SAPPORO – An adventure tour guide from New Zealand died while snowboarding Saturday after being swept away by an avalanche at Niseko ski resort in the town of Kutchan, Hokkaido, police said.
Rescuers extracted the body of Samuel Kerr, 35, from under the snow. Kerr, who resided in Kutchan, was the leader of Niseko Xtreme Tours, which conducts skiing and snowboarding excursions at the resort.
Also injured in the avalanche was Jun Hamamura, 35, of Meguro Ward, Tokyo. Hamamura suffered minor chest injuries.
A fellow guide from the company acknowledged Kerr’s death in a social media post.
“As people may have heard our fearless leader Sam Kerr passed away in an avalanche yesterday while out freeriding in Niseko,” Niseko Xtreme Tours guide Tom Melville wrote on the company’s Facebook page. “Words can’t describe how we all feel.”
The post said the company will continue providing tours and care for Kerr’s wife and son. Kerr was originally from Otago on New Zealand’s South Island.
According to the local police, Kerr and five friends were snowboarding in an off-limits area near the ski slope when they were hit by an avalanche about 200 meters wide and 350 meters long.
The site was considered dangerous because people had died there before from avalanches.