A tree well is a void or depression that forms around the base of a tree can and contain a mix of low hanging branches, loose snow, and air. Evergreen trees in particular (fir, hemlock, etc) can have large, deep tree wells that can often be hidden from view by the tree’s low hanging branches.
Tree Well accidents happen when a skier or snowboarder falls in, usually headfirst, and becomes immobilized. There is no easy way to identify if a particular tree has a dangerous tree well by sight therefore, treat all tree wells as dangerous and always ski or ride with a partner when venturing into the trees.
Eaglecrest has amazing backcountry access. It’s part of what makes us such a special ski area, but you must realize that backcountry is dangerous.
If you choose to venture beyond the ski area boundary, you are solely responsible for your decisions, safety and welfare. There are no Ski Patrol services or avalanche control work. You may encounter avalanches, unmarked terrain hazards, disorienting terrain and abrupt changes in weather.
Know before you go!
- Avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe and skills to use them
- Partners who are properly trained and equipped
- Practiced companion and self-rescue skills
- Knowledge of the current snowpack structure
- The current weather forecast
- A plan, someone who knows when and where you are going
- Avalanche awareness training, don’t go without it
- Backcountry travel skills
EAGLECREST BEACON PARK
The Beacon Park is self-service educational tool located in in the run out below Raven and above Log Jam. The park was funded through a generous grant by the Alaska Search & Rescue Association via Juneau Mountain Rescue.
You will need an avalanche transceiver and probe. Please to do not dig up the search targets as they do not contain conventional transceivers.
- Choose your level of difficulty: Easy (1-2 targets), Medium (2-4 targets), Expert (3-6 targets).
- Activate the control unit, creating a random pattern of targets according to the difficulty level.
- Search with your transceiver and probe for the targets buried in the snow. Bamboo poles define the search area.
- Hit the target with the probe. The light and horn above the control panel will confirm the strike.
- When all targets are found, the light and horn will go off three times and the control unit will show search times.
Avalanches are an inherent risk of the sport due to the nature of snow and it’s accumulation on steep, mountainous terrain. Become educated on how to reduce the risk of injury or death from avalanches through your own actions and awareness.
Take a training class, get certified, read online resources, and feel free to contact Eaglecrest’s Ski Patrol for further information.