Video Shows Heroic Rescue of Snowboarder Buried Alive

If you are a fan of winter sports, you may have seen the viral video that shows the heroic rescue of a snowboarder who was buried in the snow at Mount Baker Ski Area in Washington. The video, captured by skier Francis Zuber’s headcam, has been viewed millions of times on social media and news outlets, and has sparked a conversation about the dangers of tree wells and how to avoid them.

Tree wells are spaces around trees where snow does not accumulate, creating a sinkhole of sorts. They are often invisible from above, and can trap unsuspecting skiers or snowboarders who fall into them. The snow in a tree well is loose and unconsolidated, making it hard to move or breathe. According to the Northwest Avalanche Center, tree wells are responsible for 20% of all ski area fatalities.

That’s what happened to Ian Steger, a snowboarder who was riding with his friends on March 3rd. He chose a narrow lane between the trees that had a hidden tree well in it. He fell headfirst into the hole and was completely submerged under several feet of snow. He couldn’t reach his radio or his avalanche beacon, and he thought he was going to die.

Luckily for him, Zuber was skiing behind him and noticed his snowboard sticking out of the snow. He quickly skied over to him and started digging with his hands. He managed to reach Steger’s face and clear his mouth and nose so he could breathe. He then used his shovel to dig him out completely. The whole ordeal lasted about seven minutes, which is close to the limit of survival time in a tree well.

Steger was grateful for Zuber’s quick action and called him a brother. Zuber said he was just doing what anyone would do in that situation. He also said he hopes the video will raise awareness about tree wells and how to avoid them.

Some tips to avoid tree wells are:

– Ski or ride with a partner and keep them in sight at all times.
– Avoid skiing or riding close to trees, especially on powder days.
– If you fall into a tree well, try to stay calm and create an air pocket around your face.
– If you see someone fall into a tree well, call for help and start digging as soon as possible.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here