Kyle Smaine: American skier killed in avalanche in Japan aged 31


American skier Kyle Smaine has died in an avalanche in Japan at the age of 31, according to a post from his wife on Instagram.

“To my husband and world, officially married on November 18, 2022, which not many people know about,” Jenna Dramise wrote. “I am so grateful for marrying you and having you in my life.

Smaine was one of two men found dead by authorities in Nagano, Japan after they became trapped in an avalanche.

Police said they were among 13 people hit by the avalanche. The names of those killed have not been officially released by the authorities.

“You love skiing more than anyone I’ve ever met. I took you for a ride in New Zealand in 2010 and who would have thought we would get married 13 years later,” his wife wrote.

Smaine looks on from the podium after finishing first in the 2018 FIS Freeski World Cup finals in the men's half-pipe during the Toyota US Grand Prix on January 19, 2018 in Mammoth, California.

“The worst years of my life. I know you had the best run of your life in Japan and can never blame you for doing what you love.

“I wish I could tell you it’s a secret that I’ve always had, that I love you. It’s never really been a secret because I tell you that at least 10 times a day. I’m so looking forward to seeing you again. Tonight I hope to ride some pow or bike with you in my dreams. Love your wife.

Grant Granderson, a photographer for the outdoor magazine Mountain Gazette – who went on the trip with Smaine – wrote on Instagram that the 31-year-old American was caught in an avalanche while skiing in Nagano prefecture. on Monday.

Granderson wrote: “Yesterday was my absolute worst nightmare scenario.

The photographer explains that on the last day of the trip, a group including Smaine and professional skier Adam Ü chose to ski for the last time while Granderson wrote, he stayed at base camp.

Adam Ü posted a message with a photo, honoring his friend Smaine.

“RIP,” he wrote. “Your enthusiasm and enthusiasm is just what this old man needs.”

According to the Mountain Gazette, who spoke with Ü on Monday, they met a group of Austrian skiers at the top who chose to ski on a slightly different route.

Soon, three skiers — Smaine, Ü, and a third skier — were caught in the avalanche, the Mountain Gazette said.

“Adam, Kyle and other skiers tried to run. Adam was buried 1.5 meters deep for 25 minutes and was unharmed. That is a miracle. The skier who was buried next to him died of internal injuries. Kyle was thrown 50 meters by the air blast and was buried and killed.

“Another team in the area included two Canadian climbing guides and four or five emergency doctors/nurses etc when the client performed the rescue. The doctors did everything they could for Kyle and the other skiers. Adam and I will repeat this for the rest of our lives.”

On Sunday, police were unable to immediately begin the search due to the weather, but dispatched a 12-member rescue team on Monday morning.

The search operation by the Nagano Prefectural Police began at Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort on January 30, 2023 in Otari, Japan after two foreign skiers were found unconscious in the field. when three others descended the mountain safely on their own.

At least five men, all foreign nationals from the US and Austria, were trapped in an avalanche on the eastern slopes of Mount Hakuba Norikura, a Nagano police spokesman told Reuters.

According to Reuters, after heavy snowfall, the weather agency has issued avalanche warnings in recent days.

Smaine posted a video of him skiing from a body camera to his Instagram on Sunday.

He wrote that he traveled to Japan because of the “unbelievable quality of snow, relentless storms, and really exciting terrain that seems to get better the more you explore”.

Smaine won the hemispheric gold medal at the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships in 2015.


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