The recent snow falls have brought FEET, not inches to our area. With the massive snowfall and school/business closures, people are hitting the ski hills to enjoy all this fresh pow! But are you prepared for what could happen with all this fresh snow? Tree Wells. Avalanches.
A tree well is a void or depression that forms around the base of a tree and can contain a mix of low hanging branches, loose snow and air. These voids can be hidden from the view by the tree’s low hanging branches. Evergreens, in particular can have large, deep wells that form and block snow from filling in and consolidating around the base of the tree.
Did you know that almost 90% of people involved in tree well experiments could NOT rescue themselves. That’s scary. And makes it even that more important to ski, board or ride with a buddy. If a partner is not there for immediate recuse, the skier or rider could die very quickly from suffocation.
As of today, the avalanche hazard is HIGH. Natural avalanches are likely and human caused avalanches are VERY LIKELY. Strong winds and heavy snow have created dangerous wind slabs on upper elevations, and will continue throughout the day. Some of these slabs are easy to feel or see but some are also getting covered up with new snow.
Please be aware of the areas that are CLOSED to motorized traffic. Just because there are tracks in some areas, does not mean they are open or safe to be on.
Treat all tree wells as dangerous and pay attention to the area you are in. It is your responsibility to know where you are and where these closures exist. It’s fun to go off trail, we love it too, but please remember to review all deep snow safety practices before heading off groomed trails.