It is with great sadness that we report the passing of world halfpipe championship winner turned backcountry boss and standout human, Kyle Smaine. Kyle was on a trip in Japan with Mountain Gazette, as part of a crew of three including Grant Gunderson and Adam Ü. Full details of the incident can be found via Mountain Gazette, but both Smaine and Ü were buried in an avalanche triggered by an Austrian backcountry group. Ü was miraculously rescued after twenty-five minutes of complete burial, but Kyle was pronounced dead on site.
Smaine was a unique skier, bringing the screaming seaman to the pipe, boosting huge, and always bringing a positive outlook to the deck. In recent years, he's been chasing pow and his death so young is heartbreaking. If you have stories of treasured memories with Kyle that you want to share, please add them below as NS remembers one of our own. Kyle's death at just 31 is a tragic reminder of how quickly days can go wrong out there, even through no fault of your own. Ski in peace Kyle, we'll all be skiing for you.