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Be aware of NARSID

I've been skiing and snowboarding for just 3-4 years, and before, I have always thought that the only danger that existed in the mountains was an avalanche. But even that , I thought , could happen somewhere in Himalayas or at least on Rainier.

When I started working as a ski instructor, I realized that not all mountain hazards come in the form of avalanches. That's when I first heard about NARSID - Non-Avalanche Related Snow Immersion Death.

Many skiers/snowboarders are aware of inbound avalanches, the danger of getting lost, or hitting a tree. But not many skiers and boarders have heard of tree wells.

A deep snow or tree well accident occurs when a rider or skier falls into an area of deep unconsolidated snow and becomes immobilized. The more the person struggles the more entrapped in the snow they become.

If a partner is not there for immediate rescue, the skier or rider may die very quickly from suffocation - in many cases, they can die as quickly as someone can drown in water.

Even people who are familiar with tree wells under-appreciate the danger of this hazard.

According to the statistics, 90 percent of sliders who fall into tree wells are unable to get out without help. The odds of surviving a deep snow immersion/NARSID accident are low; especially if you are by yourself.

So, remember, next time you are filming one of your friends skiing and he happens to fall into a tree well...just keep filming, cause I couldn't find a single good video online:

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