Italian World Cup skier dies in mountain accident alongside girlfriend

Italian World Cup speed skier Jean Daniel Pession and his girlfriend, Elisa Arlian, died in a mountain accident in northwest Italy, the Italian Winter Sports Federation (FISI) confirmed.

“A terrible tragedy struck the world of winter sports and speed skiing in particular,” the federation said in a June 1 statement.

“In a tragic mountain accident above Champoluc (Aosta), Jean Daniel Pession, a 28-year-old World Cup team member, lost his life. Together with Pession, his girlfriend also died,” FISI added.

“President Flavio Roda and the entire Federation express their condolences to the Pession family for this tragic misfortune.”

Pession was a skiing instructor at the Antagnod Ski School in northern Italy. The school said in an Instagram post that his and Arlian’s funerals were on Tuesday.

Rescuers found the couple’s bodies still tied together after an hours-long search, according to Italian public broadcaster RAI.

According to RAI, Pession and his 26-year-old girlfriend – who was also a skiing instructor – fell 700 meters (almost 2,300 feet) from the summit of Mount Zerbion, above the resort village of Champoluc in the Aosta Valley region, after setting out on a familiar route.

Helicopters were immediately deployed after concerned family members called the rescue center when they did not return home, the broadcaster reported.

There were no visible signs on the rocks suggesting where the pair had fallen and the three-crew rescue operation took hours, it said.

Eventually, rescuers were able to locate the couple using their cellphone signals, according to RAI.

According to the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS), Pession finished 15th in the 2021 World Cup standings for speed skiing. He was in the top 25 at the 2022 World Championships in Vars.

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