Snowboarder dies in tree well at Mt. Hood
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Scott - DCSki Editor
December 31, 2007
Member since 10/10/1999 🔗
1,139 posts
This past week, a snowboarder suffocated to death in a tree well at Oregon's Mt. Hood. (See here for the story.) He went off a jump and landed head-first in the tree well. Friends spent 15 minutes digging him out, but by then he had already suffocated to death and ski patrollers were unable to revive him.

This is a scary reminder to watch out for tree wells and other hidden hazards, especially in deep snow that otherwise seems harmless. And skiers can fall victim to tree wells just as often as snowboarders. (I know this isn't much of a problem at most Mid-Atlantic resorts, but most of us try to head for deep powder resorts as often as we can.)

There is a good article on tree wells here written by Craig McNeil. It's worth reading.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
December 31, 2007
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Icky way to go...

Actually, I was an eye witness to a tree well accident at topside in Snowshoe, right near the Ballhooter exit. That area had about 15 feet of snow base since that's the place where they make the most snow. The resort had already closed down, it was almost dark, and there was no patrol nearby. And two young kids were boarding by themselves on the small incline, as I was walking by with my dog on his late afternoon walk doing the ball fetching routine. The kid fell headfirst on a tree well and there was no way the other guy could rescue him. A bystander and I came to his assistance and pulled the panicky kid back to the surface. He would have died. So it doesn't have to be Colorado...
fishnski
December 31, 2007
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
GEEEZZZ....Ive been fighting this feeling of liking you again & then you have to throw this in on top of everything else your into...A friggin Hero Huh??!...Where does it end Mr Ibotta?...With a cure for the common Cold??!
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
December 31, 2007
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Hey, I just upped your stars man... I like everyone... Well... Wolfowitz and Cheney excepted...
Bumps
December 31, 2007
Member since 12/29/2004 🔗
538 posts
This hit home considering I have a 12 year old on snowboard that has a tough time remaining calm when his cell phone goes dead, let alone when he is suffocating. Lou's point about local wells is important and understanding what happened and what you need to do is a good first step in remaining calm. Education is the key here, but sometimes stuff happens. I also canoe and this is very similar concern of getting caught in a strainer which is tree limbs under water that one can get tangled up in. There is a product for canoeists/kayakers that is basically a small air bottle to give you that 1 to 2 min extra of air to help you stay calm and find a branch or something to pull yourself out with. This would be overkill for most places in midatlantic, just being smart would probably work. This is basically the same tactic I take canoeing, avoid putting yourself in the situation that it can happen. But I had been thinking of getting the bottle just because stuff happens. We had a close call of my son being pinned to a rock by rapids. His head was above waters but he could not get off without my help. If he had been at a strainer where the water would have pushed him under it would have been a much different situation. Out west, I wouldn't be surprised if someone markets a similar item for backcountry or deep powder skiing. I may do a little surfing to see if I can find something.
skier219
December 31, 2007
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Bumps
December 31, 2007
Member since 12/29/2004 🔗
538 posts
Great! This is better than bottled air.
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
December 31, 2007
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
But it only comes in tan, black and charcoal. No go... It's got to look good while saving your life...
jimmy
December 31, 2007
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
2,650 posts
Glass is half full lou
Retail therapy excuse for you
Time to buy some threads
in black and tan ole friend
lbotta - DCSki Supporter
December 31, 2007
Member since 10/18/1999 🔗
1,527 posts
Heck - now I've got to get a new outfit that matches the backpack... Maybe the excuse I need to get the new Spyder Special Edition with the built-in 80GB iPod. Been eyeing that for two years now... Or the new Vail Jacket in charcoal. and a new helmet...
fishnski
December 31, 2007
Member since 03/27/2005 🔗
3,530 posts
What we have here folks... is a proud Prima Skidonna!..You go boy!! \:\)
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