Editor’s note: Spend enough seasons skiing and most of us will get into some form of trouble. Last issue, I explained how I got into hot water by inadvertently becoming end-of-day Pied Piper to a bunch of kids who followed me on a long winding trail, while their parents anxiously waited their return. A few readers emailed their tales of on-slope woe. 

Mike Roth is a ski journalist who writes a regular ski blog for the Albany Time Union. He is also a talented cartoonist and and architect. When asked, last minute, if he had time in his busy schedule to illustrate these reader stories, he responded, “When do you need them?” A few hours later, Mike emailed his drawings.

This cliff-hanger happened to Jeffrey M. Fine when he was 40, but he still remembers the day. Jeffery is now based in Dillon, CO.

Sometime in the 1980’s while living in Indiana, I took a trip out to Squaw Valley.  I thought I could ski KT-22, and it almost cost me my life.  While skiing down the right side of the run, I caught an edge and almost went off a cliff with a 50’ drop.  I managed to fall just before going over the edge and held on with my fingers in the snow (I was highly motivated to grab anything) while my skis hung over the edge in space.  The ski patrol was able to throw me a rope and pull me to safety.  I feel very lucky to have survived!

And here’s a rope tow tale from Ed Schultz, Penn Yan, NY. It happened when he was 30.

Back in the early 70’s skiing a small area in Massachusetts near Wooster, (can’t remember the name), I got on the rope tow. I had one arm behind with my pole straps around my wrist. What I didn’t realize was that the poles were bouncing in the snow behind and my pole straps somehow got twisted so when I went to get off I was caught on the rope. The rope tow rose up at the end toward a building housing some of the tow’s mechanism. I had visions of being carried up and going splat on the building. There were no safety stops in those days. Fortunately, I wriggled and twisted, freeing the straps and exiting the tow just in time.

Have a personal ski story you’d like to share? It can be about almost anything. Send it to [email protected] We’ll share the most interesting with SeniorsSkiing’s 17,000 subscribers, along with an original Mike Roth illustration.


  1. Michael Hudson says:

    I have a similar story. I was a ski patrolman at Mt Hood, Oregon back in the 60’s. I helped rescue a young lady whose long hair got twisted into the rope. Thanks to an alert lift operator and the bandaid scissors I was carring, the event did not end in tragedy.

  2. Yvette Cardozo says:

    And then, there was my older sister. A ski novice and petrified. So when it came time for her to get off the bunny lift at Snoqualmie outside Seattle, she froze. and went around. and was headed back up. A sharp liftie stopped the lift and backed it up somehow, then helped her off. Needless to say, her ski day was done. But I did have visions of my sister going round and round and round endlessly.

  3. Patti+Farkas says:

    The place: Suicide Six in Vermont. The time: December, 1984. The victim: me, first-time skier at age 44. There was an ice storm that day, but not bad enough to dissuade my new husband from introducing me to his favorite sport. Outfitting me in his best hand-me-downs, complete with duct tape on the tears in the pants, he put me in the never-ever ski class and went off to ski with some teen-age family friends. I progressed rapidly (even though I felt as though my feet were glued to the ground), and then came time to actually get on the lift to go up to the top of the bunny hill! My loving husband knew it was a J-bar and had instructed me not to sit on it but just lean back into it. I did so and the bar slid past my butt, up past my torso, and came to a stop just under my arms. The liftie bellowed, “Stop the lift!” and came to my rescue. As he tried to lever me up to a standing position, he murmured, “Boy, you must have eaten your oats today.” The rest of the day went better for me, although my husband did dislocate his shoulder skiing with the young ‘uns. We continue to ski today in Utah (western ski snobs) at ages 89 and 81.

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