Scary Ski Moment For Dad Who Loses Son in Tree Well
Every winter, we read the unfortunate stories of skiers who get caught in tree wells, many of whom die. Only a few weeks ago, a young skier lost their life at Bridger Bowl when they ended up in a tree well and suffocated.
The video above shows how quickly a skier can find themselves trapped in a tree well and how difficult it is to find them. The dad who shot this footage posted the following on his YouTube page. "Tree wells are very scary. Fortunately I was able to pull my son out. My message to all, never ski alone!" Someone, he remained amazingly calm.
According to PowderCanada.com, a tree well/ snow immersion suffocation accident can happen when a skier or snowboarder falls – usually headfirst – into a tree well or deep loose snow and becomes immobilized and trapped under the snow and suffocates.
In an inverted position, you can become trapped under the snow. Breathing becomes difficult as snow packs in around you. Without immediate help you can suffocate.
They go on to say that 90% of skiers involved in a tree well hazard could not rescue themselves.
As you could see in the video, with so much open space, it's difficult to find someone who is buried in a tree well. That's why one of the most important things you can do while skiing in the backcountry is always try and keep your eyes on your partner. And if they do go down, don't take your eyes off of them. Also, if you do lose contact with your skiing partner, assume they need help until you re-establish contact.
If you fall into a tree well, it is recommended that you do whatever you can to keep your head above the surface of the snow.
For more on Tree Well Fatalities & How to Avoid, click here.