As the snow piles up out west dangerous conditions have lead to a bevy of avalanche and tree well related emergerncies. Here is a condensed list compiled by snowsbest.com:
Whistler, BC: Colin D Watt spoke with CBC and admitted he is lucky to have survived being buried in a treewell while skiing out of bounds in the area under Whistler’s Peak to Peak Gondola. He was caught in an avalanche that swept him 150 ft downhill, ending up buried in a tree well. He was eventually rescued by friends. For a full CBC report go HERE.
Snoqualmie Pass, Washington: Kelly Lund, 50, was found dead buried upside down in a tree well at Silver Fir ski area after breaking away from the group he was skiing with to take a tree run. When he didn’t link up with the group at the bottom of the run they went back and followed his tracks to the tree well. A resuscitation attempt was made but he was pronounced dead on the scene.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming: Kelsey Hewitt, 25, was skiing the Sundance run under Bridger Gondola with her boyfriend when they became temporarily separated. When she didn’t meet back up with her boyfriend at the bottom he went back and searched for her eventually finding her inverted in a tree well. Asphyxiation is cited as the probable cause of death.
Mount Washington, BC: A 15 year old snowboarder was found dead after falling into a hole on an ungroomed ski run at Mount Washington Alpine Resort in British Colombia, Canada. The hole was created by an uprooted tree. “Initial indications are that the hole might be the result of a tree that … may have been pulled out,” said Matt Brown, regional coroner for Vancouver Island. “He was unfortunately found in the bottom of it.”
Snowbasin, Utah: 15-year Snowbasin Ski Patrol veteran suffered serious injuries to his ribs, lungs, spleen, and liver after being caught in a slide with a depth of 3 feet and being thrown against a tree. Here is a KUTV2 report:
Breckenridge, Colorado: A snowboarder was buried up to his neck in the “Numbers” backcountry, an area accessible through a gate at the top of Breckenridge’s Peak 10. “The guy was buried up to his neck and had one arm free, so he could dig, he actually extracted himself.” One added piece of info, the search team was deployed after being called by a group of skiers who witnessed the slide but didn’t know if anyone had been caught in it. The search team found a total of 8 skiers and snowboarders in the area of the slide, none of which had proper avalanche safety gear. “Not one of those eight people had a beacon, probe pole or shovel. People get caught up in the moment. … You sort of check caution at the door and follow your friends.”
Teton Pass, Wyoming: A pair of snowmobilers were resting at the bottom of the Horseshoe Bowl on Teton Pass after riding a nearby ridge when they where engulfed by slide,“All of Horseshoe Bowl remote triggered and came from behind us,” Soderling said. “We didn’t see it, didn’t hear it. We were sitting on our snowmobiles chatting and the thing swept us down the debris field.” Luckily one of them was able to unbury himself and save the other by digging her out and digging his snowmobile out to take them both back to safety. For the complete story please go HERE.