France’s David Poisson competes during the men’s downhill Alpine Ski World Cup race in Kvitfjell, Norway, Saturday, March 12, 2016. The French skiing federation says downhiller Poisson has died following a training crash in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Gabriele Facciotti

French downhill skier David Poisson dies in training crash at Nakiska

PARIS — French downhill skier David Poisson, a former medallist at the world championships, died on Monday following a training crash in Canada. He was 35.

The French Ski Federation said Poisson, who won the downhill bronze medal at the 2013 worlds, was training in the Canadian resort of Nakiska for World Cup races in North America. The federation did not elaborate.

An official with emergency medical services from nearby Calgary said a call came in mid-morning Monday.

“When we arrived we assessed an individual and determined him deceased on scene,” said Calgary EMS spokesman Adam Loria.

“There was no chance for a hospital. We initially called out STARS (air ambulance) but once we made the determination we did stand the helicopter down.”

Alberta RCMP said in a release that the French skier had died “as a result of injuries received after the skier caught an edge and crashed through the safety netting striking a tree.”

“Medical personal and team doctor were at the scene immediately after the accident but were unable to resuscitate him,” the release said.

French sports minister Laura Flessel expressed her “sadness” and said she will look carefully into the circumstances of the crash.

Poisson, a bulky racer with a broad smile nicknamed “Caillou” (“small stone”), was a popular figure on the World Cup circuit.

He secured his only World Cup podium in 2015 when he came third in the Santa Caterina downhill in Italy, and was fourth in the prestigious Kitzbuehel downhill in 2013. He also competed in the last Winter Olympics, and hoped to qualify for the Pyeongchang Games.

The International Ski Federation expressed its condolences to Poisson’s family and friends in a statement, praising “a respected and accomplished athlete on the World Cup tour ever since his debut in 2004.”

Members of Canada’s ski community also expressed their sorrow.

“Sending love and support to Poisson’s family, team and the entire ski racing community…David’s tragic accident is felt at the deepest level,” Tweeted Kerrin Lee-Gardner a former World Cup alpine ski racer and Olympic gold medallist from Canada.

Kelly VanderBeek, another former member of Canada’s Olympic alpine ski team, said she was “in shock” at news of Poisson’s death.

“My heart goes out to the entire community, but especially his family, friends, and all those who loved him,” VanderBeek said Monday in a tweet.

American ski racer Steven Nyman tweeted: “My heart goes out to David Poisson’s family, friends and teammates. He was a good man, a beast and a friend. I will miss him. The whole World Cup Tour will miss him.”

Poisson’s death came 16 years after super-G world champion Regine Cavagnoud, a prominent French skier, died in Austria from brain injuries following a collision in training.

“There is no word for that,” former French downhiller Luc Alphand told L’Equipe newspaper. “Eliminating risk entirely in downhill is impossible.”

An official with Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, which operates Nakiska, said it is open only for private race training at this time of year for the high level athletes preparing for the World Cup season.

Matt Mosteller said a number of teams, including France, were using the facility.

“They take care of their own training, they set their own courses, they do everything themselves. They’re high level athletes preparing for what they do best,” Mosteller said.

“It’s just horrible that this has happened and really our hearts are torn apart by it and our thoughts and prayers are with his family in France.”

Just Posted

Red Deer College waiting for feds to finalize marijuana legalization

Like businesses, Alberta and municipal governments, Red Deer College is waiting for… Continue reading

Class size only part of the problem say Central Alberta teachers

Though the Alberta auditor general’s report points out that classroom sizes continue… Continue reading

Lacombe County promoting crime prevention measures

County pushing Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles

Red Deer doctor concerned about patient transfers to rural hospitals

Family physician says the move creates less incentive for expansion at Red Deer hospital

Fire permit season begins in March

Earlier springs in last few years prompted Alberta government to move up fire permit season

WATCH: Red Deer’s River Bend upgrades officially open

River Bend Golf and Recreation Area is the latest venue to be… Continue reading

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Stores make push in scan and go tech, hope shoppers adopt it

NEW YORK — Shoppers at self-checkout lanes scanning all their groceries after… Continue reading

‘Stars seemed to have aligned’ for new Halifax CFL bid, commissioner says

HALIFAX — CFL fans in Halifax have been told the league is… Continue reading

The language of ‘Black Panther’? It’s real. Give it a try.

OTTAWA — The military’s top general has promised to get to the… Continue reading

New execution date set for Georgia’s ‘stocking strangler’

ATLANTA — A man known as the “stocking strangler,” who was convicted… Continue reading

Man says he kicked Chevy Chase in self-defence in dispute

SOUTH NYACK, N.Y. — A New York man says he kicked Chevy… Continue reading

Supporters of Tina Fontaine’s family march in Winnipeg to support her family

WINNIPEG — Hundreds marched through the streets of Winnipeg on Friday in… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month