Julie Pomagalski, Former Olympic Snowboarder, Dies in Avalanche at 40

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Julie Pomagalski of France celebrates after she took third place in the women's Snowboard Parallel Slalom in Bad Gastein 21 December 2006.
Ajosch/AFP via Getty Images

Julie Pomagalski, a former Olympic snowboarder for France, died in an avalanche in the Swiss Alps on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports. She was 40 years old.

The AP notes that French and Swiss media outlets reported that Pomagalski was caught in an avalanche that happened on Gemsstock mountain in the Swiss canton of Uri. The French ski federation did not specify the location of her death in the release published Wednesday.  In addition to Pomagalski, a guide named Bruno Cutelli also died in the avalanche.

The incident happened as a group of people were free-riding down Gemsstock. 

"Suddenly there was an avalanche for reasons that are still unknown," a statement from Uri police said. "As a result, three people slid down the slope with the avalanche. One person was slightly injured and flown by Rega to Kantonsspital Uri hospital. The other two people were completely covered. Any help came too late for them."

Pomagalski participated in the parallel giant slalom in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and the 2006 Games in Turn. She won a gold medal in the snowboard cross at the world championships in 1999. The French Olympic team posted condolences on Twitter.

(This story was originally published by CBS Sports on Wednesday, March 24)

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