Tree Wells are a common hidden danger on the slopes. When you're out enjoying the snowy wilderness, you may encounter trees that are partially buried. Equally important are trees that have been completely covered in snow. The boughs of the trees create air pockets which can pull you down into the snow if you step on them.
Steps To Avoid Danger
- Be aware of your surroundings. If you see trees that are partially buried, consider that there may be more that you can't see below the surface.
- Give a wide berth to these trees especially if you're hiking or snowshoeing. You place more energy when you take a step compared to when you're on skis.
- Check the tension of the snow surface with a ski pole or stick. When the snow is densly packed, tree wells are less common.
- Keep in mind that after a large accumulation of snow the odds of encountering a tree well increases. Loose, granular snow creates environments for tree wells to exist.
- Refrain from walking near the bases of trees, i.e. trunks. Snow melts more quickly when in contact with the tree creating softer conditions near the tree.