I'll be going to Crystal Mountain, WA, at the end of January. I'd like to do some tree runs but I only will if I'm with someone else.
After our last trip to CO, I thought of this...
Here's an idea of mine for a system for deep pow in trees. I haven't used it yet, but I have told one of the 2 guys I ride with about it for the next time we get into trees with deep powder. He says it's a smart thing to do. I'm just not sure about stability when stopping at the bottom of each section as I'll mention below, so someone let me know what you think:
Let one drop in for about 30-60 ft, depending on visibility while the other two wait at the top or bottom of that section for the other. Take turns, riding down each section one at a time while remaining in sight. This way, if one of us falls into a tree well the other two are always watching and can come to dig them out.
Does that sound good? I know it would be safer than going balls out free-for-all, but I'd also really like to hear what you guys think, who have more experience with this kind of stuff than I do.
We also wear bright colors (I have a lime jacket and bindings.) I know that two of us carry a rescue whistle, which would help us locate each other a little if a fall were to happen.
All these things add up and make it a little more safer. This one-at-a-time system seems like it would be pretty damn effective, and although we're not equipped for backcountry (we usually ride resorts, sometimes off-trial trees), I think it would be a good way to look out for each other. Like I said though, I'm not too sure about being able to stop without falling in deep snow like that at the end of each turn.
Here's a video of a guy who fell into a tree well at a resort with a helmet cam: