A Calgary oil executive on vacation with his family at Whitefish Mountain Resort, Montana has died after falling into a tree well this weekend.  Tom Podivinsky, 48, was skiing with a group when he elected to separate from the pack to ski a treed area at approximately 12:30 p.m. The rest of the group became worried when Podivinsky failed to arrive at the base of the lift and the skier was reported missing to the patrol cabin at 1:00 p.m.

According to reports, two teams scoured the area where Podivinsky was last seen but were unsuccessful in their search.  At approximately 2:15 p.m., a third patrol unit located Podivinsky upside down in a tree well between the Hollywood and Silvertip runs.  The rescue team attempted to resuscitate the unresponsive man for nearly 30 minutes before the effort was halted.

Podivinsky is the second man to die in a tree well at the resort this year and a statement issued Monday from Whitefish Mountain Resort encouraged guests to take extra caution when skiing in the trees.

Podivinsky’s younger brother , Edi Podivinsky, is an Olympic downhill medallist.  Though not an Olymipic athlete, members of the Alberta ski community agree that Tom Podivinsky was a superb skier. Sadly, even the best of skiers can quickly succumb when entrapped in a tree well, and the only hope is that a companion will assist in a rescue.  That makes it essential that skiers stay with partners, no matter how tempting it is to go off on your own, because waiting 20 or 30 minutes to sound an alarm is much too late for those stuck upside down in snow.

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