We have shared stories with you before of snowy rescues, like the story of the man who saved a trapped mare from an icy mountainside or the couple who kept each other alive while stranded on a freezing mountain together. But perhaps no rescue has been as dramatic and heart-stopping as the one that just took place at Arapahoe Basin in Colorado.
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Mickey Wilson is a professional slackliner– a sport similar to tightrope walking– but had decided to switch it up one day with a ski trip. He had planned on skiing alone that day, but he ran into some friends and joined their party. Little did he know, he was in for much more than a casual day on the slopes.
As Mickey prepared to hop off of a ski lift, the man in front of him– who he describes as a friend of a friend– had a terrible accident. The man’s backpack was caught in the ski lift as he attempted to exit. “He was not only caught, he was literally being hung by his neck by his backpack,” explains Mickey. The backpack tightened on the man’s neck, strangling him as Mickey and his friends scrambled to get him down.
“It was one of the most scary things I’ve ever seen, honestly,” said Mickey, “Just seeing a person get the life sucked out of them. I kind of stopped thinking and just started acting.”
That’s when Mickey’s slackline experience came to the man’s rescue. Mickey shared the story in the caption of the Instagram photo below:
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.
…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!
Mickey also posted a video of the moment he was able to free his friend from the lift, dropping him to the ground where he was saved.
Wow. Talk about right place right time! Thank goodness for Mickey’s quick thinking.
Share this incredible rescue today!
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