An incredible news story took place on January 5th in the Arapahoe Basin, Colorado. A young man nearly lost his life while he was spending the day in a ski resort.
While trying to get off the chairlift, the strap of his backpack remained attached to the machine.
Hanging by the neck at three meters in height, the young man quickly lost consciousness under the bewildered eyes of the witnesses of the scene.
Nobody could reach the victim, hanging well above the ground and completely out of reach, even by making a human pyramid.
The outcome of this accident could have been fatal if one of the skier’s friends was not a fan of slackline, a discipline that consists of balancing on a cable.
Mickey Wilson tells Denver Post: “The panic became terror. We were going to see our friend die before our helpless eyes. Then I had a eureka moment. I realized that I could climb on the tower, above the chairlift, climb on the cable and slide to him.”
The young man then balances on the wire until he reaches his friend and cuts with a knife thrown by a witness the strap of the backpack. “Our friend fell like a doll in the snow,” says Mickey Wilson. “The rescuers were able to start resuscitating him.” T
he young man is now out of danger and eternally grateful to his friend for saving his life!
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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
Henry Davidson has been the senior editor at American Magazine since 2018. A two-decade veteran of journalism, Henry’s work has appeared in the NPR, Examiner, The Sun and numerous other publications. He is a member of the United Media Guild.