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 gaggle 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 who was killed as Bruno Cutelli, a information and a mountain rescue unit member.
A helicopter and two search canines 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 workforce in mourning for one in every 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 instances, she completed sixth within the ladies’s large parallel slalom.
One in every of her best sports activities feats got here in 1999, when she gained the world championship in snowboard cross.
In keeping with the European Avalanche Warning Services, 85 folks have been killed in avalanches throughout the continent to date within the 2020-21 season. Europe averages about 100 avalanche fatalities yearly, the group stated.
In the USA, it has been a very perilous 12 months when it comes to avalanches, which have killed at the very least 35 folks, based on 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 accessible.
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 within the French Alps, based on 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, based on the corporate’s web site. The Poma elevate identify turned extensively related to chair lifts.