France’s Julie Pomalski, a former world snowboard champion, died on Tuesday in Switzerland at age 40, the victim of an avalanche in the center of the country, the French National Olympic Committee (CNOSF) announced on Wednesday.
“The tragic disappearance of Julie, world snowboard champion, leaves the French Olympic team in a duel for one of their own,” writes the CNOSF on Twitter.
On Tuesday, the police of the Swiss canton of Uri had announced in a statement the death of two French freeriders at the end of the morning on the descent of the Gemsstock, a 2,961-meter peak known to fans of this specialty for its demanding slopes.
“For reasons still unknown, a plate of snow came loose,” taking three of the four members of a group from France, police explained. “Slightly injured”, one of the victims could be removed, while the other two “were completely buried.”
According to the Ski Chrono site, the second freerider killed in the avalanche is the Frenchman Bruno Putelli, guide and lifeguard in the Alps, in Albertville.
Julie Pomagalski, born near Grenoble and settled in Méribel, was the 1999 snowboardcross world champion in Berchtesgaden (Germany), and had also won the discipline’s World Cup in 2004, with nine World Cup victories.
A practitioner of various disciplines such as parallel slalom, parallel giant, and boardercross, he participated in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and the 2006 Turin Games, taking 23rd place in the cross and sixth in parallel giant.