Skiing and snowboarding off groomed runs in the trees is an exciting and appealing part of the sport, but it is important to be aware of tree wells and tree well safety. A tree well immersion accident can happen when a skier or rider falls into an area of deep unconsolidated snow near the base of a tree and becomes immobilized and suffocates. Often, a skier or snowboarder will go near a tree and fall into the tree well headfirst.
It is smart to ski or ride with a partner who will be able to help you should be fall into a tree well. You should avoid skiing or riding close to the base of trees if possible, especially in deep snow.
If you begin to fall into a tree well, try and grab onto the tree or a branch to prevent yourself from falling further into the tree well. If you cannot prevent yourself from falling in, try to roll over and to stay upright instead of head down as you fall. Try to keep your arm above your head to create an air pocket. Use a rocking or wiggling motion to try and create more space and move towards an upright position.