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, based on 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 stated. 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 loss of life of Julie, snowboard world champion and Olympian, leaves the France OLY staff in mourning for one among 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 ladies’s large parallel slalom.
Certainly one of her biggest sports activities feats got here in 1999, when she received the world championship in snowboard cross.
Based on the European Avalanche Warning Companies, 85 folks 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 USA, it has been a very perilous yr by way of avalanches, which have killed at the least 35 folks, based on the Colorado Avalanche Info Heart, 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. Particulars about her survivors weren’t instantly accessible.
She got here from a line of alpine sporting lovers.
In 1934, her grandfather Jean Pomagalski, a 29-year-old engineer on the time, invented the primary floor carry in Alpe d’Huez within the French Alps, based on a historical past of the Poma Group, an organization he based. The carry carried skiers about 705 toes and a vertical distance of about 210 toes, based on the corporate’s web site. The Poma carry identify turned extensively related to chair lifts.