A 16-year-old skier from Columbia Falls, Idaho died at a local medical clinic four days after being found unconscious in a tree well. The accident occurred out of bounds Whitefish Mountain Resort. The victim was found last Wednesday unconscious, upside down in a tree well near the T-bar 2 lift line east of Big Mountain’s summit, according to a resort spokesman.
Two skiers stopped when they saw a pair of skis sticking out of the snow and began digging the teen out. A licensed nurse who was skiing in the area stopped to help and started administering CPR. A ski patroller arrived on scene and utilized an automated external defibrillator. The victim was unresponsive throughout the rescue effort.
The victim was an exchange student from Germany, attending a local high school. Blizzard conditions were present on the mountain at the time, including heavy snow, steady wind and freezing temperatures. The accident demonstrates the absolute necessity of skiing with others – tree well deaths are becoming far too common.