Bend, OR. -- Mt. Bachelor says two people died on March 2, 2018 in unrelated incidents. The man and woman died from falling into tree wells. They say for two unrelated incidents to happen in one day is exceptionally rare.
A tree well forms when there is deep snow around the base of a tree. When it snows the low hanging branches cover the ground, causing the snow underneath to be loose instead of compact. This makes it difficult to get out of, because some tree wells can be as deep as 20 feet. So instead of being able to walk over the snow, a person would fall into the loose powder unable to get out.
According to Mt. Bachelor, on Friday at 12:00 p.m. an adult male snowboarder was discovered in a tree well in the West Bowls, an experts-only area near the Northwest lift.
Mt. Bachelor says ski patrol members arrived and performed CPR while transporting the snowboarder to the West Village base area. They say he was transferred to the care of local emergency response personnel, who pronounced him dead at 1:14 p.m.
At 3:30 p.m. Mt. Bachelor ski patrol says they received a report of a missing adult female skier who had become separated from her friends.
The Mt. Bachelor ski patrol says they launched a search with Deschutes County Search and Rescue (SAR) and after several hours of searching, crews located the missing skier at approximately 8:30 p.m. Friday evening in a tree well near the more-difficult White Bark run in the vicinity of the Cloudchaser lift. Mt. Bachelor says she was pronounced dead at the scene.
Members of the Mt. Bachelor ski patrol and the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office are investigating both incidents.
Mt. Bachelor says prior to Friday’s incidents, the last tree well fatality at Mt. Bachelor occurred in 2002.