A former Olympic snowboarder and world champion athlete has tragically died in an avalanche.
Julie Pomagalski, 40, passed away due to an avalanche in the Swiss Alps on Tuesday, multiple reports have confirmed on Wednesday.
The French snowboarder competed in the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics. She won a gold medal in snowboard cross in the 1999 world championships.
Pomagalski’s tragic death was announced by the French ski federation this week. Bruno Cutelli, a guide, also reportedly passed away.
“The tragic death of Julie, an Olympian and world champion snowboarder, leaves the French Olympic team in mourning for one of its own,” the statement read.
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 Washington Post had some details on the dangers of avalanches:
According to European Avalanche Warning Services statistics, avalanches kill an average of 100 people every year in Europe. Since the season began Oct. 1, it reports that there had been 85 fatalities, with 21 in Switzerland as of March 10. Among the causes it lists are wind-drifted snow and a persistent weak layer of snow.
Our thoughts are with Julie and Bruno’s friends and family during this difficult time.
May they rest in peace.