Tips for Utah Visitors: Stay on the Trail to Avoid Tree Wells

Tips for Utah Visitors: Stay on the Trail to Avoid Tree Wells

Tips for Utah Visitors: Stay on the Trail to Avoid Tree Wells

While over on the Ski Utah website looking for information about the Skier Responsibility Code, we ran across a post discussing tree wells. You can read it here if you like. It is a fantastic post and one we would like to talk about here on our website. If you are a visitor to Utah and have never skied top-notch resorts before, tree wells are something you should know about.

Tree wells are found off trail for the most part. So if you don’t remember anything else from this post, remember this: the best way to avoid being harmed by a tree well is to stay on groomed trails. If you do happen to lose control and end up off trail, do your best to avoid walking near any trees.

The remainder of this post will consist of our take on tree wells and why they should be avoided. While you are reading, remember that Canyon Sports is your place for daily ski rentals in Utah. We can get you set up for a great day on the slopes regardless of the resort you plan to visit.

Tree Well Basics

Let us start by looking at the two words separately. We are all familiar with trees. As for the well, think of a deep hole from which you would draw water. Fall down that hole and you could be in a world of hurt. We can apply the same thing to the tree well.

A tree well is a hole created around a tree as a result of snow, debris, and low hanging branches. You’ll only find them when there’s snow on the ground. You obviously don’t find them in the summer.

Snow is fairly light. When it falls on unencumbered ground, it stacks up evenly inconsistently. But around a tree, this is not the case. Debris and low hanging branches prevent the snow from reaching the ground at a consistent rate. Therefore, the area immediately around the tree gets less snow. The snow is less compact and, as a result, less stable.

Easy to Fall In

Because the snow around the base of the tree is not as firm, it’s easy to fall through that top layer and into a hole that leaves you surrounded in snow. Based on the amount of snow we get here in Utah a tree well can be as much as 20 feet deep. That’s too deep to climb out of.

What’s more, trying to climb out could cause the snow around you to collapse. That would be bad. Getting out safely would be a matter of someone coming out to help you.

One last thing to know about tree wells is that they are hard to spot from even 10 or 15 feet away. You need to get right up on them to know they are there. But doing so is risky business. A general rule is to just stay away from trees in general.

Have Fun Out There

Tree wells are a real thing. They are also dangerous. Fortunately, the vast majority of people who ski Utah resorts will never have an up-close-and-personal experience with one. Most customers who take advantage of Canyon Sports ski rental will never have to heed the advice in this post. They will stay on the trails and that’s that.

If you do find yourself off the trail for any reason, do your best to stay away from trees. Doing so is the most effective way to guarantee you will never find yourself in a tree well.