A 16-year old girl from Indiana died in early January while skiing at [R476R, Treetops Resort] in Gaylord, Mich., reported Michigan State Police. The fatality was one of a very few that occur each year in the state.

The young girl, on vacation with a church youth group, was reported missing about 7:30 p.m.  Ski patrol members found her about an hour later in a wooded area off one of the slopes. They theorize she went off slope and hit a tree.  She was not wearing a helmet.

Michigan has averaged two ski related deaths per year over the last three years, according to Michigan Ski Safety Board member Mark Dorman. 

"We had three ski related accidental deaths during the 2005/2006 season, one during the following season, and two last season," Dorman told OnTheSnow.com.  "It's unfortunate, but that is statistically about what you expect. When you look at the number of ski-related deaths nationally per million skier visits and multiply that rate times the number of Michigan skier visits, we should expect about two deaths per season."

Statistics from the National Ski Areas Association show skiing and snowboarding related deaths are much lower than other outdoor pursuits such as swimming and bicycling.  Between 20 and 30 people, sometimes more, will die from a snowmobiling related accident during a normal winter in Michigan alone.