Olympic Snowboarder Julie Pomagalski Killed in Unexplained Avalanche While Freeriding

France’s Olympic organization expresses its condolences in a statement, saying, ‘The tragic death of Julie … leaves the France OLY team in mourning for one of their own.’

AceShowbizJulie Pomagalski, a two-time Olympian for France in snowboarding and a former world champion, has died in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps. She was killed in the accident on Tuesday, March 23, the French Ski Federation announced on Wednesday. She was 40.

The accident occurred in the canton of Uri, according to the Swiss authorities. Julie was among a group of four who had been freeriding on a mountain, Gemsstock, when a slab of snow broke loose for unexplained reasons. Freeriding is a term for snowboarding or skiing on ungroomed backcountry terrain, in contrast to a course. Three of them were swept away by the avalanche.

“Suddenly there was an avalanche for reasons that are still unknown,” Uri police said in a statement. “As a result, three people slid down the slope with the avalanche. 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.”

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The second victim killed in the accident was Bruno Cutelli, a guide and a mountain rescue unit member, the French ski federation revealed. A helicopter and two search dogs responded to the mountain, but Julie and Bruno had been completely buried by the time they arrived, the authorities said.

France’s Olympic organization expressed its condolences on Twitter on Wednesday. “The tragic death of Julie, snowboard world champion and Olympian, leaves the France OLY team in mourning for one of their own,” the organization said.

Julie was a two-time Olympian for France. She finished 6th in the parallel giant slalom at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and also placed 6th at the Turin Games in Italy in 2006. She was also the 1999 World Champion in snowboard cross, and won the 2004 Snowboard World Cup and was Vice-World Champion in parallel giant in 2003.

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