Professional skier Kyle Smaine was killed in an avalanche in Japan on January 29. The freestyle skier was one of the 13 people who got caught up in a snow slide while skiing near a resort on the slopes of the Hakuba Norikura mountain.
Smaine, 31, was on a marketing trip to promote winter tourism in Ikon Pass and Nagano in the post-pandemic times. Apart from him, an unnamed Austrian skier also passed away in the tragedy. Read on to know the full details of the tragic news.
Professional Skier Kyle Smaine Killed in Avalanche in Japan
The accident occurred on Sunday, and the bodies of the deceased were recovered by authorities on Monday. Smaine’s wife announced his death with a post on social media. “Dear Husband and my whole world, officially married November 18, 2022, which not many people knew about,” she wrote.
“I m so incredibly thankful that I got to marry you and have you in my life. You loved skiing more than anyone I’ve ever met. I picked you up hitchhiking in New Zealand in 2010 and who would have thought we would be married 13 years later. The best damn years of my life.”
“I know you had the best runs in your life out there in Japan and could never blame you for doing what you loved. I do wish I could tell you that one secret I always had, that I loved you. It never really was a secret because I said it at least 10 times a day to you. I can’t wait to see you again. Love, your Wife,” she added.
Eyewitness Reveals Details of the Accident
Grant Granderson, a photographer who works for the magazine Mountain Gazette, was there on the spot when the accident took place. Revealing the details of the tragedy, he wrote on Instagram, “Yesterday was my absolute worst nightmare scenario,” adding that Kyle, fellow American skier Adam Ü and an Austrian skier tried to run when the avalanche hit.
“Adam was buried 1.5 meters deep for 25 minutes and is unscathed. That is a miracle. The skier buried next to him died from internal injuries. Kyle was thrown 50 meters by the air blast and buried and killed. Another group in the area consisting of two Canadian mountain guides and 4 or 5 emergency doctors as clients performed the rescue,” he continued.
Smaine was a Former World Champion
In 2015, Kyle Smaine won a gold medal in halfpipe at the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships, becoming one of the four Americans to achieve the feat that year. A number of people are now mourning his death on social media.
“Kyle … you have touched so many with your kindness, your sense of adventure…you will be so missed, you are so loved! Thanks for taking the time to share your skiing and biking! 🥰⛷🚴♂️,” wrote a follower.
Another penned, “RIP KYLE. This world will be alot emptier without you. Very few ppl are lucky enough to live and inevitably pass on LIVING A DREAM EVERY MINUTE THEY ARE WITH ALIVE. YOU ABSOLUTELY DID THAT!!! U will be so missed.”
Our condolences to Kyle Smaine’s family and friends. May his soul rest in peace!