Ice Age on its Way

Not by Fire but by Ice



 Updated 11 February 2006      


Tree wells pose big hazard to skiers  

19 Jan 06 - Three people have died in non avalanche-related snow immersion incidents at Western Washington resorts this season. The fatalities included snowboarders who fell into tree wells at Alpental and Mount Baker and another person who got trapped in out-of-bounds snow at Baker.

"I can’t tell you how important this topic is," said Crystal ski patrol director Paul Baugher. ""People need to know how to avoid this hazard."

"Keep your partner in sight at all times," Baugher said. "And be in a position to help. None of this ‘if we get separated, we’ll meet at the bottom’ stuff."

Most commonly, people end up in tree wells when they fall. Once they fall into the tree well, the snow can collapse around them, and the snow on the branches above them can fall on top of them.

Baugher says once the snow caves in on somebody, he or she can lose consciousness in as little as two minutes.





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