Olympic snowboarder Julie Pomagalski killed in avalanche tragedy

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·2-min read
Julie Pomagalski, pictured here in action at the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Julie Pomagalski died in an avalanche at age 40. Image: Getty

The sporting world is mourning the tragic death of France's former world champion snowboarder Julie Pomagalski at age 40.

The French Olympic Committee announced on Wednesday that Pomagalski was killed in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps.

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Pomagalski competed in the parallel giant slalom at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and the 2006 Turin Games for France.

She won gold in the snowboard cross at the world championships in 1999.

"Julie's tragic disappearance has left the French Olympic team in mourning for one of their own," the French Olympic team said on Twitter.

Pomagalski was one of two French free-ride snowboarders to perish in the avalanche when skiing off-piste in a group of four people.

Police in the canton of Uri said the two died coming down the 2961-metre Gemsstock summit, favoured by off-piste skiers for its steep slopes and abundance of powder snow.

“Suddenly there was an avalanche for reasons that are still unknown,” the police statement said.

“As a result, three people slid down the slope with the avalanche.

"One person was slightly injured and flown by Rega to Kantonsspital Uri hospital.

"The other two people were completely buried. Any help came too late for them.”

Julie Pomagalski and Jasey Jay Anderson, pictured here after winning the overall snowboarding FlS World Cup in 2004.
Julie Pomagalski and Jasey Jay Anderson after winning the overall snowboarding FlS World Cup in 2004. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images)

Olympic community rocked by Julie Pomagalski's death

The Ski Chrono website identified the second fatality as Bruno Putelli, a mountain rescuer from Albertville.

As well as being crowned crowned world champion in 1999, Pomagalski claimed a World Cup title in 2004 and registered nine wins on the world Cup circuit.

It's the second shocking tragedy for the Olympics community this week after surfing prodigy Katherine Diaz Hernandez was struck by lightning and killed in El Salvador.

Tributes have been flooding in from around the sporting world.

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