American World Champion skier dies on mountain
California’s Kyle Smaine died Sunday in an avalanche on the eastern slope of Mount Hakuba Norikura in Japan. His body was recovered Monday. When the avalanche struck, Smaine was skiing as part of a marketing trip for Ikon Pass and Nagano Tourism. A newlywed, 31-year-old Smaine married snowboarder Jenna Dramise in November. Smaine won a gold medal in the half-pipe at the 2015 FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships.
Who else was affected? Smaine was in a group of at least four other men from the U.S. and Austria who were caught in the avalanche. Authorities had warned about the risk of an avalanche following heavy snows. Adam Ü, a professional skier who accompanied Smaine, was buried under the snow, but rescued in time.
Dig deeper: Listen to Sarah Schweinsberg’s report on The World and Everything in It podcast about skier safety.
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