Tree Well Safety Video


With the return of winter, I thought this might be a good time to remind everyone about tree well safety. I know we like to pretend we have “no friends on a powder day,” but actually these are the days when your skiing partner could save your life.  Check out this intense video in which a skier gets completely entrapped in a tree well.

What’s amazing in this video is really how small that tree is, and how very hard it would have been to find the victim if he hadn’t been skiing with partners. For more information about tree wells go to

9 responses »

  1. Wow. Even though I knew he made it, it was totally nerve-wracking! Thanks for sharing and to all the skiers and boarders out there… please be safe and have fun!

    • Thanks for the post.My heart was pounding watching the video.He was lucky.It was a good example of how people need to not only have safety equipment but also need to have peips turned on,know how to use them and be prepared to assemble their shovels quickly.Otherwise these items are ineffective or useless when time is precious.In particular it amazes me how many people do not turn their pieps on because they do not anticipate being involved with a crisis.Also please keep the batteries fresh in your peips.They are cheap and easy to replace.

  2. Great post, Kim.

    Yeah, I shun to think of what would have happened to this guy had he been skiing with just one other skier and the buddy was ripping way in the lead.

    By the way, there’s a discussion of this viddy going on at:

    Some interesting thoughts on mitigating the risk, etc.

    Oh, and just so you know, I don’t see you as a “pathetic lady yelling down into a well” :). Ever though I have, until now, failed to comment on your blog, I read it regularly and I really appreciate you posts. I’ll try to give you more feedback in the future.

    thanks for your hard work, both on your blog on the patrol.

    • Thanks Ron. I took a look at the TAY discussion and agree with much of what was said. Snow Immersion Syndrome is pretty scary. Like many others who posted, I’ve been caught upside down in a tree well in Left Angle Trees (back when we called it Pencil Dick Gap). Luckily the slope was steep enough that I could kick my way out the downhill side after miraculously getting my skis off. Close call indeed.

      Also, glad you don’t think I’m yelling into a well (at least not a tree well anyway). Comments are wonderful, because they let me know someone is actually on the other line.

  3. excellent reminder. I recall about 10 years ago a snowboarder that had gone missing at Mt. Bachelor. They found her in a treewell some months later, not alive of course. That put the pear of bejeezuz into me, that and a time I got stuck in a tree well myself, but nothing like this video.
    Happy holidays and hope the new year brings good health, happiness, and great ski conditions at Crystal!

  4. Quite the video–many skiers don’t realize how soft and bottomless the snow can be around small limby alpine firs and hemlocks–the small limbs support the soft new snow giving the appearence of a smooth and solid/supported surface, when there are voids, unconsolidated snow, and air pockets lurrking beneath those unseen limbs–that little fir in the video was a prime example.

You people are amazing. Thanks for commenting.

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