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Deep Snow and Tree Wells

Steamboat has earned a world-wide reputation for its tree skiing/riding and signature Champagne Powder™ snow. Skiing or riding in tree areas and deep snow is an individual choice and carries with it inherent risks. A fall into deep snow or a tree well can be suffocating and fatal.

  • Be aware of deep snow conditions, tree wells and other natural and manmade obstacles. Do not ski/ride too close to trees in deep or windblown snow conditions.
  • If skiing/riding in deep snow or near trees, stay with a partner and remain in visual contact.
  • Stay close enough to either pull or dig out your partner.
  • If your partner becomes immersed, first try to clear an airway, then call Patrol, 970.871.5911.
  • For further information visit www.treewelldeepsnowsafety.com and http://avalanche.state.co.us/index.php.

What Is A Tree Well?

First of all, trees are an important and integral part of the natural mountain environment and exist across ski areas, predominantly in the ungroomed areas of the resort. A tree well is an unstable hole or depression that forms around the base of a tree when low branches prevent snow from filling in and creating snowpack around the trunk.

How Do I Know If A Tree Well Exists?

Usually there is no easy way to identify if a particular tree has a tree well by sight, because the branches often block visibility of what hole may exist. Individuals should assume that a tree well accompanies every tree.

What's The Difference Between Aspen And Evergreens?

The biggest difference is that Aspen typically don't have low-lying branches, which can hide tree wells and help them form like what you see with Evergreen trees.

How Do I Prevent From Falling Into Tree Well: Fortunately, the risk of falling into a tree well is completely avoidable and preventable: Precautions include but are not limited to:

  • Avoid skiing/riding too close to trees, particularly evergreens, in deep snow or after heavy snowstorms
  • Assume all trees have a potentially hazardous tree well
  • Do not ski/ride alone
  • Keep one's partner in sight
  • Be aware of your surroundings

Are Tree Well Accidents More Likely to Occur In Morningside Park?

Absolutely not, no matter where you ski/ride on the mountain, individuals should understand tree skiing is not groomed and hazards may exist at any time during the season.

Are Tree Wells The Only Snow Element I Need To Worry About?

No, individuals should be aware of encountering deep, ungroomed snow at any time on the mountain. Skier/riders should pay particular attention after heavy snowfalls.

What Do I Do If Someone Falls Into Deep Snow/Tree Well And Can't Get Out?

  • Be aware of deep snow conditions, tree wells and other natural and manmade obstacles
  • If skiing or riding in deep snow or near trees, stay with a partner and remain in visual contact
  • Stay close enough to either pull or dig out your partner
  • If your partner becomes immersed, first try to clear an airway, then call for help (Patrol 970.871.5911)

I Heard There Are No Friends on a Powder Day!

The old adage 'there are no friends on a powder day', couldn't be further from the truth. Always ski/ride with others and remember deep snow conditions, tree wells and other natural and manmade obstacles may be encountered at any time, anywhere on the mountain.

How Do I Reach Patrol?

Steamboat Patrol Dispatch may be reached via phone at 970.871.5911 or by most resort employees via mountain radio.

Safety Hint: Never Ski or Ride alone, always go with a buddy.


Current Avalanche Conditions can be found at http://avalanche.state.co.us/Forecasts/Steamboat/


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