Two men caught in an avalanche have been found dead, police said Monday, January 30, the day after the accident in the central region of Nagano, Japan.
Japanese authorities have not identified the two men at this stage, but the American ski magazine Mountain Gazette wrote that freestyle snowboarding champion Kyle Smaine, 31, died in an avalanche in Nagano on Sunday.
Thrown 50 meters further by the blast of air
Two men who were traveling with him posted messages on Instagram saying he was killed in the avalanche.
The newspaper said he was with another professional skier, Adam U, and the publication's senior photographer, Grant Gunderson.
my worst nightmare
" happened, he wrote in an Instagram post on Monday.
He said an avalanche was triggered by another skier and Kyle Smaine was "
thrown 50 meters away by the air blast, buried and killed
A police official, Tomohiro Kushibiki, explained that two men had been found in “
”, a formula commonly used in Japan before the death was confirmed by a coroner.
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The pair were off-piste skiing near Otari resort on Sunday with 11 other skiers and snowboarders when the avalanche formed.
Three other people were caught in the avalanche but managed to get out, but two foreign nationals were still missing on Sunday evening.
Tomohiro Kushibiki said he could not confirm the identity of the two men found on Monday, nor their nationality.
Last week, an exceptional cold spell accompanied by heavy snowfall hit Japan and in particular Nagano, located in the heart of the Japanese Alps, very popular with foreign tourists who love winter sports.
An avalanche warning is currently in effect in the area.
Fans were quick to leave tributes under a video Kyle Smaine posted to Instagram on Sunday, showing him skiing.
That's what keeps me coming back to Japan every winter.
Incredible snow quality, non-stop storms, and really fun terrain that seems to get better the more you explore
,” the skier wrote in a comment accompanying the clip.
Kyle Smaine was a halfpipe gold medalist at the 2015 Freestyle Snowboard World Championships in Austria.