White Pass Tree Well Death Saturday

Sad news out of White Pass this weekend, Woman skier falls into tree well, suffocates on Saturday:

The woman, in her 20s, was an experienced skier and was skiing with a few friends on Saturday. Ski area general manager Kevin McCarthy said she was the last of the group to go down a run and fell headfirst into a tree well, where snow piled up around a tree. With no one around to pull her out, she suffocated.

The woman, KyOna Hoff, was an experience skier, Deep powder draws skiers, raises risks:

Experienced enough to have worked as a ski instructor at White Pass as recently as the winter of 2010-11, Hoff was skiing at the back of a small group of friends on the West Ridge, straddling the far reaches of the area’s Paradise Basin expansion.

She was well within the area’s boundaries, skiing through what Talbot described as “like a big clearing, with a lone tree.”

But a snowstorm over the previous 36 hours had dropped 27 inches of fresh powder, and as Hoff passed the tree, one or both skis caught the edge of the well and she was quickly trapped.

Sadly, this is at least the second tree well death in the Washington area this season, Tree Well Death at Stevens Pass January 22.

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