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Tree Well &

Deep Snow Safety

Skiing and snowboarding off of groomed runs and in deep powder is one of the most exciting and appealing parts of the sport. However, there are risks associated with skiing in deep snow and in the trees.

A tree well is the space around the base of an evergreen tree, below its branches. It’s a space that doesn’t receive the same amount of snow as the surrounding open areas.

A deep snow or tree well immersion accident occurs when a skier or rider falls into an area of deep unconsolidated snow, usually head first, and becomes trapped under the snow. Without immediate help, the rider may become immobilized and suffocate. Deaths resulting from these kinds of accidents are referred to as Snow Immersion Suffocation (SIS) events.

To prevent tree well accidents, make sure you are educated on how to reduce the risk of SIS hazards through your own actions and awareness.


Tree Well & Deep Snow Safety

Here are a few important tips for venturing off of groomed runs: 

  1. Ride or ski with a partner and keep your partner in sight. 
  2. Ski or ride in control at all times. 
  3. Maintain plenty of space between you and the trees. Steer clear of tree wells.  
  4. Carry safety equipment including: 
    • Cell phone with resort emergency number
    • Transceiver / beacon
    • Whistle
    • Shovel
    • Probe 

For more information and education on how you can prepare for tree wells and deep snow, visit deepsnowsafety.org.