years old the day of my Winter Park accident. At the time I was just another girl who skied and had Olympic dreams. I was unknown and all I wanted to do was ski. Skiing was the only thing on my mind. That day, that moment my mother took the photo, I was set to win the race. I was set for Nationals and the Olympics. I was going for gold.

Moments later I hit my head. I sustained a severe concussion that killed me for a few moments. I also fractured my skull, fractured my neck, fractured my arm and fractured my knee. I actually died but I do not remember my death. Nothing about what happened to me hurt. It was very quick and I found myself in Heaven with God and my grandfather, who had died several months before my accident.

When I woke up in the hospital I was told that I would never ski again. Of course I had thoughts racing through my head but all of them were about how I was going to ski. How was I going to get back up? I was not going to quit or give up, not that easy.

One week went by and I begged my dad to let me ski again. My father and coaches told me that I needed to be off the snow. With the injuries I had all I could think about was getting back on the snow. Hearing that I could not ski was devastating but I was still determined. 

Only two weeks went by and my begging and pleading worked. My mother gave me the okay to ski and get back up. My coaches and father were hesitant but reluctantly, they all agreed. One week after I got back on the mountain I was back in the gates. With my arm still in a cast and my knee hurting extremely bad, I fought through the race course. Gate by gate I came flying down the mountain. I did well enough, through all of that pain, to get the last spot on the National team where I placed 5th. 

Today I am still skiing. I took the 2015-2016 season off competition to train and heal a little more. I still suffer from my concussion but I can't complain too much because I am back up in Olympic training! I am also training to ski all of USA's 14,000 foot mountains this spring and the following year. It will take me 2-3 seasons, weather permitting, to reach my goal. 

I want you who read my story to know that no matter what happens to you in life there is always hope. We all go through adversity but we can overcome and we can get back up in the race. Nothing can stop you from achieving your goals. Never, ever, stop striving. Miracles happen. Dreams do come true.