NEWS Skier killed in ‘tree well’ accident at Colorado ski resort

Skier killed in 'tree well' accident at Colorado ski resort

A skier died Friday at Steamboat Resort after an accident involving a tree well, according to officials with the Root County Coroner’s Office.

A spokesperson for the resort reported that Steamboat Ski Patrol was notified of a guest in distress Friday morning. The team responded and the victim was taken to hospital. He was later pronounced dead.

The coroner’s office has identified the victim as Thomas R. Rhodes, 65. Rhodes, of Kentucky, and his son were at the resort when the accident occurred, according to a report from Steamboat Pilot.

Further details related to the accident have not been released.

Treewells form a kind of hole at the base and around the trunk of an evergreen tree made of less compacted snow. Wells can be unstable and often hidden from view. Treewells can be very dangerous as a skier or snowboarder can accidentally fall into them, often head first. Trapped under the snow, suffocation becomes a major possibility.

“There is often no easy way to visually identify if a particular tree has a hole, as branches often block the visibility of holes that may exist. One should assume there is a tree for every tree,” reads the Steamboat website .

The resort offers the following tips to prevent tree well accidents:

  • Avoid skiing/riding too close to trees, especially evergreens, in deep snow or after a snowstorm
  • All trees are assumed to be potentially dangerous trees
  • Don’t Ski/Ride Alone
  • keep your partner within sight
  • be aware of your surroundings

Condolences to those affected by this death.

It was the fifth fatal resort accident reported in Colorado this season. In addition to these deaths, a skier and a snowboarder also died in remote areas.

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