Tree Well Safety
SIS stands for Snow Immersion Death. SIS incidents occur with deep snow or tree well immersions, in which a rider or skier falls into an area of deep, unconsolidated snow and becomes immobilized. The more the person struggles, the more entrapped in the snow they become, and risk suffocation.
• Each skier or snowboarder controls his or her own level of risk and are the only ones that can prevent this type of accident from happening. Always ski and ride with a partner. To minimize your risk, you must know how to travel safely with your partners in these un-groomed deep snow areas
• Always stay in visual contact so that your partner(s) can see you if you fall. Visual contact means stopping and watching your partner descend at all times, then proceeding downhill while he or she watches you at all times. It does no good if your partner is already waiting for you in lift line while you are still descending the slope;
• Stay close enough to either pull or dig out. If you have any question about what "close enough" to assist someone in a tree well is, hold your breath while you are reading this. The amount of time before you need air may be how much time your partner has to pull or dig you out of danger. Other factors such as creating an air pocket or the position you fall in, may affect this critical timeframe.
• Remember, if you lose visual contact with your partner you could lose your friend. It is important to know that most people who have died in deep snow or tree well accidents had been skiing or riding with "partners" at the time of their accident. Unfortunately, none of these partners were in visual contact so they were not able to be of help in a timely manner.
• If you still have questions, contact JHMR patrol.