American skier Kyle Smaine Dead in Japanese Avalanche
Kyle Smaine: US professional skier ‘killed in Japan after being thrown 50 metres and buried by avalanche’Kyle Smaine was skiing on Hakuba Norikura mountain near the Tsugaike ski resort on Sunday when he and two others were caught up in the avalanche, friends say.
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Friends say Kyle Smaine, 31, was among five foreign skiers caught up in the huge snow flow while on Hakuba Norikura mountain, near the Tsugaike ski resort, on Sunday.
He was there visiting the country to promote winter tourism in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, according to outdoor magazine, Mountain Gazette.Another man, said to be from Austria, also died in the avalanche, while three other skiers managed to get down the mountain on their own, police said.
Officers have so far declined to confirm any details about the two men.However, two friends have since named Smaine, who won the gold medal in the halfpipe event at the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships in 2015, as one of the men to have died. One friend, fellow US skier Adam U, was with Smaine when the avalanche happened.
He told Mountain Gazette: “We heard the crack. We realised it is a big one. We started running and then we got hit.
Another friend, photographer Grant Gunderson, who was with the group shortly before the avalanche, described it as “my absolute worst nightmare scenario”.In an Instagram post, he said.
It was supposed to be the last day of the trip so we were just out for a mellow tour to freeski, as we had one of the best days ever skiing and shooting the day before.
I was exhausted from the last 10 days so after that run I skied down to the base lodge. Kyle and Adam chose to go back up and ski it again.”He said there was then an avalanche which “stepped down into a massive avalanche on an adjacent slope.
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The slope that they had now done two runs on didn’t slide”.”Adam, Kyle and the other skier tried to run. Adam was buried 1.5m deep for 25 minutes and is unscathed.
That is a miracle.The skier buried next to him died from internal injuries. Kyle was thrown 50m by the air blast and buried and killed.”He added: “Adam and I will be rehashing this for the rest of our lives.”