Evergreen trees in particular (fir, hemlock, etc.) can have large, deep tree wells that form when snow doesn’t get packed down around a tree base. These wells can contain a mix of low-hanging branches, loose snow, and air, so it’s easy for these voids to be hidden from view.
Don’t leave to get help – stay with your partner.
Keep ski or board attached; this will stop them from going in deeper.
Call for additional resources. Use a whistle or yell for assistance; ask someone to call for Ski Patrol.
Evaluate scene safety for yourself.
IMMEDIATELY begin snow immersion rescue efforts.
Keep your partner’s airway clear. Be careful not to knock more snow into the tree well.
Determine where their head is and tunnel in from the side or below. Do not try to pull your partner out the way they fell in.
Continue expanding the tunnel to the airway until you can safely extricate your partner.