Only an 11-year-old would describe a fall from a chairlift as “fun.”
That’s what Tristan Stead, a young boy from Seattle, Washington, said after surviving a fall from a lift at British Columbia’s Whistler-Blackcomb resort. But that’s only because he got through what he calls the “scary part.”
According to reports, Stead slipped as he was trying to grab a ski pole he dropped while loading the Peak Express. His uncle grabbed him as the chair started going up, and he and Stead’s aunt immediately began yelling for the operator to shut down the lift.
The lift operator managed to stop the chair between the first and second towers, but the 80-pound boy was already dangling from the chair, held on by his uncle.
It’s a parent’s worst nightmare, and it was all captured on video.
In the video, you can see the boy’s uncle holding onto his jacket after he somehow managed to kick off his skis. Six bystanders, who were recruited by the quick-thinking lift operator, stand underneath with a safety net. They shift back and forth to ensure they’re in the right position before the boy’s uncle lets him drop at the count of three.
“The ‘firemen’s net rescue’ is an emergency procedure that every lift operator at Whistler-Blackcomb is trained in and has practiced in a controlled environment,” the resort told ABC News.
And as terrifying as it was for everyone involved, Stead came out of it relatively unscathed, with a bit of a sore neck.
Christopher Sakai, who captured the event with his cellphone and posted the video to Youtube, told ABC News that Stead “looked calm” and “was smiling” afterward.
It was a happy ending with an important takeaway not only for Stead, but anyone who drops a pole while getting on a lift: leave it behind! The lift operator will surely send it up with someone behind you.