Julie Pomagalski, Former Olympic Snowboarder, Is Killed in an Avalanche
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 mentioned on Wednesday. She was 40.
The accident occurred in the canton of Uri, in accordance with the Swiss authorities, who mentioned that Ms. Pomagalski was amongst a gaggle 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 have been swept away by the avalanche, with two dying and one particular person hospitalized, a police report mentioned. 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 canines responded to the mountain, however Ms. Pomagalski and Mr. Cutelli had been fully buried by the point they arrived, the authorities mentioned.
France’s Olympic group expressed its condolences Wednesday on Twitter.
“The tragic demise of Julie, snowboard world champion and Olympian, leaves the France OLY workforce in mourning for one in every of their very own,” the group mentioned.
Ms. Pomagalski, who was from the resort city of Méribel in the French Alps, competed in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake Metropolis and on the Turin Video games in Italy in 2006. Each occasions, she completed sixth in the ladies’s large parallel slalom.
Considered 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 Providers, 85 folks have been killed in avalanches throughout the continent to date in the 2020-21 season. Europe averages about 100 avalanche fatalities yearly, the group mentioned.
In the US, it has been a very perilous 12 months in phrases of avalanches, which have killed no less than 35 folks, in accordance with the Colorado Avalanche Info Middle, 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 lovers.
In 1934, her grandfather Jean Pomagalski, a 29-year-old engineer on the time, invented the primary floor raise in Alpe d’Huez in the French Alps, in accordance with a historical past of the Poma Group, an organization he based. The raise carried skiers about 705 toes and a vertical distance of about 210 toes, in accordance with the corporate’s web site. The Poma raise title grew to become extensively related to chair lifts.
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