Absolutely terrifying. A professional slackliner came to the rescue of an unconscious skier dangling from a ski lift at a Colorado ski resort on Wednesday, January 4.
The Denver Post reports that 28-year-old Mickey Wilson was on the ski lift when a friend in front of him got entangled in his backpack while trying to unload. The 30-year-old unidentified man began to hang by his neck by his backpack, which was still attached to the chair above him.
Wilson told the paper that it took him about five minutes to reach his distressed pal. He climbed the nearby lift tower and shimmied 30-feet to the man. Ski patrollers then tossed Wilson a knife, which he used to cut him free.
“It was one of the most scary things I’ve ever seen, honestly,” Wilson told The Denver Post. “Just seeing a person get the life sucked out of them. I kind of stopped thinking and just started acting.”
“He was not only caught, he was literally being hung by his neck by his backpack. He was hanging 3 feet, 4 feet below the chair,” he added. “His feet were maybe only about 10 feet off the snow.”
Wilson later posted a photo and account of the incident on Instagram. “Panic set in and we struggled in vain for about a minute to build a human pyramid to get to him but the powder was too deep and we toppled over,” he wrote. “Then I had a eureka moment. I realized I could climb the lift tower above the chair and climb onto the cable and shimmy down to him. I knew my slackline experience prepared me perfectly for this so I burst into action.”
Today I saved someone’s life. I think some strange forces were at work. I planned to ski by myself today. As fate had it though, some good friends ended up recognizing me despite my ski gear, and we joined forces for an epic pow day. Again, fate intervened. One of our crew got his backpack strap stuck in the chairlift as he tried to unload and the lift dragged him back down the hill. We were on the chair lift behind so we unloaded and ran down the hill to help him when we realized the worst possible thing had happened. The backpack had wrapped around his neck and he was unconscious, dangling 10 feet above the snow. Panic set in and we struggled in vain for about a minute to build a human pyramid to get to him but the powder was too deep and we toppled over. I yelled at the lift operator asking if the lift ran in reverse and he cried no. Ski patrol was on their way but not there yet. Panic was becoming terror as we realized we were about to watch our friend die in front of our helpless eyes. Then I had a eureka moment. I realized I could climb the lift tower above the chair and climb onto the cable and shimmy down to him. I knew my slackline experience prepared me perfectly for this so I burst into action. I climbed the tower and slid down to the the chair. It was second nature, just like being on a slackline only way colder and made of steel. I climbed down the chair and I first tried to break the strap by kicking it but I couldn’t. A newly arrived ski patrolman threw me a knife and I luckily caught it on the first try and cut the strap. Our friend fell like a doll into the snow. 8 or so ski patrolman then began CPR. Thankfully they were able to restore his breathing, ski him down to the base, and get him into an ambulance which rushed him to the hospital in Denver. I’d like to take this moment now to thank the #slacklife for the skills it has given me. It was incredibly fortunate I was there and able to act quickly. I’d also like to thank ski patrol for their strong work reviving our friend. I just got an update from the hospital and he’s doing quite well and will be released tomorrow! #thankful #lovelife #rightplacerighttime
According to Wilson, his pal was rushed to St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood and is now in a neck brace. The two spoke via FaceTime Wednesday night.
“It was incredibly fortunate I was there and able to act quickly. I’d also like to thank ski patrol for their strong work reviving our friend,” Wilson wrote on Instagram. “I just got an update from the hospital and he’s doing quite well and will be released tomorrow! #thankful #lovelife #rightplacerighttime.”
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