An 8-year-old boy from New Zealand was saved from probable serious injury Friday morning when ski patrollers at Snowmass Ski Area used a lift tower pad to break his 25-foot fall from a chairlift. The boy was riding the Village Express six-pack chairlift with his parents shortly before 9:30 a.m. when he started falling out of the chair after loading. His parents were hanging onto the lad as their chair progressed up the hill. An operator of the adjacent Skycab saw the incident unfolding and called the lift operations office to stop the Village Express lift and alert the ski patrol of the situation.
The New Zealand family’s chair stopped about 20 feet shy of lift tower seven, with the boy dangling down and his parents holding onto him. Five patrollers scrambled to the lift tower, unhooked the safety pad wrapped around the tower base and positioned the pad under the boy. The parents let go of the boy when the patrol gave the word, and the boy fell about 25 feet onto the pad.
He was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital by a Snowmass Village ambulance crew as a precaution. He was checked and released to his family within a short period.