UPDATE: After a skiing death, instructors remind us of safety on the slopes

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UPDATED: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 --- 10:18 p.m.

PORTAGE, Wis. --- After a woman died in a ski accident over the weekend at Cascade Mountain, ski safety is on a lot of people's minds.

Authorities identified the victim as 24-year-old Bethany Rieth. She graduated with a nursing degree from UW Madison in 2015.

Ski instructors have some advice before getting on the lift.

According to Columbia County Sheriff's Office, Rieth was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, something instructors say is the number one piece of advice they give skiers and snowboarders.

"A helmet may not prevent all injuries, but it does reduce injuries in almost every instance," Ski Patrol Risk Manager Randy Axelson says.

And, more and more skiers and snowboarders are wearing them.

"At Cascade, we're gaining about ten percent a year in helmet usage," he says. "We have something here where if you rent skis or rent a snowboard from us, the helmet is provided free in that package."

He says because of that, the number of deaths on the slopes is very low.

"Most people think the number would be higher," he says.

Last season, according to the National Ski Areas Association, out of more than 53 million skier and snowboarder visits across the country there were 35 deaths. That comes out to be less than one death per one million skier visits.

It also has to do with the way people are learning.

"It's very important that when you're starting out as a skier or a rider that you take a lesson from a qualified instructor, because they will teach you how to stop, they'll teach you how to turn, how to go left, how to go right, how to control your speed," Axelson says.

To ultimately have the best time on the slopes.

"It's winter, you're in Wisconsin," he says. "It's a great activity, it's a great family activity. I can't think of another sport that brings family together better than skiing and snowboarding together."


UPDATED: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 --- 3:45 p.m.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Wis. --- The Columbia County Sheriff's Office has identified the 24-year-old woman who died while skiing at Cascade Mountain on Saturday.

24-year-old Bethany Rieth from Oconto Falls died after hitting a tree. She was not wearing helmet at the time of the accident according to the sheriff's office.
Posted Sunday, February 7, 2016 -- 10:18 a.m.

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Wis. -- A 24 year-old woman has died following an incident at Cascade Mountain.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to the ski hill around 10:30 a.m. Saturday for an injured person needing medical assistance.

Witnesses say the woman had struck a tree while skiing.

The victim was taken to the hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office is investigating, however the incident appears to be accidental at this time.