Today a man died at Dodge Ridge, under chair 8, between pillars 8 and 9.
I was on the chair above him. I saw him ski down the black diamond, then come to a slow stop as my dad and I came up to him. He swayed a bit, then crumpled over. He moved his arms out to next to his side, then stopped moving. His arms were twitching, but he, he was not moving.
He seemed to be, at first, sunning himself. When we came above him, we immediately could tell that something wasn't right. We yelled at him, if he was OK, and he said nothing. Absolutely nothing, no sound, anything. He just lay there.
So we call Ski Patrol, the chair behind us keeps yelling at the guy. A medic team was dispatched. I left that part of the hill and went down to eat.
I sat down at a table, and started some small talk with the people sharing it. An ambulance showed up at the base, and I mentioned the man who had fallen and not gotten up to them. They told me they were on the same lift, further back down the hill. They said the medics were giving him CPR on the slope. His face looked grey, his lips blue. They kept saying "There's no pulse, there's no pulse". Then they carted him down. They said he looked dead.
So I go over to Ski Patrol's office, and ask how the guy is doing. They hadn't gotten any witnesses yet, so I sat down and wrote what I saw. As I write, a man is rushed in, his sternum broken from CPR, with someone bagging him. They were saying "He's got no pulse, he's got no pulse".
I'm stunned as I'm telling them what I had seen. Is that him? Is he going to die right as I tell them how? Then, someone yells "He's got a pulse, he's breathing!" I was relieved, he was going to be OK, I wasn't writing a testimony about the death of a skier I had seen sway, crumple and stop. I left the office, feeling better, he wasn't dead.
At the end of the day, I go back to the office, to see if he was going to be alright I talked to the director. The man I had seen be saved was in fact the second heart attack of the day. He was taken to Modesto, and should be fine. The man I had seen was deceased, he said. They administered CPR, and his heart could only take one shock. That one shock did not bring him back. The man I had seen laying motionless, as I passed over, had died, right there. He died alone, under the lift. His friends hadn't gone down with him this run.
Rest in peace.