Eight-year-old girl doing well after fall from Sugarloaf ski lift

Nathan Fournier, Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine
·3 min read

Feb. 16—CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Eternally grateful for the people on the scene.

Those are the words of the mother of Shiloh, the 8-year-old girl who fell off the ski lift at Sugarloaf on Feb. 10..

"I could see the people who were on the ground, they were doing the best they possibly could do and I am so eternally grateful to them for stopping and helping, we wouldn't be where we are right now for the help," said Sharise, who did not want to give her last. "I am a 100% sure."

Shiloh was airlifted to Northern Light Medical Center in Bangor near where the family lives. She has since has been released from the hospital.

Sharise said Shiloh complained of back pain from the fall but received minimal injuries. She is reportedly in good spirits, according to her mother.

The accident happened on a triple chairlift called Snubber.

"When we got on the lift, the seat is higher than most ski lift chairs, it's a midway lift, it doesn't slow down like the end lifts do," Sharise said. "When she went to get on, she basically couldn't get on to the seat. I grabbed onto her and I tried to give her a boost up, to get her onto the seat and the lift just kept on going. I kept trying to get her onto the seat and she just couldn't get on there.

"Again, it happened so fast, you are grabbing onto your kid and you are like 'Come on, come on, get up, get up,' and (the chairlift) is still moving. In my mind it felt like it happened just like that, an instant sort of thing. All a sudden I noticed we are really far away (from the loading station), she's still not on this chair, the lift is still moving. Then people on the ground started yelling as well (for the lift to be stopped)."

Sharise kept telling Shiloh "I got you" and "I won't let you go" as rescuers and people on the ground tried to set up a catch mat to break Shiloh's fall. Sharise, acting as a reassuring voice, was also repeating what the rescuers were saying to Shiloh.

Rescuers had just gotten into position setting the mat underneath Shiloh when she let go after hanging on for a handful of minutes. There was a bar underneath her but she didn't feel it, her mother said.

"She got tired, she said to me: 'I am slipping, I am slipping, I can't hold on anymore," Sharise said. "The minute she let go of the bar (she was) holding on, I took on all of her weight. She's 90 pounds so she's a pretty sturdy kid. Once I felt that weight on my hands without any support from her, I just yelled down 'she's going.'"

Although her skis hit the center of the mat, the upper half of her body landed on the ground. Ski patrol estimated Shiloh's fall to be 20 to 25 feet.

Shiloh did not remember much from the accident other than that she couldn't find the bar underneath her.

The fall hasn't scared Shiloh from going skiing in the future, though doctors want physical activity to be limited for the next two months. She started skiing in mid-January at Hermon Mountain in Hermon.

"She's not scared to go back to skiing, we talked about it the evening after the accident," Sharise said. "The biggest fear outside of her being seriously injured was after this was all said and done, she would be like 'I don't want to do this ever again.' She immediately said: 'I want to ski again, but I don't want to do that lift.' I was like 'No worries, no worries, there's a lot of other lifts we can use."

A GoFundMe Page has been set up for Shiloh's recovery. As of Tuesday night, over $2,368 had been raised toward the $3,000 goal.