Kyle Smane: US freestyle skier dies at age 31 in Japan avalanche

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Former US ski world champion Kyle Smane has died in an avalanche, his family has confirmed.

Smine, 31, was one of two skiers who died on the eastern slope of Mount Hakuba Norikura in Japan when the incident occurred on Sunday.

His father, William Smaine, confirmed to NBC News on Monday that his son died in the incident.

“Today we lost an incredible person, friend, skier and teammate in the mountains,” the USA freestyle team said in a statement.

“Smaine loved exploring the mountains, was a fierce competitor, but an even better person and friend.”

The 2015 World Halfpipe Championship gold medalist was in Japan on a marketing trip for Ikon Pass and Nagano Tourism.

Japanese authorities confirmed that five men from the US and Austria were caught in the avalanche, but three skiers were able to safely descend the mountain.

I wrote about it in Smaine’s Instagram wife Jenna Dramis: “Dear husband and my whole world, I officially got married on November 18, 2022, which few people knew about. I am so incredibly grateful that I got to marry you and have you in my life.

“You loved skiing more than anyone I’ve ever met. I know you had the best tracks of your life in Japan and I can never fault you for doing what you love. I can’t wait to see you again.”

The identity of the deceased Austrian skier is unknown.

American skier Adam was one of five men involved and was buried 1.5m deep for around 25 minutes before being rescued.

In a conversation with Mountain Gazette, Adam said: “We saw it coming, we heard a crack and knew it was big. We started to run, and then we were hit by snow.”

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