Tragic News: Pro Skier Kyle Smaine Dead at 31 After Avalanche

Chukwudi Onyewuchi
Kyle Smaine dead at 31
Getty | Sean M. Haffey

Former halfpipe world champion skier Kyle Smaine is dead. The sporting star was killed in an avalanche that also claimed another man's life while skiing on the eastern slopes of Mount Hakuba Norikura in central Japan. Kyle died at 31. Find out more about his death below. 

Kyle Died In A Skiing Accident

On January 29, 2023, Kyle's family, fans, and friends were left heartbroken after the skier lost his life following a terrible skiing accident. His family announced the tragic news, revealing that Kyle died after he got caught in an avalanche.

Kyle's Colleague Breaks The News On Instagram 

Grant's post about the tragic event.

Not long after the tragic news hit the internet, photographer Grant Gunderson, who was on the trip with Kyle, took to his Instagram account to share the details of the heart-wrenching occurrence.

Grant Recalls What Happened

Grant's post about the snow quality before the tragedy.

Grant explained to his followers that he, Kyle, and some other skiers were having the time of their lives on the mountain in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. At some point, he got tired and decided to go down the mountain and rest.

Kyle Had Shared A Video Hours Earlier

However, Kyle insisted that he wanted to keep skiing. It was not surprising as the starlet had posted a video of a ski run hours before the tragic incident.

Kyle Loved Visiting Japan

Skiing in Japan
Flickr | drayy

In the video, Kyle disclosed that he loved visiting Japan at that time of the year because of the unbelievable snow quality, non-stop storms, and fun terrain that seemed to get better each year.

A Skier Triggered The Avalanche 

Icy terrain
Unsplash | Angelo Burgener

Unfortunately, unknown to Kyle, that skiing experience in Japan would be his last. Grant emotionally confessed that while Kyle was having a great time, another skier triggered a large avalanche.

The Avalanche Buried Kyle

A mild avalanche
Giphy | Le

The air blast threw Kyle 50 meters (164 feet) and buried him. Reports also revealed the avalanche also trapped four other victims. In no time, rescue officials comprising two mountain guides and four to five emergency doctors arrived.

Three Made It Out Alive 

Avalanche rescue operation
Unsplash | Seb Mooze

Thankfully, three of the five buried were successfully rescued and made their way down the mountain. However, two foreign nationals — Kyle and another unidentified man — were still missing.

Kyle And One Other Pronounced Dead

Skiier Kyle Smaine
Flickr | benjaminfish

After hours of intense searching, the search teams reported finding the duo in cardio-respiratory arrest. All efforts to resuscitate the two men were abortive and they were eventually declared dead.

Grant Will Never Forget The Incident

Grant described the unfortunate incident as his "absolute worst nightmare scenario," adding that his colleague's demise was something he would be rehashing for the rest of his life.

Kyle's Wife Pays Tribute

Since the tragic news hit the internet, many have paid tribute to Kyle, including his wife, Jenna Dramise. On Instagram, Jenna noted she was thankful for marrying Kyle and having him in her life.

Jenna Can't Wait To See Her Husband Again 

Jenna finished by revealing she could not wait to see her husband again, adding that she hoped to ride some bikes with Kyle in her dreams. Besides Jenna, many pro skiers expressed their remorse and sent condolences to the bereaved family.

Kyle's Achievements

Kyle Smaine in action
Flickr | Jorik Blom Photography

Kyle competed professionally for years in many competitions, including the X Games. He won a half-pipe gold medal at the FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboarding World Championships in 2015. He will forever be missed.

The U.S. Embassy In Tokyo Are Involved

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo has said they know about the incident in Nagano Prefecture and will be working effectively with the local authorities.