Julie Pomagalski, a two-time Olympian for France in snowboarding and a former world champion, was killed in an avalanche within the Swiss Alps on Tuesday, French sports activities officers stated on Wednesday. She was 40.
The accident occurred within the canton of Uri, in line with 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 unfastened for unexplained causes. Freeriding is snowboarding or snowboarding on ungroomed backcountry terrain, in distinction to a course.
Three of them have 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 fully buried by the point they arrived, the authorities stated.
France’s Olympic group expressed its condolences Wednesday on Twitter.
“The tragic dying of Julie, snowboard world champion and Olympian, leaves the France OLY group in mourning for considered one of their very own,” the group stated.
Ms. Pomagalski, who was from the resort city of Méribel within the French Alps, competed within the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake Metropolis and on the Turin Video games in Italy in 2006. Each occasions, she completed sixth within the girls’s big parallel slalom.
Certainly one of her best sports activities feats got here in 1999, when she gained the world championship in snowboard cross.
In line with the European Avalanche Warning Services, 85 individuals have been killed in avalanches throughout the continent thus far within the 2020-21 season. Europe averages about 100 avalanche fatalities yearly, the group stated.
In the US, it has been a very perilous 12 months by way of avalanches, which have killed not less than 35 individuals, in line with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, which tracks fatalities in each state. The entire 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. Particulars 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 raise in Alpe d’Huez within the French Alps, in line with a history of the Poma Group, an organization he based. The raise carried skiers about 705 toes and a vertical distance of about 210 toes, in line with the corporate’s web site. The Poma raise identify grew to become broadly related to chair lifts.