KEYSTONE, Colo. — A man who was unconscious while dangling from his neck on a chairlift at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area was saved by a professional slackliner in a daring rescue on Wednesday.
Mickey Wilson posted photos to social media showing the harrowing rescue after he climbed a lift tower, went across the lift cable and cut down the man with a knife.
“Today I saved someone’s life. I think some strange forces were at work,” Wilson wrote on Facebook.
Wilson was skiing with friends when a member of the crew got his backpack strap stuck in the chairlift as he tried to unload. 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,” Wilson wrote. “The backpack had wrapped around his neck and he was unconscious, dangling 10 feet above the snow.”
Wilson said he and his friends tried to build a human pyramid to get to him but they couldn’t.
“Panic was becoming terror as we realized we were about to watch our friend die in front of our helpless eyes,” Wilson wrote.
Then, Wilson had what he called a “Eureka” moment.
He climbed the lift tower above the chair and onto the cable, then slid down to his friend.
“I knew my slackline experience prepared me perfectly for this so I burst into action,” Wilson wrote.
Unable to break the backpack strap, a member of the ski patrol arrived and threw Wilson a knife.
“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,” Wilson wrote.
Breathing was restored and the man was taken to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center then to St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood.
Wilson said his friend is doing quite well and will be released on Thursday.