Avalanche Kills 2 in Switzerland Including Former World Champion Snowboarder

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Julie Pomagalski, avalanche
Julie Pomagalski, 40. Credit: weloveski

Julie Pomagalski, a former world champion snowboarder from France, has died in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps. A guide, Bruno Cutelli, also died in the avalanche.

Pomagalski, 40, and Cutelli were in the backcountry with two other people on Tuesday.

In the canton of Uri, local police said the two died coming down the steep Gemsstock summit at 9,715-feet. For reasons still unknown, a sheet of snow broke away, and three of the group were swept away. Pomagalski and the other rider ‘were completely buried’ while the third person suffered only ‘light’ injuries and escaped.

Pomagalski competed in the parallel giant slalom at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and the 2006 Turin Games. She won gold in the snowboard cross at the world championships in 1999.

The French ski federation said Wednesday that Pomagalski died Tuesday but did not specify the location.

The French Olympic team offered its condolences on Twitter.

“The tragic death of Julie, an Olympian and world champion snowboarder, leaves the French Olympic team in mourning for one of its own.”

Gemsstock, Switzerland

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