West Van man dies after tree-well incident on Whistler Mountain 

Whistler Blackcomb reminds people to ski with a partner

  • File Photo

A 63-year-old West Vancouver male skier has died after a tree-well incident on Whistler Mountain.

At 11:15am on Saturday, Jan. 11 Whistler Mountain Ski Patrol was notified of the incident near Ratfink run on Whistler Mountain.

Whistler Mountain Ski Patrol, a paramedic and a mountain doctor responded to the scene immediately, while members of the public administered CPR. Resuscitation attempts continued as the male was transported down Whistler Mountain to an ambulance and on to the Whistler Health Care Centre, where he was pronounced dead.

S/Sgt Steve LeClair said the man's death is under investigation because the cause of the man's death is unknown.

"We aren't sure if he suffocated or if a medical condition played a role," LeClair said of the man's death.

Natural hazards such as tree wells occur within and outside of the ski area boundary. It is always a good idea to ski/ride with a partner or group.

A tree well is a hole or depression that forms around the base of a tree while snow accumulates. A tree well incident occurs when a person falls, head first, into an area of deep snow around the base of a tree and becomes immobilized. The more the person struggles the more entrapped in the snow they become. The risks of a tree well accident or fatality can be reduced by following these basic practices:

• •Always ski or ride with a partner

• • Keep your partner in sight and stay in visual contact so they can see you if you fall

• • Stay close enough to either pull or dig each other out

Check back for more on this story as it becomes available.

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