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Thread: Tree well suffocation death at Stevens on Sunday Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
01-31-2012 02:17 PM
DrnknZag ^^Ah yeah I know the spot. Really flat and pretty heavily treed. I'm guessing skiers right of the lift where the creek runs?
01-31-2012 07:42 AM
SPREZZATURA believe it or not the NASID at stevens happened in bounds, right off of a chair lift. skyline lift, tower 8 to be exact. it was in an area that is rather flat with dense tree clusters and isnt usually accessible until considerable ski packs have been made out to it. its practically one big flat spot with a chair line over it that has a slight incline on lookers left into said tree clusters. ive cruised through there during a snow drought a few seasons ago and there were definitely frozen out, empty tree wells. i think the group packed it in there to try and get fresh snow and came out a buddy short. definitely a freak accident that happened in rather unusual terrain. not your typical steep and deep that us stevens pass back country riders go for.
01-28-2012 04:11 PM
annabananasplit While I am sorry that it took another unfortunate incident to spark this posting, I for one am glad for the reminder about tree wells... I used to consider tree wells more of a backcountry/sidecountry danger but I am hearing of more and more in-bounds tree well incidents.

One of the local skiers up here at Crystal Mountain went missing last season and his body was found this summer; he had fallen into a tree well and died. Its a story that I've heard more than a few times up here. And there are stories like this one that really make me stop and think: Update on the Search for Missing Skier - Crystal Mountain Washington -- a boy and his father fell into a tree well off of the main lift here at Crystal. The same lift that is used to access a good portion of the green and blue runs on the mountain where lots of inexperienced riders are every day.

One thing I don't quite understand: why is it that so many people end up going into tree wells head first? It seems as if its more of a situation where the ground kind of opens up underneath you and that leads me to imagine a person going in feet first more often than not. Can someone explain this to me maybe?
01-28-2012 12:06 PM
NWBoarder Listen to Snowolf, he speaks truth. Your partner is useless if you cannot see them and they cannot see you. I know this from experience. I'm so lucky that Snowolf is a great riding partner and wasn't out of earshot when I fell in a tree well. There was no way I was getting out of it without help, and I wasn't even head first. These things are serious kids, do not treat them lightly or they may very well swallow you whole and no one will find you until the spring thaw. And remember, it's the little ones you don't expect that get you.
01-27-2012 05:15 PM
rader023
Quote:
Originally Posted by PanHandler View Post
i didnt think there had been enough snow this season to cause any real tree wells. Im glad i read this so i can make sure to keep a look out.
I was thinking the same thing I think the lack of snow this season actually made it worse when we did get tons of snow recently.
01-27-2012 05:06 PM
PanHandler i didnt think there had been enough snow this season to cause any real tree wells. Im glad i read this so i can make sure to keep a look out.
01-27-2012 01:23 PM
rader023 Thanks. Luckily I was with my wife and was just doing tree runs . Patrol actually stopped at my wife, she was at the bottom of the tree run waiting. I was out by then and they knew I was okay at that point, but things could have gone south. I would say stay with a friend even if you arent in the backcountry. There were signs that week ON RUNS that said ride with a friend.
01-27-2012 01:12 PM
The111
Quote:
Originally Posted by rader023 View Post
Enough to scare me. Have an asthma inhaler in my jacket that I havent used in years but keep in just in case. Wore myself out on first try had to regroup, use that bad boy get out then get to a place to chill. Maybe 30 minutes I would say. Total suckfest. Powder was blue after like the first foot, thats not cool. So heavy.
That's terrifying. I didn't know you could get frostbite so quick.

I grew up in Florida, didn't see snow until I was 21. But I had a recurring nightmare when I was a child, that I was walking in a snowfield with my mom, and she sunk into a hole just big enough to fit her, and she always had her arms straight up over her head, with just her hands sticking out, and I would pull on her hands as hard as I could to the sounds of her muffled screams, and never make any progress. Stories like yours make that dream come back to haunt me. I hope to never have to live it! Glad you pulled through.
01-27-2012 01:08 PM
rader023 Enough to scare me. Have an asthma inhaler in my jacket that I havent used in years but keep in just in case. Wore myself out on first try had to regroup, use that bad boy get out then get to a place to chill. Maybe 30 minutes I would say. Total suckfest. Powder was blue after like the first foot, thats not cool. So heavy.
01-27-2012 12:45 PM
The111
Quote:
Originally Posted by rader023 View Post
Not sure if it was a tree well but I definitely fell through a pocket to about chest high on this day. Still cant feel some of the skin around my waist from frostbite. PNW snow can be no joke sometimes.
Ouch! How long were you in there?
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