With more than 6 feet of snow in the past two weeks, Steamboat is living up to its worldwide reputation for tree skiing and Champagne Powder snow. But skiing or riding in gladed areas and deep snow carries with it an inherent risk: A fall into deep snow or a tree well can be suffocating and fatal.

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. Prevent your risk of falling into a tree well using the following tips:

  • 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 or after heavy snowstorms.
  • If skiing/riding in deep snow or near trees, assume all trees have a potentially hazardous tree well.
  • Do not ski or ride alone. Stay with a partner and remain close enough to pull or dig out your partner.


If your partner becomes immersed in a tree well, first try to clear an airway, then call patrol at 970-871-5911.

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



Bear, Steamboat Resort’s safety dog

Bear’s Sniffin’ Out Safety blog archive

Find more tips at Steamboat.com/safety

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