Julie Pomagalski, a two-time Olympian for France in snowboarding and a former world champion, was killed in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps on Tuesday, French sports activities officers stated on Wednesday. She was 40.
The accident occurred in the canton of Uri, in response to the Swiss authorities, who stated that Ms. Pomagalski was amongst a bunch of 4 individuals who had been freeriding on a mountain, Gemsstock, when a slab of snow broke free for unexplained causes. Freeriding is snowboarding or snowboarding on ungroomed backcountry terrain, in distinction to a course.
Three of them had been swept away by the avalanche, with two dying and one particular person hospitalized, a police report said. The French ski federation recognized the opposite one that was killed as Bruno Cutelli, a information and a mountain rescue unit member.
A helicopter and two search canine responded to the mountain, however Ms. Pomagalski and Mr. Cutelli had been utterly buried by the point they arrived, the authorities stated.
France’s Olympic group expressed its condolences Wednesday on Twitter.
“The tragic death of Julie, snowboard world champion and Olympian, leaves the France OLY team in mourning for one of their own,” the group stated.
Ms. Pomagalski, who was from the resort city of Méribel in the French Alps, competed in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and on the Turin Games in Italy in 2006. Both occasions, she completed sixth in the ladies’s large parallel slalom.
One of her best sports activities feats got here in 1999, when she received the world championship in snowboard cross.
According to the European Avalanche Warning Services, 85 individuals have been killed in avalanches throughout the continent thus far in the 2020-21 season. Europe averages about 100 avalanche fatalities yearly, the group stated.
In the United States, it has been a very perilous yr in phrases of avalanches, which have killed at the very least 35 individuals, in response to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, which tracks fatalities in each state. The whole variety of fatalities for all of final season was 23.
Ms. Pomagalski was born Oct. 10, 1980, in La Tronche, France, which is close to Grenoble. Details about her survivors weren’t instantly out there.
She got here from a line of alpine sporting fans.
In 1934, her grandfather Jean Pomagalski, a 29-year-old engineer on the time, invented the primary floor elevate in Alpe d’Huez in the French Alps, in response to a history of the Poma Group, an organization he based. The elevate carried skiers about 705 toes and a vertical distance of about 210 toes, in response to the corporate’s web site. The Poma elevate title grew to become extensively related to chair lifts.