- Associated Press - Monday, February 17, 2014

WHITEFISH, Mont. (AP) - A Canadian oil executive and older brother of an Olympic bronze medal skier died in a weekend skiing accident at Whitefish Mountain Resort in northwestern Montana.

Thomas Podivinsky, of Calgary, Alberta, died after falling into a tree well, the Flathead County sheriff’s office said Monday.

Podivinsky, 48, was skiing with a friend when they became separated at about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Whitefish Mountain Resort spokesman Riley Polumbus said. When Podivinsky failed to meet up with a group of people as planned, he was reported missing at about 1 p.m.

Ski patrollers found Podivinsky upside-down in a tree well and were unable to resuscitate him.

A tree well is a hole in the snow that forms around the base of a tree. When a person falls in, the snow around the hole usually follows, causing suffocation, Polumbus said.

The Missoulian reports Thomas Podivinsky was the chief geophysicist at Athabasca Oil Corp. His younger brother Edi Podivinsky won a bronze medal in alpine skiing in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

Podivinsky is the second man to die in a tree well at the resort this year. A 53-year-old California man died Jan. 11.

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