In the central Japanese region of Nagano, two men did not survive the passage of an avalanche on Sunday. Police reported Monday that their bodies were found.

The Japanese authorities have not identified the victims, but the American ski magazine Mountain Gazette writes that American freestyle skier Kyle Smaine (31) died in Nagano on Sunday.

Two men skiing with Smaine posted on Instagram that Smaine died in the avalanche. Ski magazine photographer Grant Gunderson posted that his “worst nightmare” has come true. “Smaine was thrown 50 meters by an avalanche caused by another skier, buried under the snow and died”.

The two victims were skiing off-piste with eleven others on Sunday when the avalanche formed. Three others were caught in the avalanche but managed to escape.

Japan, especially Nagano in the heart of the Japanese Alps, was hit by a cold snap and heavy snowfall last week. Nagano is popular with foreign winter sports enthusiasts.

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