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Skier dies in tree well at Whitefish Mountain Resort

By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
Published On: Jan 11 2014 06:08:04 PM MST
Updated On: Jan 12 2014 11:51:59 AM MST
Whitefish Mountain
KALISPELL, Mont. -

Flathead County Sheriff's Department says a skier died at whitefish mountain resort today after falling into a tree well.

NBC Montana has learned the victim is a 54-year-old man from California.

He was skiing with his son, who was the one who discovered his father.

The death is under investigation by the Flathead County Sheriff's Department and the U.S. Forest Service.

The man's identity has not yet been released.

The father was visiting from California, and he and his son both were skiing down a slope together.

When the son reached the bottom, and his father wasn't there, the son retraced their path and noticed his father's ski's sticking out of a tree well.

This is the third skier to die in a tree well at Whitefish Mountain Resort since 2010.

Whitefish Mountain Resort Spokesperson Riley Polumbus says tree wells on the mountain are difficult to spot.

She says they're very saddened by the tragedy.

"There's no way to identify a particular tree as a dangerous tree well by sight and that way you treat all tree wells as dangerous,” said Polumbus.  “Any death at our resort is a tragedy and felt deeply by our entire Whitefish Mountain Resort Community and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends affected by this tragedy."

The Whitefish Mountain Resort is currently in a legal battle with a German foreign exchange student's family who sued the mountain after he died in a tree well in 2010.