‘Our family is traumatized.’ Family wants justice after skier puts woman in hospital.
IDAHO FALLS — A husband from Driggs, along with his daughters, are hoping justice is brought to the person responsible for putting his wife in the hospital for almost a month after a ski accident left her with critical, life-threatening injuries.
“I just don’t understand why someone … would ski so recklessly in such a crowded area,” said husband Mike Nicklas.
Mike told EastIdahoNews.com his 64-year-old wife Rose Nicklas was in a ski accident on Jan. 3 at Grand Targhee Resort in Wyoming. Mike and Rose went skiing together that day for fun and the weather was perfect.
They have been skiing together for over 30 years. Mike explained he and Rose ski defensively making sure they check their surroundings for other skiers on the mountain. Mike told EastIdahoNews.com it was the last run of the day. They were skiing on an easy run just below the Rock Garden area around 3 p.m. The coast was clear, but suddenly a skier came out of nowhere in a “tuck” racing position. He surprised them and hit Rose.
“A skier came over the tail of my skis at a high speed and did not attempt to turn, slow or stop and slammed into my wife 20 or 25 feet in front of me, and hit her from behind,” said Mike.
Mike explained he saw and heard the ski collision. He said the collision picked up his wife and threw her about 20 to 25 feet in the air.
“I could see that she had a badly broken leg, it was in a weird grotesque angle,” he said.
Within a few minutes, ski patrol was on the way and several good Samaritan skiers helped Rose.
“I went over and saw the skier. He had not been injured. He was getting up. At no time did he offer assistance to my wife and no apologies and (he was) not remorseful,” Mike said.
Rose was airlifted by helicopter to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center where Mike initially thought Rose’s leg was the only issue but it quickly became much worse. While he was driving to the hospital in Idaho Falls from Grand Targhee Resort, he got a call from the doctor in the emergency room.
“He listed all the life-threatening injuries that she had and wanted permission to do emergency surgery right away. She had a pulmonary contusion, she had a collapsed lung, lacerated liver,” said Mike. “It was devastating and when we found that out, all I could do was come to the emergency room. We had no idea. We thought it was a severely broken leg and then there were all these life-threatening injuries.”
According to a GoFundMe created by Mike and Rose’s daughters, Danielle and Nicole Nicklas, “Mom’s life-threatening injuries include…a broken scapula, multiple broken ribs, shattered tibia and fibula, broken wrist, and possible concussion.” Mike estimates medical costs to be anywhere from half a million dollars to one and a half million dollars.
“My mom is permanently and physically scarred. Our family is traumatized,” said Danielle to EastIdahoNews.com.
An EIRMC spokeswoman told EastIdahoNews.com for a period of her hospital stay, Rose was deemed in “critical” condition, which means there are major complications and the outlook is unfavorable.
Rose is currently on the road to recovery. She is slowly getting better and is doing physical therapy at EIRMC. Danielle said her mom is tentatively going to be released from the hospital in two weeks. Mike said he and his family are grateful to the hospital staff and everyone involved in helping Rose because he said they “saved her life.”
The Teton County Sheriff’s Office is currently involved and investigating the case.
“We know that this person is still out there and hasn’t faced any repercussions and is capable of damaging another human life,” said Danielle.
A spokesman with the Teton County Sheriff’s Office told EastIdahoNews.com they know who caused the collision. So far, no criminal charges have been filed and no name has been released.
“Of course, we want justice for Rose, for all the pain and suffering that she is going through right now. We have full trust and confidence that the Teton County Sheriff’s Office is conducting a thorough investigation,” Mike said. “We want (the skier) to be accountable for his actions.”
Mike said Rose wants to get back on the slopes soon, but he’s not ready to look at that just yet.
EastIdahoNews.com reached out to Grand Targhee Resort about the incident and a spokesman said they had, “no comment.”