Wednesday afternoon started out like any other for Mickey Wilson. He was looking forward to a great day of skiing on the freshly snow-draped mountains of Keystone, Colorado.
Mickey geared up for a day of solo skiing; however, as fate would have it, he ended up running into some friends at the mountain.
It was this chance meeting that would not only change Mickey's life forever, but would, in fact, save another man's life:
Around 11 a.m. after already getting in a few hours on the slopes, Mickey looked up to see a man dangling from the Arapahoe Basin chairlift.
After looking closer, he realized that not only was the man unconscious and hanging by his neck, but it was one of his friends.
Mickey told The Denver Post:
“It was one of the most scary things I’ve ever seen, honestly. Just seeing a person get the life sucked out of them. I kind of stopped thinking and just started acting.”
According to The Huffington Post, Mickey's friend, whose name remains anonymous, had been trying to unload something from his backpack while getting off the chairlift.
But his backpack got caught on the lift and dragged him around the bull wheel at the top of the lift and back down the mountain.
While trying to untangle his backpack, the man slipped and found himself being hung by his neck—causing him to pass out from lack of oxygen.
Mickey described what he saw when looked up to see the horrifying sight:
“He was not only caught, he was literally being hung by his neck by his backpack. He was hanging 3-feet, 4-feet below the chair. His feet were maybe only about 10 feet off the snow."
Without hesitation, Mickey jumped into action.
At first Mickey and others skiers tried to form a human pyramid to reach the unconscious friend; however, the group kept tumbling over before getting high enough.
Mickey then realized he could potentially save his friend by climbing the lift tower and shimmying across the cable.
Mickey knew he could do this because he's a professional slackliner. He travels all over the world doing competitions and has won Red Bull events.
For those unfamiliar with slacklining, it's the sport of balancing on a rope or strip of webbing that is fixed high above the ground:
So that is exactly what Mickey did.
After scaling the ski tower and maneuvering over 30 feet across the lift’s icy cable, Mickey reached his friend in less than five minutes.
At first, Mickey tried to kick the backpack lose, but that failed to work.
Then someone from down below threw Mickey up a knife, and on the first try Mickey caught it and cut down his friend:
His friend then dropped 10 feet into the snow where CPR was performed him, and he was revived. He was then taken down the mountain and to a hospital.
Despite people down below having urged him not to make the dangerous rescue, Mickey said it was the only way he knew how to save his friend:
“The only way I was able to get to him so fast was to climb the tower and shimmy down the line to him so fast.”
As for how this horrible thing occurred, Mickey said:
“There really wasn’t much that Arapahoe Basin as a ski area could have done to prevent this.
Arapahoe Basin did an amazing job of responding to this incident.”
As of Wednesday night, Mickey's friend was in the hospital and doing just fine.
He will be wearing a neck brace for a little while, but that's about the worst of it.