March 26, 2023

Complete News World

Kyle Smein is among the skiers killed in an avalanche in Japan


Kyle Smein, the American freestyle skier who took gold in the halfpipe at the 2015 World Championships, was one of two men killed Sunday in an avalanche while snowboarding in Japan.

Smaine, 31, from South Lake Tahoe, California, was on a marketing trip for Ikon Pass and Nagano Tourism, According to the outdoor sports publication Mountain Gazette, and was in Japan for the “incredible quality of snow,” he wrote on Instagram. Alterra Mountain, which owns Ikon Pass, confirmed Smaine’s death in an email to The Washington Post on Monday and said it occurred during a downtime after his marketing duties ended.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of athlete and friend Kyle Smein. He will be sorely missed among the Tahoe community and fans around the world. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and wide community of friends,” the company wrote.

Earlier on Monday, a State Department spokesperson confirmed in an emailed statement that a US citizen had been killed but did not confirm that person’s identity, citing privacy concerns.

“The US State Department has no higher priority than the safety and security of US citizens abroad,” the statement read. “We are aware of an avalanche in Nagano, Japan, on January 29. We can confirm the death of a US citizen in Nagano on January 30. Due to privacy considerations, we do not have additional details at this time.”

A snowboarder is caught in an avalanche. He filmed his 300-foot slide.

A spokesman for the US Embassy in Tokyo said it was aware of the incident in Nagano Prefecture and was in contact with the relevant authorities to provide all appropriate assistance.

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A spokesman for the Nagano Prefectural Police said at least five skiers from the United States and Austria were caught in the avalanche on the eastern slope of Mount Hakuba Norikura. Reuters. Three managed to escape the avalanche, but two skiers were found dead. The weather forced the search to be suspended, and their bodies were recovered on Monday.

An avalanche warning was issued for the region with Japan Dealing with heavy snow on a large scale and cold recording. Backcountry skiing is popular with advanced skiers and snowboarders, lured by the fresh, deep snow and absence of crowds. “This,” was Smyn written on Instagram with a video of him skating, “This is what brings me back to Japan every winter.”

But even an experienced skier or snowboarder can cause or become caught in a natural avalanche, starting a race against time—and the odds—for rescue teams. Although most of the victims were buried in an average of only three feet of snow, the Prospects for survival are becoming increasingly unlikely About 15 minutes later, Dale Atkins, former president of the American Avalanche Association and former forecaster with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, he told the newspaper The year is 2021. When the avalanche stops, the ice collects around the victims, becoming almost concrete.

Grant Gunderson, a Mountain Gazette photographer, and Adam Ü, a professional skier from Glacier, Washington, were also on the trip, and told the Mountain Gazette that Smaine and the other deceased skier, who was not identified, were hauling backcountry gear on an uphill climb when the avalanche hit.

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“It was the last time on the last day of our trip,” the post said.

As news of the tragedy spread through the freestyle skiing community, there were many memories on social media. Joss Christensen, a skater in Park City, Utah, responded to Fatty’s latest video: “I wish we had more time to skate over the last few years. Thank you for always being such a positive energy Kyle.”

USA Free Skating Team wrote on Instagram that he had lost an “incredible person, friend, skier, and teammate to the mountains,” describing Smaine as “a fierce competitor but an even better person and friend.”

Travis Gunung, Olympian and freestyle skier, books He said he was “sad to hear of my friend’s passing. … He loved skiing more than anyone I know. We will miss you.”

Mio Enuma reported from Tokyo.