Skiing or snowboarding with backpacks is extremely helpful when it comes to hitting the slopes and not having to keep stopping at your locker or at the mid-mountain lodge. But anyone who knows anything about the mountain knows that skiing with a backpack isn’t without its own risks. Not only can a bag dislocate your shoulder if you fall improperly, it can also get stuck on the ski lift, causing potentially serious issues. And a ski lift accident that could have gone south fast is exactly what happened earlier this week at Arapahoe Basin in Keystone, Colorado.
If it wasn’t for Mickey Wilson (pictured above), a skier would have almost certainly died.
Mickey Wilson was in a ski lift at A-Basin in the chair behind a “friend of a friend.” As the “friend of a friend” tried to get off the lift, their backpack got caught on the lift and kept them on the chair. Even worse, the accident happened in such a way that they actually wound up choking by the neck on their backpack straps (presumably the cross-buckle that goes across your chest.)
Wilson, still on the chair behind, raced up the tower lift before he knew what he was doing. The thing is, Wilson is a “professional slackliner” (if there is such a thing) so he knew that if anyone would have a chance to save this person it would be him. Wilson literally slacklined downhill on frozen wires to reach the lift where this man was hanging.
“It was one of the most scary things I’ve ever seen, honestly,” said Mickey Wilson, as he recounted the rescue to the Denver Post. “Just seeing a person get the life sucked out of them. I kind of stopped thinking and just started acting.”
By the time he reached the hanging man, the man was unconscious. Without a knife and running out of time, Wilson began kicking the backpack with his boots, trying to break the man free. Thankfully the Ski Patrol had also arrived, and threw Wilson a knife with a perfect toss. Wilson cut the straps and the man fell about ten feet into the Ski Patrol who had to perform emergency CPR on the victim.
The craziest part? It’s that Wilson showed up to A-Basin to ski alone, but ran into some friends when he arrived and decided to join them. That’s why he was in the chair. Had he not shown up to ski solo, there’s a very good chance someone could have died that day at A-Basin.
You can watch the video of the rescue below.