J.P. Auclair and Andreas Fransson, two of the top skiers in the world, have been confirmed dead after an avalanche hit Monte San Lorenzo in the Andes earlier this week.
The 37-year-old Auclair and 31-year-old Fransson were working on a project with filmmaker Bjarne Salen and photographer Daniel Ronnback when disaster struck on the border between Argentina and Chile. Salen and Ronnback were unharmed.
According to Chilean news source BioBio, rescue operation to the remote mountain location can take up to 13 hours, but the riders were identified from a helicopter yesterday during an extensive search from national authorities.
Auclair has been one of the pioneering modern freeskiers for the memorable past, and his versatility was widely acclaimed. Some may recall his street segment from 2011 film All.I.Can – a brilliant display of the rider’s talents and unique style.
Fransson was also highly esteemed for his freeriding, and became the first man to descend the south face of Denali in 2011. His riding took extreme to new levels, and he was an inspiration to many.
The tragic incident comes alongside the news that backcountry snowboarder Liz Daley has also been killed by an avalanche in an unrelated incident in Argentina.
Liz was a professional climber, AMGA-certified mountain guide and accomplished splitboarder.
Our thoughts go out to the friends and family of all involved. Make sure you stay safe when you head out this winter.