(Update: added video, runner comments)
Mount Bachelor warns of ‘extreme tree well danger’ after heavy snowfall, skier dies
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – In a month, Mount Bachelor went from no snow on the ground to a record snowfall in days, increasing the danger of tree wells following a recent the death of the skier.
The resort said it had received nearly five feet (58 inches) in the past 72 hours, including nearly a foot overnight, and “the winds continue to howl.” The Mount Bachelor morning update said wind and conditions will dictate how many lifts can be opened. The mountain lifts have been closed for several days due to the winds. The parking lots were also reaching their maximum capacity due to the amount of snow that had accumulated there.
âIt’s really nice to be in the mountains, but I think my car is completely stuck in the parking lot,â said snowboarder Kian Knight on Wednesday.
Less than a week after a skier fell into a tree pit and died at Mount Bachelor, the resort warned visitors on Wednesday that the new deep snow had created “extreme danger to tree wells,” calling it “mandatory” for skiers and snowboarders to team up while urging them strongly not to no off-piste skiing.
Tree wells, limited visibility and mountain driving are all increased risks.
âI think people sometimes forget when they come to Mount Bachelor – it’s not Disneyland,â said Betsy Norsen, director of mountain operations. “It’s a mountain, with wind and snow, elements and trees and so many factors that you have to take into account.”
While Mt. Bachelor regularly sends out safety tips, staying safe ultimately comes down to the skier and snowboarder.
âThe responsibility of the skier is paramount,â said Leigh Capozzi, director of branding and marketing for Mt. Bachelor.
âWe do everything we can to communicate through our website, through our app, through our ambassadors, through our ticket agents, through patrols, through our ski lift agents,â she said. “There are all these different touch points, but the responsibility of the skier is also very important, especially in these storm cycles.”
Nate Plante, a snowboarder from southern Oregon, says he considers himself a good snowboarder, but found himself in trouble.
âI ended up in two tree wells and I was pretty stuck. Luckily my friends were there, âsaid Plante. âHonestly, it was pretty scary.
Capozzi says preparation for the mountain starts at home.
Having the right gear, pairing, charging your phone, knowing the terrain, and having a plan for your trip are all ways to stay safe.
The ‘Deep Snow Safety Alert’ urged skiers and snowboarders to watch a video on their website regarding tree pit safety and to ‘always ski and ride with a buddy when they venture out. off the beaten track!
Experienced climber Birkan Uzun, originally from Cyprus, died after falling into a tree pit last Friday. This was the fifth such death at Mt. Bachelor in the past 20 years.