What could have been a horrifying ski accident turned into a larger than life rescue thanks to a tightrope artist jumping into action.
An unidentified skier was riding a lift chair up a mountain at Arapahoe Basin in Colorado when he attempted to disembark the unit and got his backpack stuck on the rigging. Instead of skiing away from the lift, he went around the bullwheel and was sent back down the mountain. But after the lift operator turned off the machine, disaster struck.
Luckily, 28-year-old Mickey Wilson, a part-time ski instructor and professional slackliner, was riding in the chair behind him.
Mickey and the other nearby skiers attempted to make a human tower to reach the man, whom he described as a “friend of a friend”. When they kept toppling off of each other, however, Mickey 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,” says Mickey. “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,” he added.
Wilson attempted to dislodge the backpack’s strap by kicking it, but he was unsuccessful. The ski patrol then tossed him a knife from the ground, which he used to cut the strap loose, sending the man towards the ground.
Ski patrol performed CPR until the man started breathing again, and then transported him to the hospital. Despite reportedly having to wear a neck brace, the man is being released from the hospital today in good health.
“I’d like to take this moment now to thank the slack life 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,” says Mickey.
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