Two of the best extreme skiers in the world, Andreas Fransson of Sweden and Jean-Philippe Auclair of Canada, died in an avalanche on a remote peak in Chile earlier this week. Their bodies were found not far from where the accident occurred in Patagonia. Fransson was 31 and Auclair was 37.
Two other members of the expedition, filmmaker Bjarne Salen and photographer Daniel Ronnback, both of Sweden, survived the accident unharmed. Fransson and Auclair were swept away by the avalanche while climbing Monte San Lorenzo, a 12,159-foot, pyramid-shaped peak that sits on the border of Chile and Argentina. The accident happened on the Argentine side of the peak.
The foursome arrived late last week to ski and document their adventures for an upcoming video series that was to premiere this fall, according to a statement on Fransson’s Facebook page that he wrote before leaving his home in Chamonix, France.
Auclair, a Quebec native who ditched mogul skiing to help pioneer modern freeskiing as a member of the New Canadian Air Force, went on to co-found Armada Skis. He was esteemed for rare versatility, at home in urban settings as well as big mountains around the world. His street segment filmed in and around Trail, B.C., in the 2011 film All.I.Can stands as one of the most unique clips in ski film history.
Fransson was perhaps best known for his solo first descent of Denali’s south face in 2011. He earned great respect for his feats in Chamonix, where a 2010 avalanche on the Aiguille de Verte broke his neck and nearly killed him.