Dramatic video shows buried snowboarder being rescued by fellow skier

A snowboarder in Washington state was trapped upside down in a tree well before being rescued by a nearby skier. (Source: Francis Zuber/LOCAL NEWS X/TMX)
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 9:31 PM EDT
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WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. (Gray News/TMX) - A snowboarder trapped upside down in a tree well has a quick-thinking skier to thank for his rescue.

Francis Zuber shared a video of the harrowing rescue that occurred at the Mt. Baker Ski Area in northwestern Washington state earlier this month.

“Tree wells are real,” Zuber wrote in an Instagram post along with the rescue video.

Zuber’s video starts with him getting caught up in some deep powder. He makes his way out and gets back on his way when he suddenly stops after noticing a snowboard barely sticking up out of the snow.

“You alright?” he could be heard asking.

Receiving no response, he then quickly turns and starts packing the snow with his skis to make a path over to the tree well where the snowboarder can be seen buried.

Once closer, Zuber removes his skis, pulls himself up the snow mound, and starts digging with his hands.

“Hold on, I’m coming,” Zuber said. He continued to dig until he finally reached the snowboarder’s head while trying to get the man some air.

“You alright? Can you hear me?” Zuber asks. At first, there was no response as more snow fell in the way. But Zuber kept digging and then the snowboarder can be seen moving his arm.

Zuber continued to clear snow from the snowboarder’s face before the trapped man was able to breathe.

“OK, you’re good, I got you,” Zuber said. “Alright, we’re both going catch our breath for a second, then I’m going dig you out with my shovel.”

The snowboarder can be heard thanking Zuber for rescuing him.

“Yeah, no problem,” Zuber responded.

Zuber proceeded to assemble an emergency shovel and dig the snowboarder out completely.

“The mountains don’t care how much skill or experience you have. They don’t even care if you and your ski partners are doing everything right,” Zuber wrote online.

He advised those hitting the slopes to take an avalanche training course to learn how to survive these types of situations.

“I’m thankful I knew just enough to scrape by and perform a successful rescue,” Zuber said. “And always look out for each other out there.”