As stated in a statement from his wife on Instagram, US skier Kyle Smaine has passed away at the age of 31 in an avalanche. Smaine was skiing in Japan at the time of the incident. He frequently traveled there during this season because of the “unbelievable snow quality”. Smaine journeyed with photographer Grant Gunderson, who wrote an intense Instagram post detailing the horrific events of the accident.

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According to Grant, he chose to descend the mountain and rest since he was exhausted. Kyle, however, wanted to continue skiing. Gunderson said that things became worse when another skier set off a huge avalanche. This unfortunately hurled Smaine 50 meters away and crushed him, which killed the 31-year-old.

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Who was Kyle Smaine?

Kyle Smaine was born in 1991 and was a freestyle skier from the United States. He won several gold medals including the ones at the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships in 2015.  In their statement announcing his passing, the U.S. Free Ski Team spoke highly of him and said: “Today we lost an incredible person, friend, skier, and teammate to the mountains. Kyle Smaine was a World Champion freeskier, loved exploring the mountains, was a fierce competitor but an even better person and friend. We, along with so many others, send our love and comfort to his family, friends, and community.”

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Smaine was among the two victims that were discovered dead in Nagano, Japan, by the officials.  The avalanche reportedly hit 13 individuals, according to the police. The authorities have not yet released the identities of the deceased.