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Watch out for tree wells

With the weekend right around the corner, AdventureSmart BC wants you to be aware of tree wells if you're hitting the slopes this weekend.

Tree wells form at the base of pine trees. They are the void or area of loose snow around the trunk of a tree enveloped in deep snow. These voids present a danger to hikers, snowshoers, skiers, and snowboarders who fall into them.

You'll run into tree wells in the backcountry and on ungroomed trails. The risk of encountering one is greatest during and immediately following a heavy snowstorm.

To protect yourself from tree wells, steer clear of areas near tree trunks, close to low hanging branches. Always ski or board with a buddy: they can help get you out, or get help if needed.

If you're unlucky enough to fall in a tree well here are some tips to help you survive.

  • Stay calm; don’t panic.
  • Keep breathing.
  • Turn around slowly so you are facing upwards.
  • Grab hold of the tree trunk or branches and begin pulling yourself up.


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