French former world champion snowboarder Julie Pomagalski has died in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps.
The 40-year-old died on Tuesday on Gemsstock mountain in the Swiss canton of Uri, according to media reports in France and Switzerland.
Pomagalski competed for France 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 a guide, Bruno Cutelli, also died in the avalanche.
Police in Uri said that four people from France had been free-riding on the descent from Gemsstock when the avalanche started.
“As a result, three people slid down the slope with the avalanche,” the statement said.
“One person was slightly injured and flown by Rega to Kantonsspital Uri hospital.
“The other two people were completely covered.
“Any help came too late for them.”
Toutes les pensées de l’équipe de France Olympique et du CNOSF vont à la famille de Julie Pomagalski, à ses proches, à @FedFranceSki. La disparition tragique de Julie, championne du monde de snowboard et Olympienne, laisse l’équipe de France OLY en deuil de l’une des siennes. pic.twitter.com/BtXqH398io
— France Olympique (@FranceOlympique) March 23, 2021
The French Olympic team wrote 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.”
According to the European Avalanche Warning Services, 85 people have been killed in avalanches across the continent during the 2020-21 season so far.