The Steamboat Pilot & Today is reporting that a 65-year-old man from Kentucky died in a tree well incident at Steamboat on Friday, January 13th.
According to Deputy Aaron Clock with the Routt County Sheriff’s Office, the man crashed into a tree well in the Morningside area.
Ski patrol responded quickly and began to dig out the man within minutes.
He was removed from the tree well and patrollers started administering CPR. He was eventually transported to UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.
Our thoughts and condolences are with the friends and family of the deceased.
Deep snow immersion and tree wells are inherent risks when skiing on terrain that’s been loaded with snow.
Please watch the following video, and read the tree well safety tips, created by Ski Patrol at Whitewater Ski Resort in Nelson, BC:
Whitewater Ski Resort: In preparation for the deeper pow days ahead, Whitewater Ski Patrol has put together this video to raise awareness for tree well hazards on resort.
Evergreen trees in particular (fir, hemlock, etc.) can have large, deep tree wells that form when snow doesn’t get packed down around a tree base.
These wells can contain a mix of low-hanging branches, loose snow, and air, so it’s easy for these voids to be hidden from view.
If your partner gets stuck in a tree well, here are some tips to help get them out:
➡️Don’t leave to get help – stay with your partner.
➡️Keep ski or board attached; this will stop them from going in deeper.
➡️Call for additional resources. Use a whistle or yell for assistance; ask someone to call for Ski Patrol.
➡️Evaluate scene safety for yourself.
➡️IMMEDIATELY begin snow immersion rescue efforts.
➡️Keep your partner’s airway clear. Be careful not to knock more snow into the tree well.
➡️Determine where their head is and tunnel in from the side or below. Do not try to pull your partner out the way they fell in.
➡️Continue expanding the tunnel to the airway until you can safely extricate your partner.
Here’s to another season of safe skiing & riding!
Please stay safe out there, friends.
Featured Image Credit: Larry Pierce, Flickr