Tree Well Safety

Submitted by Andy on Fri, 11/08/2019 - 15:28
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Skiing and snowboarding off the groomed runs and in deep powder is one of the most exciting and appealing parts of the sport. However, if you decide to leave the groomed trails, you are voluntarily accepting the risk of a deep snow immersion accident. A deep snow, or tree well immersion accident occurs when a skier or rider falls into an area of deep unconsolidated snow and becomes immobilized and suffocates. Deaths resulting from these kinds of accidents are referred to as an SIS hazard or Snow Immersion Suffocation.

Become educated on how to reduce the risk of SIS hazards through your own action and awareness. ALWAYS ski or ride with a partner within viewing distance. 

A tree well/ snow immersion suffocation accident can happen when a skier or snowboarder falls – usually headfirst – into a tree well or deep loose snow and becomes immobilized and trapped under the snow and suffocates.

In an inverted position you can become trapped under the snow. Breathing becomes difficult as the loose snow packs in around you. Without immediate help from your partner, you may suffocate.

Prevention of falling into a tree well or areas of deep snow is all-important because the odds of surviving deep snow immersion are low.

90% of people involved in Tree Well/ SIS hazard research experiments could NOT rescue themselves. If a partner is not there for immediate rescue, the skier or rider may die very quickly from suffocation - in many cases, he or she can die as quickly as someone can drown in water.

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