Julie Pomagalski, 40, a former Olympic snowboarder and world champion from France, was killed in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps, in Switzerland’s canton of Uri , on Tuesday, authorities said. She was part on a group freeriding down Gemsstock mountain. A search and rescue team that included a helicopter and two avalanche search dogs were deployed to the area. Two people, including Julie, didn’t survive. It was unclear what caused the deadly avalanche. “With nine World Cup podiums, Julie was passionate about snowboarding and mountains,” the French Ski Federation said in a statement Wednesday. Pomagalski won a gold medal in the women’s snowboard cross at the world championships in 1999 and a silver medal in the women’s parallel giant slalom at the world championships in 2003.
“The tragic death of Julie, snowboard world champion and Olympian, leaves the France OLY team in mourning for one of their own,” the French National Olympic and Sports Committee tweeted. “She was a champion, victorious over the big globe. Her golden generation marked French snowboarding,” French Sports Minister said. Born in La Tronche, France, which is near Grenoble , Julie Pomagalski was the granddaughter of Jean Pomagalski, founder of the Poma ski lift manufacturing company. She came from a line of alpine sporting enthusiasts.