American pro backcountry skier Kyle Smain is reportedly dead after an avalanche hits a Japanese ski resort


Tokyo — Two foreign men, including a US professional freeskier, died in an avalanche while backcountry skiing at a popular resort in central Japan, US and Japanese media reported Monday. Nagano Prefectural Police said only two of the five foreign skiers who were caught in an avalanche on Sunday afternoon on the eastern slopes of Mount Hakuba Norikura, where the group was backcountry skiing, were men.

Rescuers arrived at the scene of the accident on Monday and recovered two men who showed no vital signs, police confirmed.

Police declined to release the nationalities and names of the skiers, saying they were still under verification. Police waited until the men’s identities were confirmed before confirming their deaths.

The snowy mountains of Joshinetsu seen from Mt. Shirouma Norikura in the Japanese Alps
The file photo shows the snow-capped peaks of the Japanese Alps as seen from Mt. Hakuba Norikura.


American outdoor magazine “Mountain Gazette” mentioned on the blog page One of those who died in the avalanche was American professional skier Kyle Smain, based in Lake Tahoe, Calif. There was no immediate confirmation from U.S. or Japanese authorities.

The Gazette mourned him as “a beloved South Lake Tahoe skier.”

Kyle Smain.jpg
US professional skier Kyle Smain is pictured in a 2022 file photo posted to his Instagram account. Smain was reportedly killed in an avalanche at a ski resort in Nagano, Japan on January 29, 2023.

Instagram/Kyle Smain

The magazine’s editor, Mike Rogge, said veteran ski photographer Grant Gunderson was working for the publication when the tragedy struck. He said it was planned as part of a corporate marketing project.

In an Instagram post of his own, Gunderson said he had given up on it, but several skiers, including Smain and fellow American Adam Yu, decided to go back and ski again. He said they hit the bottom of the slope not long after.

“Adam, Kyle, and another skier tried to run. Adam was buried 1.5 meters deep for 25 minutes and was unharmed. It’s a miracle,” Gunderson said. Died of wounds.Kyle was thrown 50 meters by the blast and killed by burial.”

Another eight foreign skiers saw five people skiing outside a designated ski area get caught in an avalanche and rushed to dig them up. Three of the five survived, two uninjured and a third with a shoulder injury. According to police, they walked off with their partner and left behind two people who were found to have no vital signs.

At Nozawa, another ski and hot spring resort in Nagano Prefecture, the body of a 38-year-old Japanese skier who went missing while backcountry skiing with friends was found in the woods outside the designated ski area. was found by a rescue team in

An avalanche warning was issued for the area on Sunday after heavy snowfall from last week.


What do you think?

Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

Leave a Reply

Hundreds show support for Plainfield teacher fighting cancer with candlelight vigil

Woman, 29, shot and critically wounded in Pilsen