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1 person dies in tree well incident near Whitefish Mountain Resort

Posted at 4:37 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 11:12:26-05

WHITEFISH — UPDATE

WHITEFISH - A person died Friday afternoon after a tree well incident in an area near Whitefish Mountain Resort.

A resort spokeswoman says the ski patrol was dispatched to a location outside of the ski area boundary just after 12 p.m.

The patrol skied the last known area the male individual was said to have been seen and found him in a tree well around 1:35 p.m.

CPR was performed on the scene and as the patient was taken to North Valley Hospital's Base Lodge Clinic.

While both Two Bear Air and ALERT were called, it was determined that ground transportation by toboggan was the best mode of transport.

No other details, including the person's name, have been released.

A tree well is a void or depression that forms around the base of a tree can contain a mix of low hanging branches, loose snow and air.

Evergreen trees in particular can have large, deep tree wells that form when low-hanging branches block snow from filling in and consolidating around the base of the tree.

These voids can be hidden from view by the tree’s low-hanging branches.

Skiers or boarders who get close to those trees can fall in, often headfirst, and suffocate.

For your safety, you should assume all trees have hazardous tree wells.


(first report: 4:37 p.m. - Feb. 26, 2021)

A person was hurt on Friday afternoon following a tree well incident near Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Resort spokeswoman Maren McKay says that shortly after 12 p.m. the ski patrol was dispatched to a tree well incident outside of the ski area boundary.

“Ski Patrol skied the last known area where the individual was said to have been seen and found the individual in a tree well around 1:35 p.m.,” McKay said in a statement.

CPR was performed on the scene and the patient was taken to North Valley Hospital's Base Lodge Clinic. The patient was later transported to an area hospital.

McKay says that after the patient arrived at the clinic Big Mountain ambulance transported the patient to the hospital. No further information about the patient is available at this time.

Whitefish Mountain Resort would like to remind skiers and riders of the dangers of tree wells,” McKay said. “If you choose to ski in the trees always ski with a buddy and with a whistle.”

Click here for additional information about tree well safety.

We will have more information on this developing story as it becomes available.