According to multiple reports, freestyle skier Kyle Smaine passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, shocking the skiing community and his fans. When the ski community learned of his passing, they were shocked and grieved and described him as one of the community’s kindest, purest individuals.
To everyone you came into contact with, your existence on this planet was a gift. Your generosity, humility, and compassion for everyone were exceptional. His passion and energy for the sport he loved were infectious. Keep reading this article to learn what exactly happened to him and the Cause of his death in detail.
What happened to the lake Tahoe skier in Japan?
Smaine, a 31-year-old marketing representative for Ikon Pass and Nagano Tourism, was killed, according to Mountain Gazette.
Three skiers were on a free ski Sunday afternoon local time, according to a man who was with Smaine when they decided to make their final run of the day simply for fun.
The men came across some Austrian skiers. According to the Mountain Gazette, the Austrian party chose to ski a little different perspective with a different exposure.
The first of the Austrian group joined the man and Smaine as they were converting their backcountry gear to an uphill configuration.
The second group of Austrian skiers set off the avalanche at that point, the man informed Mountain Gazette. Smaine and a skier from Austria passed away there and then.
View this post on Instagram
Kyle Smaine Obituary
It is with great sadness we report beloved South Lake Tahoe Professional Skier Kyle Smaine has died in an avalanche in Japan. Smaine, 31, was skiing on a marketing trip for Ikon Pass and Nagano Tourism.
Mountain Gazette Senior Photographer Grant Gunderson, the photographer on the trip, was also on assignment for Mountain Gazette along with Glacier, Washington-based pro skier Adam Ü.
In a call early Sunday morning with Mountain Gazette, Ü shared the three skiers were on a free ski on Sunday afternoon, local Japan time. “It was the last run of the last day of our trip. We had no camera gear with us. We were going out for fun,” Ü said.
After the first run, Gunderson departed back to the resort. Ü and Smaine went for a second lap. On the summit, Ü and Smaine ran into a group of Austrian skiers. Smaine and Ü skied the same run as their previous lap. The Austrian group decided to ski a slightly different aspect with different exposure, according to Ü.
Smaine and Ü, at the bottom, were transitioning their backcountry gear back into uphill mode. The first of the Austrian group joined them. The second Austrian skier triggered the slide. “We saw it coming,” said. “And heard the crack. We realized it is a big one. We started running and then we got hit was buried 1.5 meters deep for approximately 25 minutes.
Ü said he believed it was 4 or 5 minutes. Ü asked how long he was down. The rescuer who assisted in digging him out said approximately 25 minutes. Ü was able to boot pack out of the incident, miraculously unscathed.
The names of the Austrian skiers have not been reported. At least two doctors were part of a nearby guided group. They responded to the scene and participated in the rescue efforts. Ü said the group was performing CPR on the Austrian skier when they pronounced him dead. Shortly after, they said the other victim, Smaine, was unresponsive.
The group of skiers involved in the incident has asked for privacy at this time. A debrief is currently being conducted by the rescuing guide group. Mountain Gazette sends our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Kyle Smaine.
How did Kyle Smaine die in Avalanche?
Police announced Monday, a day following the off-piste tragedy in the central Nagano region, that two men were found after an avalanche in Japan and were assumed dead.
Two foreign people were being looked for after being reported missing, and police official Tomohiro Kushibiki told AFP that investigators were trying to establish whether they were the same couple.
The avalanche occurred on Sunday at 2:30 pm close to Tsugaike Mountain Resort, however, the search for two foreigners was postponed due to bad weather. On Monday, police announced that two males had been located and were being investigated for possible foul play.
Three of the five victims of the avalanche were able to descend on their own, according to Kishibiki. According to authorities, one of the skiers who initially appeared to have a broken arm after being rescued locally really had their right shoulder dislocated.
Cause of death
He said that both men were discovered “in cardio-respiratory arrest,” a phrase frequently used in Japan before a deceased can be officially pronounced dead.
Together with 11 other skiers and snowboarders, the missing two were outside the ski resort’s patrolled areas in Otari Village on Sunday when the tragedy occurred.
Three of the five victims of the avalanche were able to descend on their own, according to Kishibiki. According to reports, all of the other group members made it back down the slope safely.
The majority of Japan was covered in heavy snow last week due to a cold front, including Nagano, which is popular with foreign visitors during ski season. There is now a snow and avalanche warning for the region.
Who was Kyle Smaine?
Smaine, a South Tahoe High School graduate from 2009, received recognition for his skiing on the national and international stages in 2017 at South Lake Tahoe’s Champion Plaza.
Smaine was the first alternate for Team USA at the 2018 Olympics and won gold at the World Championships in 2015. He was revered at Sierra-at-Tahoe, the resort where he grew up, and the XGames paid tribute to him.
David Wise of Reno, who won the gold medal at the 2023 X Games, paid respect to Smaine as he received his award on Sunday in Aspen. Wise Sunday stated, “We all did this for Kyle tonight. I’m happy I was able to bring one home for him.
Tributes flooded social media for Kyle Smaine
As the news traveled rapidly throughout Lake Tahoe and the ski community, social media was flooded with shock, dismay, and thousands of condolences.
Shocked and saddened to hear the news about the passing of Kyle Smaine. You were one of the kindest most genuine people in the ski community. My thoughts and prayers are with your family. Ski in peace.
Visit Carson City
It’s with a heavy heart to have to say goodbye to a friend of Carson City’s @kylesmaine. We were lucky to know him and work with him and our hearts go out to his friends and family and to all those who knew him or followed him. He reached so many through his skiing career and just as a genuinely great human.
Kyle Smaine, I’m so sorry my dude. Your presence on this Earth was a gift to all that encountered you. Your kindness, humility, and love for everyone were one of a kind. You will be sadly missed, but celebrated daily. Your abilities on skis and a bike were awe-inspiring and so rare. Rest in peace, my kind friend.
Completely at loss for words RIP Kyle Smaine the only person from school that was still a true friend your the most down to earth kind hearted person I know to keep it up the love u buddy Godspeed
You don’t need a rope anymore because you got your wings Kyle Smaine. Thanks for being a friend, inspiration, and example of what a man should be. Love you, brother,
Always one of my most furious yet most fun competitors to compete against when it came to skiing was you, Kyle Smaine. Every time I did a trick that made the crowd and judges go “ohhhhhh wooooo!” You would drop in and one-up me… Every. Single. Time. Love you buddy RIP SMAIN-IAC! Make some heavenly saucy turns for us up there.
Follow us on Twitter for more updates.
Lavanya (Senior Editor) is a full-time content writer with almost 5 years of experience and a part-time teacher. She joined Medico Topics on the Breaking News trainee scheme in 2022 and now works on MedicoTopics.com. As a lifelong learner, She is constantly curious about learning new things and passionate about sharing knowledge with people through her writing and teaching.