Two New Zealand skiers killed in Japan avalanche

Two skiers from New Zealand, one of whom was a 21-year-old ski guide, lost their lives in an avalanche while engaging in backcountry skiing in Japan. New Zealand’s ministry of foreign affairs and trade confirmed to the media the unfortunate incident that occurred in Hokkaido, terming it as a tragic accident. Additionally, a third New Zealander sustained injuries in the incident.

Reports from local media indicate that a party of six individuals were backcountry skiing on Mount Yotei in northern Hokkaido on Monday morning when an avalanche occurred at an altitude ranging from 650 to 700 meters on the mountain’s northern slope, which stands at 1,898 meters.

The Kutchan fire department was informed around 11 am that three members of the group were caught in the avalanche. As per the Japan Times, a man and a woman were transported to the hospital in an unresponsive state and later declared deceased, while a third person suffered a shoulder injury but remained conscious.

In a statement to New Zealand media outlets, the family of Isabella Bolton confirmed her tragic passing in the avalanche incident.

Bolton, aged 21, was born in England and raised in Christchurch’s Diamond Harbour and Heathcote Valley. She had previously worked at ski resorts in New Zealand, Canada, and most recently served as a ski guide at the Niseko resort in Hokkaido.

Described as vibrant and passionate about life, with a deep love for skiing and the outdoors, Bolton’s family extended their condolences to the loved ones of her colleague who also lost their life in the accident. They also expressed gratitude towards those who attempted to rescue Isabella and the assistance provided by local authorities.

According to the Sapporo District Meteorological Observatory, there were no avalanche warnings issued for the Mount Yotei area, and heavy snowfall was not reported around the time of the incident, as per the Japan Times. The New Zealand embassy in Japan has offered consular assistance to the affected families.

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