Mickey Wilson (@trickymickeywilson) is credited with saving a friend’s life on one dramatic day at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area some five years ago.
Wilson’s story went viral when it broke back in 2017, but we thought it’s worth a revisit.
Wilson was skiing with friends during a powder day at A Basin back in January of 2017. The group stopped for a breather when they noticed the chairlift overhead had stopped moving.
Wilson then heard a scream coming from down the chairlift, but couldn’t see what was happening because of the winter storm engulfing the ski area.
The group moved closer to the sound of the scream, and that’s when they saw the dramatic scene unfolding. An advanced skier, and coincidentally one of Wilson’s friends, was hanging from the chairlift with his backpack strap wrapped around is neck.
The man was trying to break free, but eventually went unconscious. That’s when Wilson jumped into action.
The hero climbed the chairlift pole and used his professional slacklining skills to shimmy down the haul rope to reach the dangling skier.
Wilson caught a knife from a ski patroller down below and freed the skier to fall into the powder below. Ski patrol rushed to the injured man and resuscitated him on the scene.
The man survived, and was released from a Denver-area hospital the following day.
It’s such an incredible story, and one that needs to be told every once in a while to keep the legendary heroics of Mickey Wilson alive in conversation.
Wilson spoke with Denver7 about the incident. You can watch him tell the full story in the 9-minute video below:
Wilson posted his depiction of the events that unfolded in an Instagram post back in 2017. You can read his full breakdown 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.
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!
By Matt Lorelli