Crystal Mountain skier dies after falling into tree well

Crystal Mountain skier dies after falling into tree well

Credit: Pete Cassam

Crystal Mountain skier dies after falling into tree well

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on February 19, 2014 at 7:24 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 19 at 7:45 PM

A skier died at Crystal Mountain on Wednesday after falling into a tree well, officials at the resort said.

Officials say at about 2:25pm ski patrol received a report from a skier that their ski partner was missing and had last been seen at approximately 1:00pm in an area called Dick's Face. 

Ski patrol was immediately dispatched to that location. 

The ski patroller who was dispatched found some equipment near the base of a tree and the missing person, a 35-year-old Seattle man, was found unresponsive in a tree well at 2:30pm. 

Ski patrol dug the victim out and began CPR but was unsuccessful.

Officials said it appears the victim died from snow immersion suffocation, which happens when a skier or snowboarder falls - usually headfirst - into a tree well or deep loose snow and becomes immobilized and trapped under the snow and suffocates.

Crystal Mountain Resort received 19 inches of snow in a 24-hour period, and a total of 94 inches in the past 9 days.
 
"This serves as an unfortunate and sad reminder of how important it is to ski and ride with a partner, and keep them in sight, especially where there's a lot of new and unsettled snow," said Paul Baugher, Ski Patrol Director.

Tree well safety website: http://www.deepsnowsafety.org/index.php/

On Monday, a skier died in a fall at Stevens Pass.

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