Ski Patroller Plunges Head First Into Tree Well To Educate Skiers

You gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet, right?

In a video filmed last winter, a member of Whitewater Ski Resort, British Columbia's patrol team dove head first into the snow to raise awareness about tree well safety practices.

"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," Whitewater wrote in the caption. "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."

While terrifying, this description of tree wells doesn't hit quite like its video accompaniment, which illustrates just how difficult it is to extricate someone buried in a tree well.

Whitewater also shared some essential tree well safety and rescue tips:

"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."

Avalanches are more dramatic and lethal than tree wells, meaning they draw the bulk of the attention in the snowsports safety world. Still, as evidenced by this post from Whitewater, tree wells shouldn't be trifled with.

The PSA is particularly pertinent given the recent arrival of snow across North America. Some resorts have seen astronomical snowfall totals this month, like Mt. Bachelor, Oregon, which surpassed the 100-inch mark for January alone.

That's all to say: more snow is, of course, fantastic. Just don't let the powder fever prevent you from making safe and smart decisions.

Related: Colorado Governor Jared Polis Takes Ski Train To Winter Park

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