Skier dies after hitting tree at Coffee Mill Ski Area - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Skier dies after hitting tree at Coffee Mill Ski Area

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Coffee Mill Ski Area (File photo courtesy CMSA) Coffee Mill Ski Area (File photo courtesy CMSA)
Bethany Becker Bethany Becker
WABASHA, Minn. (KTTC) -

A young woman from the Twin Cities area died Saturday after a skiing accident at Coffee Mill Ski Area in Wabasha.

Wabasha Police Chief Joe Stark identified the skier as Bethany Becker, 19, of Corcoran, Minnesota.

The accident happened about 5:30 p.m. Saturday.  Stark said his officers on the scene reported that Becker was a novice skier and had been attempting a downhill run on one of the more advanced runs at Coffee Mill.  The woman hit a tree after failing to make a turn toward the bottom of the slope.

The police chief said an ambulance crew began transporting her to Mayo Clinic-Saint Marys and met the Mayo One helicopter at Plainview along the way.  Stark said it was his understanding that she passed away in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. 

Coffee Mill Ski Area is a community-owned hill, and one of those involved in its operation said "safety first" is the top priority but it's hard to control the people on the slopes, which are said to be the steepest runs south of Duluth.

"The ski patrollers do a great job with keeping everyone safe but obviously they cannot watch everyone at every minute," said the community shareholder. "I just wanted to share that if someone is skiing for the first time in their life, and they have no helmet on, then they decide to try a very steep run- you're just asking for a serious accident which if unfortunately what happened."

"Skiing is a dangerous sport," added the Coffee Mill Ski Area shareholder. "We get a lot of people at Coffee Mill (especially with school groups) who claim they can ski and try to go up the chairlifts for the big runs. People are too embarrassed to admit they cannot ski, or they try to take a "lesson" from a non-certified family member who can barely make it down the run themselves."

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