While skiing up at Brundage Mountain Resort in Idaho, a father and son had a horrifyingly close call that was caught on camera. What started as a typical run quickly became worrying when Winston Goss could hear his son Ethan crying beneath several feet of snow.
This was on a skiing trip back in 2016. After skiing to a point they were both comfortable with, Ethan and his father decided to hit a jump. But upon landing, Ethan went head-first into an area known as a tree well. A tree well is the space surrounding the base of a tree that’s covered in loose powder. He became trapped under snow and branches. Deep tree wells can be extremely dangerous.
“That part of the resort is ungroomed but still fairly skied,” Winston told KBOI 2News at the time. Idaho only has two double-Black Diamond routes, and this is one of them, KVAL 13 reported. Thankfully, Winston was skiing behind Ethan when he fell into the hole. He quickly rescued his son from harm’s way. Goss shared the harrowing experience on his YouTube channel.
“It was actually our second time going down that run,” Winston explained at the time. His YouTube post has garnered well over a million views. The clip has nearly 2,000 comments and 13,000 likes. “Tree wells are very scary, Winston. captioned the post. “Fortunately I was able to pull my son out. My message to all, never ski alone!”
What skiers should do to avoid tree wells
After watching his son struggle for a few moments, the father in the video springs into action to help him out of the hole. Both Winston and Ethan are relieved and appear ready to move on with their day after experiencing the initial shock.
Every winter, there are headlines about people who get fatally stuck in tree wells. As shown in the video, it is difficult to spot somebody who falls into a tree well when there is so much wide open space. This is why it’s crucial to keep an eye on your skiing partner at all times while you’re in the backcountry. And if they do fall, never take your eyes off of them until you are certain they are safe. Also, establish contact with them as soon as possible if you lose sight of them; assume that they need help until then.
PowderCanada.com reports that a tree well/ snow immersion suffocation accident can occur when a skier or snowboarder falls headfirst into deep loose snow and becomes unable to move, slowly dying of asphyxiation.
In an upside-down position, you could become stuck under the snow, making it hard to breathe as more snow packs in around you. With no help, you will eventually suffocate They continue by explaining that 90% of skiers involved in a tree well hazard were not able to save themselves.