January 29 in Japan on the slopes of the ski resort of Hakuba, an avalanche killed a 31-year-old world champion in freestyle and snowboarding. Kyle Smein.
On Sunday, he was among a group of Austrian and American skiers caught in an avalanche on Mount Hakuba Norikura in Nagano Prefecture. The three skiers were eventually able to get down the mountain, but Smein and another man, who has not yet been identified, were later found dead, according to local police.
The next day, two-time Olympian American David Wise dedicated his X Games victory in the halfpipe to Kyle Smain.
“We all did it for Kyle. This is a somewhat emotional day for us. We have lost a friend.”
Smein won the 2015 halfpipe world title and retired from professional sports in 2018.
Sending our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Kyle Smaine 🇺🇸, 2015 halfpipe World Champion, winner of the 2018 U.S. Grand Prix Mammoth Mtn, and one of the nicest and most genuinely enthusiastic people anyone would be lucky enough to meet. He will be missed.
— FISfreestyle (@FISfreestyle) January 30, 2023