Tree Run Rules

All instructors and groups should be aware that there may always be tree wells present and that care always needs to be taken in the trees.  The tree well risk is greatly increased during snow accumulation days.

Sides of the Run:

Classes are allowed to ski in and out of trees that are on the side of the run. This path should be kept to a maximum of one tree deep. Trees used must not have any low hanging branches and thus no risk for a tree-well. Paths must be well tracked and/or traveled, be highly visible from the run, and be suitable for the level of the group.

Designated tree runs are any gladed tree run marked either on the Snow School (SS) Trail Map or WhistlerBlackcomb (WB) Trail Map.  Use the Snow School Trail Maps and Safety Manual to see what tree runs are appropriate for your group.

There are no restrictions on these runs when there is 0-14 cms of snow overnight.

Whistler Kids Designated Tree Runs 

These runs are indicated by dotted lines and found on the Snow School Trail Map. (You won't find them on the WB Trail Map)

The group should be at the level as indicated in the Snow School Safety Manual and the Snow School Trail Map. While skiing on Whistler Kids designated runs, groups must remain in the corridor marked by Whistler Kids symbols.

Blackcomb:

o   Big Dipper (lv 3+) * the number in brackets is the level that your class must be or higher)

o   Honeycomb Corner (lv 4+)     

o   Gnarly Knots (lv 4+)

o   Zig Zag trees (lower left) (lv 4+)                        

o   Baby Bark Trees (lv 3 +)

o   Lower Fraggle Rock (lv 4 +)     

o   Chocolate Factory (lv 5+)     

Whistler:

o   Jolly Green Giant Trees (lv 3+)          o   Fruity Forest (lv 4+)

o   Whiskey Bowl (lv 4+)                         o   Blue Velvet Tree Island (lv 3+)

o   Peak to Peak line (lv 4+)                    o   B-Line (lv3+)       

o   DK Trees (lv 4+)                                 o   Fairydust Trail (lv 3+)    

o  Marmot Trees (lv 3+)                           o   Coyote Trees (lv 4+)    

Whistler kids groups are not allowed in any bike trail unless they are a signed Whistler kids run (i.e. BLine & Fruity Forest)

Snow Accumulation Rules:

Whistler Kids groups aged 3-18,

Whistler Teens (Levels 1-5), and 

Schools on Snow Groups

The above groups will not be allowed in designated tree run areas when snow accumulation is over 14cms. This includes all designated runs on either the WB or SS Trail Maps.

Classes may return to skiing in the trees if there has been 5cms or less of new snow in the last 24 hours as per the WB website weather page.

Whistler Teens Level 6 (ages 13-18) and 

Roundhouse Club programs ages 9-12

On days with less than 30cms of snow, this group may ski/ride any tree run within the ski area boundary, including any run that has trees, but is not marked on the trail map or is not a designated Whistler Kids tree run (as long as the area is not closed or marked as marginal).

It will be left up to the supervisors and coaches to determine which terrain is appropriate for each class. This includes all double blacks and unsigned runs not on the trail map.

To access these areas coaches must have a cell phone and the Teaching Steeps Level 2 Designation.

When skiing in a treed area, regardless of the accumulation, classes should follow the precautions outlined below.

More than 30cms accumulation of snow: No Unmarked Tree Runs 

These classes may use all gladed runs marked on the WB and SS trail maps, including any WKids designated tree runs.

The following precautions must be taken:

  • Group must have a tail gunner (see tail gunner outlines)
  • Groups must follow buddy system at all times
  • Have received basic information on tree skiing/tree well safety from their coach
  • All members of the group wear a whistle

Classes may return to skiing in the trees with no restrictions if there has been 5cm or less of new snow in the last 24hours. This amount will be taken from the WB website weather page.


Roundhouse Club groups 13 years +

These groups have no snow accumulation limitations if the following precautions are taken:

  • Group must have a tail gunner (see tail gunner outlines)
  • Groups must follow buddy system at all times
  • Have received basic information on tree skiing/tree well safety from their coach
  • All members of the group wear a whistle

These groups follow the following guidelines (taken from the WK safety manual):

"Coaches that hold their Teaching Steeps Level 2 Internal Certification may take their classes anywhere within the ski area boundary excluding marginal or closed areas.

This includes double blacks, unsigned runs not on the WBtrail map, and those runs highlighted in Red on the SS Trail Map. "


Private Lessons

Between 15 - 30 cms of fresh snow, Kids under 9 years old must stay on designated/marked tree runs and have a student to Adult ratio of 2:1.

30 cms or more = No tree runs for kids under 9 years old.

Clients 10+ years must have a 3:1 student to Adult ratio and stay on marked tree runs (WB and Snow School trail maps)

Clients 13+ years and Level 5+ ability have no limitations if the following precautions are taken:

  •      Groups must follow buddy system at all times
  •      Have  basic information on tree skiing/tree well safety
  •      Private lessons must have a 3:1 client to ADULT  ratio

 

Additional Information:

These snow accumulation figures have been developed using the knowledge and experience of the Whistler Blackcomb Patrol team and the Whistler Blackcomb Safety Department. These snow amounts have been proven, in the experience and history of patrol observations, to increase the danger of tree wells as fresh snow is not compacted in addition to any snow falling off the tree branches to increase the risk of suffocation if a person was to fall in.

Tail Gunner Information:

A tail gunner must be an adult (another instructor, supervisor, or manager).  2 adults is preferable if the total number of students between the two groups is manageable and the two groups are compatible in ability.  If this is not the case, then the tail gunner may be the instructor and the sole adult with the group.

If the instructor is the tail gunner the group must follow the following guidelines:

  • A designated group leader must be assigned
  • Each pair must be within sight of the pair above and below of them at all times.
  • A safe stopping position or numbers or turns must be established and followed.
  • Leader and other members of the group must have shown good awareness of safety and tree skiing in a previous safe conditions (trees with no snow accumulation); safe stopping spots, good spacing and safe line choice.
  • All members of the group must wear a whistle on their jacket.
  • Communication between the group using a whistle to indicate that the group needs to stop must be practiced.  If a whistle is heard, all members of the group must stop so communication can be established.
  • If the instructor is uncomfortable with any members of the class being the team leader, then they should ski with another group or avoid skiing in the trees on snow accumulation days.

If at any point of the day class members are not following the rules, the instructor should stop skiing in  the trees immediately and repeat the group's orientation during safe conditions.