My heart is breaking. A mother of one of the junior snowboard team kids passed away on Saturday. She was a very experienced snowboarder. Ski patrol found her via probe completely immersed in a tree well, about 2 ft under. My heart goes out to her family and her young children, I don't really know what to say to them, so I just want to say it here.
Not gonna lie, tree wells scare the hell out of me. There has been at least two tree well deaths here in CO this year. One at Wolf Creek and one at Steamboat, there may have been more.
I fell in one at Breck a couple of weeks ago. If it had been deeper, I would've been in trouble. I went in head first, but it wasn't deep enough to cover me up. The thought of what could have happened definitely occurred to me.
This is the first I have heard of tree wells. My heart goes out to the family and friends.
I learned of tree wells for the first time when I joined this forum a couple years ago, and am very grateful for that. Odd that I never did in my many years of skiing, but maybe it was just because I was younger, or resources like this weren't as prevalent back then. Anyway, I was riding alone this past Sunday, as I do a lot. The mountain had received 10 or so inches of new snow, and I was there early. I got to the top of one run just as it opened, and it had been groomed, so I ducked into the trees pretty quickly. So Cal mountains have received upwards of 10 ft of snow this year, so tree wells very much exist. I proceeded with a level of caution and awareness I wouldn't have if not for this forum. Thanks SBF.