Julie Pomagalski, two-time French snowboard Olympian and former world champion, was killed in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps on Tuesday, French sports officials said on Wednesday. She was 40 years old.
The accident occurred in the canton of Uri, according to Swiss authorities, who said Ms Pomagalski was part of a group of four who had freerided on a mountain, Gemsstock, when a plaque of snow came off for unexplained reasons. Freeride is snowboarding or skiing on ungroomed backcountry terrain, unlike a course.
Three of them were swept away by the avalanche, two dying and one person hospitalized, according to a police report. The French Ski Federation identified the other person killed as Bruno Cutelli, a guide and a member of the mountain rescue unit.
A helicopter and two search dogs intervened on the mountain, but Ms Pomagalski and Mr Cutelli were completely buried by the time they arrived, authorities said.