A man died after falling into a tree well at the 49 Degrees North ski area near Chewelah on Monday, according to the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office.
A tree well is an area of no snow or loose snow at the base of a tree. People who fall in head-first are at a high risk of snow immersion suffocation.
Capt. Andy Harbolt it appeared that the man fell into the tree well backwards.
He called the incident “a tragic accident.”
The ski patrol responded to the scene before deputies arrived, Harbolt said. The incident is under investigation by the U.S. Forest Service.
No one at the ski area could immediately be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.