Fresh snow can be great fun, but can also create dangerous tree wells. Tree wells are air pockets that form around trees. If a skier or snowboarder falls into a tree well, the air pocket can collapse and trap them. Buried in the snow, a skier in a tree well can lose consciousness in just two minutes. This ski season, four deaths have already been attributed to tree wells.
We care about the safety of skiers and snowboarders. To limit the danger posed by tree wells, experts recommend staying on groomed runs, skiing with a partner and keeping them in sight, and tree-ski where trees aren’t close together.
Even expert skiers cannot rescue themselves from the dangers of tree wells. At Mt. Baker, 10 ski patrol members were placed in tree wells and none were able to get themselves out.
For more information: Skiers Warned of Deep-Snow Hazard