Kind Skier Digs Out Snowboarder Who Was Buried Upside Down in the Snow After He Crashed Into a Tree

While photographer Francis Zuber was skiing down the slope of Mount Baker in Washington State, he saw a brightly covered snowboard sticking out of a snowy tree well. When he went to investigate, he saw that the rider Ian Steger was stuck upside down and buried in the snow. Zuber used his tools and a great deal of strength to dig the Steger out, talking encouragingly to him during the whole extrication process.

Tree well rescue in the Mt. Baker side country. I was skiing a zone with a partner when I passed by a snowboarder upside down and buried in a tree well. I only caught a glimpse of his board but it was enough to get my attention.

Tree well rescue at Mt Baker

Zuber also stated that this could have happened to anyone at any skill level.

All I’ll say for now is 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. Take an Avy 1 course, and get trained on what to do if you find yourself in this situation. I’m thankful I knew just enough to scrape by and perform a successful rescue. And always look out for each other out there.

Steger is extremely grateful that Zeger stopped to save him. The two have since become good friends.

Grateful to be back on the mountain and to get a day in with my new brother Frances Zuber. There are no words to express the gratitude that Hana Hou and I have for you. Thanks for saving my life.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.