Mickey Wilson credits the skills he learned as a professional slackliner that helped free a man who was dangling from a chairlift in Colorado last week.
Wilson was skiing with a group of friends at Arapahoe Basin ski resort outside Denver when one of their buddies snagged his backpack on the chair lift trying to get off. When the chair swung around to head down, their friend was still dangling and loosing consciousness, Wilson told the Denver Post.
The operator stopped the lift but they were unable to reach the man until ski patrol arrived.
“Then I had a eureka moment,” Wilson wrote on Insstagram. “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.”
Wilson climbed the tower and slid down the cable, which he said resembled a slackline but colder and made of steel. Once he reached his friend, rescue crew arrived, but he was already in a position to free him so they threw him up a knife and he cut the man free.
After treating him with CPR, the man regained consciousness at the seen and was said to be recovering at an area hospital. No word yet on whether the ski resort approves of Wilson’s rescue methods as they investigate the incident, but nonetheless he got the job done and everybody is thankful. It probably wasn’t the most advised form of rescue for just anybody.
“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,” Wilson wrote.
A similar incident occurred at the Sundance Resort in Utah just before Christmas when a boy dangled from a chairlift by his backpack. In that case, the ski patrol fetched a latter and brought him down.
And just before that, a visitor to Mount Ashland Ski Area in Oregon dangled upside-down from a chairlift.
Dang, seems like something’s up with these chairlifts.
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