WINTER SPORTS -- It happened last week at Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana, and now another report from Wednesday of a Washington skier without a partner falling into a powder pit at the base of a tree and suffocating.
CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN, Wash. (AP) — The ski patrol at Washington’s Crystal Mountain Resort says a Seattle skier died when he apparently suffocated in a tree well.
The ski patrol says a skier told patrol members shortly before 2:30 p.m. Wednesday that her skiing partner was missing. KOMO-TV reports that the patrol says the man had last been seen about 90 minutes earlier.
Ski patrol members spotted some ski equipment near the base of a tree and located the 35-year-old man. They dug him out and began CPR but he died. He was not immediately identified.
Snow immersion suffocation can happen when a skier falls, usually headfirst, into deep loose snow at the base of a tree and becomes immobilized under the snow.
The resort’s ski patrol director, Paul Baugher, says it’s important to ski with a partner and keep each other in sight.
Crystal Mountain has gotten 19 inches of snow in the past 24 hours.