I was on the front side skiers right under the Sourdough lift in a small patch of trees yesterday around 1pm. I was skiing by myself just tiring to find some of the last powder stashes. I was nearing the end of the trees and saw out of the corner of my eye a pair of skis sticking out. I hiked back to the tree and tried to free the skier with no luck, so I started digging and could not believe how buried she was. By the time I cleared her airway she was blue and gasping. All i could do was keep the snow off her. She was alert and communicative, so I called ski patrol for help, they got there relatively quick. They were as astonished as I was at the depth of this well. The skier was completely buried to her boots. They were able to dig a side hole and free her in about 15mins.
She was a 17yr old girl who was skiing with her brother (who was in front and lost sight of her). He waited at bottom of trees and hiked back up, but it was not an easy hike back to her (10-15mins). By the time her arrived I was in the hole and had called SP.
Ski patrol commented how the snow conditions at Vail are ripe for this type of accident, and that she was very lucky. It was a really scary situation that ended happily.