Professional slackliner talks about climbing chairlift tower to save hanging skier


Mickey Wilson rescues hanging skier at Arapahoe Basin in Colorado

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ARAPAHOE BASIN, Colo. -- If you’re ever in need of a superhero, Mickey Wilson may be the man you’d want to choose.

"Gosh, what’s the definition of a hero?  It’s probably somebody fighting real terrorist in Iraq or Syria or Aleppo or something, not me,” Wilson said Friday from the base of Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort.

Wilson won’t call himself a hero, but Wednesday he did help save a man’s life.

“The chairlift stopped and people started screaming.” He said that's the moment he realized something was wrong.

A man was seen hanging lifelessly from one of the lift’s chairs.

“The backpack strap caught in the chairlift and the chairlift drug him around the top.  Somehow that other backpack strap wrapped around his neck,” Wilson said.

Wilson along with two others tried a human pyramid to reach the dangling skier.

“His feet were 10 feet above the ground,” Wilson said.

But with fresh powder, he said the snow was deep and unstable.

“I felt something that I’ve never felt before, a real urgency, an inherent human desire to save another human's life because that’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Then came his Eureka moment.

“I took off my gloves and I climbed up the lift tower,” he said.

A professional slackliner by trade, Wilson’s aim was the cable above the lift.

“In slacklining we call it butt scooting, really fast, hand over hand and I was moving as fast as I could. I covered 30 feet in 15 seconds,” he said of moving toward the chair which held the unconscious man.

“Ski Patrol showed up at the right moment and made the world’s most perfect toss with the knife, 20 feet up, I caught it, opened it up and cut him down,” Wilson said.

Like many superheroes, Wilson still won’t admit he is one.

“I think hero is a weird word, I think if I hadn’t done it, ski patrol would have been right on my tail getting him down too,” he said.

Wilson said the man he saved wants to remain anonymous but was released from the hospital Friday morning with just a few broken bones. He told Wilson he's excited to be back on the mountain soon.

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