FAQ AND SAFETY TIPS
Deep Snow and tree wells
- Be aware of deep snow conditions, tree wells and other natural and man-made 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 Ski Patrol, 970-871-5911.
For further information visit avalanche.state.co.us or www.treewelldeepsnowsafety.com. rich-text
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 snow pack 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 a tree well accompanies every tree.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ASPEN AND EVERGREENS?
The biggest difference is 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
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?
If your partner becomes immersed, first try to clear an airway, then call Ski Patrol for help 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 man-made obstacles may be encountered at any time, anywhere on the mountain.
Safety Hint: Never Ski or Ride alone, always go with a buddy.
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.
COLORADO AVALANCHE INFORMATION CENTER
Current Avalanche Conditions can be found at avalanche.state.co.us/Forecasts/Steamboat