Marciandi Dies in Avalanche

AOSTA, Italy (AP) – A professional snowboarder was swept to his death Thursday after he provoked an avalanche while riding off-trail in the Italian Alps.

Davide Marciandi was riding on a closed trail at Courmayeur, a ski resort on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, when he triggered the slide, the resort’s director, Roberto Rota, said.

Initial reports said Marciandi died from a fractured skull after repeatedly hitting his head on boulders as he was dragged by the wall of snow.

Two snowboarders who were with Marciandi but escaped the avalanche unharmed, called for help. Rescue crew reached the slope by helicopter and quickly located Marciandi through his avalanche beeper device.

Marciandi, 29, of Aosta, competed in World Cup snowboarding events and was a certified ski instructor.

Last month, a Swiss snowboarder died when he crashed into a pillar while competing in an international giant slalom competition at Leysin, Switzerland.