During the winter of 1998, at only 20 years old, Karine Ruby from Chamonix France, stood on the podium in Nagano, Japan as snowboarding’s first Olympic Giant Slalom Gold winner, one of the many highlights in the career of this six-time world champion. She followed with a silver medal in parallel GS at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. After retiring from racing Karine kept freeriding the deep powder of Chamonix and combining it with mountaineering to reach the deep backcountry.

Sadly, Karine fell to her death on a crevasse on Friday while climbing in France’s Mont Blanc Range. She was a trailblazer in women’s snowboarding and will always be remembered for her contributions to the sport.

This comes from the archives of TransWorld, a description of Karine Ruby’s winning 1998 gold medal run:

“Karine is a competitor, one of the fiercest in the world. She enters the second-to-last gate—she flies through the air, only a sliver of her nose in contact with the snow. Plunging forward down the fallline, her edge engages, and Karine Ruby powers through to the gold.”

R.I.P.