Park City skier Mikayla Willis in ICU after crash during Freeride World Qualifier event

The 18-year-old was reportedly conscious and speaking after suffering severe injuries

Photo courtesy of Rob Aseltine/Snowbird Park City skier Mikayla Willis, right, rides a lift at Snowbird Resort. Willis fractured her skull, among other injuries, during a crash while competing in a Freeride World Qualifier freestyle skiing event Wednesday, March 24, 2022, in Big Sky, Mont.

Park City skier Mikayla Willis is in the hospital after crashing Wednesday in a Freeride World Qualifier event, a stepping stone to the extreme Freestyle World Tour, being held at Big Sky Resort in Montana.

“She has very severe injuries,” Eric Praetorius, Willis’s ski coach, told KPCW.

Willis, 18, was transported by an ambulance and two Life Flight helicopters to a hospital in Billings, Mont. Her injuries included, according to a GoFundMe post, a shattered skull, broken nose, broken vertebrae, fractured hips and lacerations on her face.

“She has already had one surgery and is expected to be in the ICU for several weeks,” according to the GoFundMe post set up to raise funds to cover Willis’s medical bills. “The hospital where Mikayla is currently is ‘out of network’ under the family’s insurance policy. Any help that we can give them will be greatly appreciated.”

Later, the post was updated with positive news: “Mikayla is conscious, talking and off of life support. She is still in the ICU and is being watched. The family thanks everyone for their generosity.”

As of Thursday evening, the entire $75,000 GoFundMe goal had been reached.

Willis is ranked No. 32 in the Americas Region of the FWQ. The Big Sky event was the second of the three events that make up the FWQ Finals. The final competition is scheduled for March 31-April 1 at Kirkwood in California. At that event, qualifiers for the 2023 Freeride World Tour — the launching pad for many of the world’s best-known big mountain skiers — will be named.

No further details of Willis’ crash were released. Representatives from the Freeride World Tour did not immediately return requests for comment.

Correction: Nov. 30, 2022, 10:30 a.m. >> This article has been corrected to reflect that Willis was 18, not 17, at the time of her accident.