Just a reminder to be careful tree skiing or just skiing near trees even on small traveled paths. I met my brother at Whistler for the Thanksgiving long weekend and told him about tree wells in the morning and their dangers. That afternoon he was skiing around with camera when he found out first hand what a small tree well was like. I am still surprised I never mentioned tree wells to him before this or he'd never heard about them. Below is a video of him falling in a very small well on Whistler's opening day while wearing his go pro. I tried to edit it to the 9:30 minutes in to 14 minutes in, but it doesn't seem to be working so slide it to 9:50 in and watch till he tumbles a minute or so later. The edits will eventually take and start at the correct time... I hope.
Move slider to 9:50 to start near tree well.
Like me, he hadn't heard of them. He lives in Victoria and skis pretty regular at Whistler Blackcomb and at Mount Washington on the Island, along with many other places with me and we often go off trail but I had never heard of tree wells until I read about them here on Epic Ski 3 seasons ago, 3 weeks before flying upside down into one on the Utah gathering. I was very surprised when I read about them and the deaths that happen in them each year that I had never thought/heard (that I listened to) or been in one when I considered I had loved tree skiing for some time, heli skied and in general skied a lot, but I was sure glad as I was flying into one at snow bird that I had read an article here on Epic and new to grab branches. The well I landed in at Utah was bottomless...( i couldn't feel the bottom when i put my pole in to test) they had 30 feet of snow that year and I was able to flip my self out with the branches and land back on the run with great effort. Had I not read the article I wouldn't have thought to grab branches and quite possibly would have been laughing at my fall until I was drowning.
Just wanted to post so that eastern skiers heading west have a heads up on what can happen and don't land in one upside down and drown unknowingly. Small ones like this are also quite dangerous to children. You can see he is chest deep in that well he is 5'10', a child will be over their head. Remember to ski with a friend when you're at a big mountain, keep them in sight always and if you go down for help it will be too late to save the person in the well. They must be dug out right away, so give trees a wide berth or be prepared with a pack, shovel, etc, especially when skiing in fresh powder.