Skier Kyle Sman from California was killed in an avalanche in Japan
U.S. freestyle champion Kyle Smane of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., died Sunday in an avalanche in Japan, the Mountain Gazette and other media reported.
Smain, 31, was skiing during a marketing trip for Ikon Pass and Nagano Tourism, according to the outdoor sports publication. He was in Nagano, Japan, when the avalanche occurred.
“It’s what brings me back to Japan every winter,” Smine said wrote on his Instagram account. “Incredible snow quality, non-stop storms and really fun terrain that seems to get better the more you explore.”
Mountain Gazette photographer Grant Gunderson was also on the trip and wrote in an emotional Instagram post after Smaine’s death:
“It was yesterday my worst nightmare scenario” – wrote Gunderson. “It was supposed to be the last day of the trip, so we (were) just in time for a leisurely tour of Friskie.”
At least five people were trapped under the avalanche on the eastern slope of Mount Hakuba Norikura in the ski resort, according to Reuters. Three skiers were able to descend on their own, but two were found dead.
After several days of heavy snowfall and record low temperatures, the weather service has issued an avalanche warning.
“Today we lost an incredible man, friend, skier and teammate in the mountains,” US Ski and Snowboard Team wrote on Instagram.
In 2015, Smaine won the halfpipe World Ski Championships in Austria.
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