Thirty-year-old extreme skier Matilda Rapaport died in a hospital on Monday after an avalanche accident in the Andes Mountains in Chile, where she was filming parts for a Ubisoft video game called Steep.
Matilda Rapaport, the Swedish champion skier, left Sweden last week and headed to Chile to get some filming done for Ubisoft’s forthcoming Steep — a video game about extreme sports. Rapaport was skiing through the Andes Mountains near the Chilean capital of Santiago on Thursday when a major snowstorm that occurred prior to the film shoot caused an avalanche. Rapaport was buried beneath the snow so badly that it took rescuers a “lengthy” amount of time before they could find her, reports Powder.
By the time rescue efforts managed to find and dig her out, Matilda Rapaport was unconscious and in bad shape. She spent the weekend in a coma in a Chilean hospital before succumbing to her injuries Monday. According to reports, being buried beneath the snow for an extended period of time caused Matilda to suffer from oxygen deprivation and brain damage, which ultimately led to her untimely death.
A spokesperson for Redbull, who sponsored Matilda, released a statement today confirming the champion skier’s death.
“Matilda was an extraordinary athlete, traveling the world to find her passion, ride steep terrain and share her bright smile.”
This was not the first avalanche accident that Matilda Rapaport had been in during her tenure as an extreme skier. In 2014, while filming in Alaska for a freeski movie she was apart of, Rapaport was caught in an avalanche that pulled her down the mountain and partially buried her. Matilda discussed the accident in an episode of Redbull’s online video series A Skier Knows. When asked what made her click her skis on again after the terrifying incident in 2014, Rapaport she said simply that despite the bad memories of the avalanche, she came back to the sport she loved in order to make more good memories that would outweigh the bad.
Matilda had taken part in a number of freeski movies and was no stranger to being filmed while racing down a mountain. Included in her film repertoire are three acclaimed all-women productions — Shades of Winter, Pure, and Between.
Just days before her death, Rapaport was posted numerous photos and videos to Instagram of the beautiful, snow-covered countryside in Farrellones, Chili, where she would soon begin filming for Ubisoft’s Steep.
Following her death, Ubisoft also released a statement regarding the passing of Matilda Rapaport.
“Matilda’s courage, passion, and desire to share the sport she loved with the world served as an inspiration for other athletes and for us all. This tragic accident has deeply touched us. Our hearts and prayers go out to her husband and her wider family at this difficult time.”
Matilda Rapaport was born in Stockholm, Sweden, where she learned to ski at an early age and eventually got into alpine ski racing, where she excelled. While attending the Stockholm School of Economics at 20-years-old, she bought her first pair of fat skis and began big mountain skiing, which Matilda found she absolutely loved. She competed in the Freeride World Tour, and was ranked top-tier before winning the Scandinavian Big Mountain Championships in 2011. In 2013, she won the Freeride World Tour’s Xtreme Verbier, the “world’s most prestigious and hardest freeride competition,” according to International Business Times, which she entered as a wildcard.
Just a few months before her tragic death, Matilda married Swedish World Cup skier Mattias Hargin in the early summer of 2016.
Matilda Rapaport is survived by husband Mattias Hargin and many family members.
[Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]