It is with great sadness that we report the death of 30-year-old Swedish big-mountain skier Matilda Rapaport.
Rapaport was buried in an avalanche while participating in a commercial film shoot in Farellones, Chile on Thursday, July 14. She was rescued following the incident and airlifted to a hospital in Santiago; reports suggest she arrived at the hospital within and hour and a half of being buried. Rapaport’s condition was critical; she was in a coma due to complications resulting from a lack of oxygen.
On Monday, July 18, Rapaport succumbed to her injuries. Her mother Annika and her husband—Swedish World Cup slalom skier Mattias Hargin—were at her side.
Rapaport was a successful big-mountain skier who made her mark all over the world; her accolades include many noteworthy results on the Freeride World Tour: 2nd at Haines, Alaska in 2016; 3rd at Chamonix Mont-Blanc in 2016; 2nd at Chamonix in 2014; 1st at Verbier Xtreme in 2013. Rapaport also spent much time working with esteemed film production companies including Shades of Winter; the group is set to release its latest film Between this October. That film will feature some of the world’s best female skiers—including Rapaport—and other female extreme sports athletes.
“It is a terrible event with a sad outcome which is very hard to take in,” said Tommy Eliasson Winter, the Swedish Ski Association’s head of alpine sports. “Our thoughts are with Matilda’s loved ones and we will do everything we can to support them at this difficult time.”
Rapaport will be dearly missed by all corners of the ski community. Remembrances from professional skiers and industry icons are rolling in via social media; we have embedded many of these notes below and will continue to update this page as new tributes are posted. FREESKIER extends its deepest condolences to the Rapaport family, to Mattias Hargin and to all those who were touched by the departed.
Update: July 20, 2016
Various sources—including the International Business Times, BBC and Swedish news site Expressen—are now saying Rapaport was filming a commercial for a not-yet-released extreme sports video game titled Steep.
Steep is owned by Ubisoft, a video game developer company based out of Rennes, France, which released the following statement to Expressen:
“We are deeply saddened by the news of Matilda Rapaport’s death. After a film production in Chile on Thursday, July 14 caught her in an avalanche. Despite the care and treatment days after, it was not possible to save her life.
Matilda’s courage, passion and desire to share the sport she loved with the world was an inspiration to other athletes, and for all of us. This tragic incident has touched us deeply.
Our hearts and thoughts go out to her husband and all her other family during this difficult time.”
Rapaport posted a photo on July 14—the day she was caught in the avalanche that would ultimately take her life—with the hashtag #STEEPgame.
The skiing community remembers Matilda Rapaport:
On Thursday last week, my friend @matildarapaport was in an avalanche while skiing in Chile. Unfortunately she was under the snow for a long time and ended up in coma. Due to complications resulting from lack of oxygen, Matilda passed away today. Matilda was such an amazing person, always happy and with a positive attitude towards life and skiing. She was a phenomenal role model for other women skiers and also pushed the boundaries in big mountain skiing. My thoughts are with her husband Mattias Hargin and their family. I cannot even understand how it feels for them in this tragic moment but I hope we all can remember the great memories of Matilda.
Goodbye Matilda ••• It was a gray and rainy day when I understood that only a miracle could save you. But just before sunset the sun came out for a few minutes. I felt that it was you saying goodbye to me. It was beautiful and warm, just like you were, and that's how I will remember you. But no memories can fill the black hole I have in my heart now. Thank you for everything. You were great in so many ways. I wish I had any words of comfort for Mattias and the rest of your family, but I don't, because this is too unfair to understand. Goodbye dear friend.
Matilda. There is so much I would like to say. It is so unfair and I can't really believe that this is true. There is just no words to describe it all. But I would like to thank you. I would like to thank you for being such big inspiration on and off the mountain. For pushing and cheering. And for charging down those mountains like no one else. You will always be a big inspiration. Hopefully you are skiing in a place with endless powder spreading smiles just like you did here on earth. Sending all my love to Mattias and family❤️
It feels not long ago I was morning the loss of a friend who lost her life in the mountains. Sadly today it's the same story. @matildarapaport fellow skier and friend is no longer with us. It really makes you think, two friends in three months. Is this sport we all love really worth it? At the same time I'll never stop playing in the mountains, it's what I and all my friends live for. It's what I did today, played in this beautiful wilderness. I just really want myself and my friends to come home after every trip. Be safe out there everyone Matilda and Estelle would want you to come home after every trip too. ❤️
@matildarapaport was a friend, but more than anything, she was my biggest inspiration. As an athlete, it can feel like your personality counts more than your athleticism. Matilda's personality was something that I felt I could finally relate to. Matilda showed me that it's okay to be quiet. It's okay to take your training seriously. Okay to not party. Okay to like great food and clothes. Okay to be sad when you lose and happy when you win. I'm going to miss her dearly. I'll miss her blog posts, her professionalism at competitions…Miss those moments where she would be so giddy when her love did well at a ski race. I cant imagine how those closest to her can survive this. It feels unfair. All I can think is to continue to try to be like Matilda.
You came into my life to late. And now you left me to early. You know a real friend when you meet them. It's like you always known each other, you laugh about the same things, you talk about serious things openly like if they no longer seems as heavy. My life continues on with the knowledge that yours was as happy as ones life should be. I was ones part of your special day, and the thought that I could have made your life as happy as it was brings me endless amounts of joy. My heart will forever think of you when I see snow and mountains. I will always make sure to think of those few precious moments we got to spend with each other planning your big day. To think of how much joy it gave us both. The day came, and you were every bit as beautiful as we had hoped you would be. Now it breakes my heart knowing these precious moments were just there that one time, and that our journey ends with those precious moments there and then. Matilda, I will forever be grateful for your support and your loving embrace. Thank you for everything. Your are forever in my heart. #foreverinmyheart #matildarapaport
I'm devastated to hear about yet another amazing young person who have left us all to soon. @matildarapaport was such a inspiration and always with a smile on her face, a true professional and a great friend to everyone. My thoughts goes out to her family and especially @mattiashargin Her husband and high-school sweetheart. It's all just to sad. Take care out there everyone and tell your close ones that you love them, every day. We will see you in Nangijala Matilda.
My heart broke when I heard the news about @matildarapaport passing away this morning. Another beautiful person has been taken by the snow. I was lucky, so lucky, to spend a brief week with Matilda last winter. We were on a busy photoshoot.. so our days were full of working and skiing. But our evenings were spent chatting late into the night. We drank lots of wine and talked about everything other than skiing. Life, love, having sisters, and mostly her upcoming wedding (she got married in April 2016). I'm not sure why our paths crossed, but I can honestly say that she had a huge impact on me. Not just because of her incredible talent as a athlete, but because she was nice. So so so nice, and kind and warm. So easy to talk to. Simply, just a really wonderful person.
I few days a go I got the terrible news from my team manager at @peakperformance, that @matildarapaport was taken in an avalanche in Chile. It's hard to believe that she's now taken away from us. A huge inspiration and a big role model for all of us girls in the skiing industry. Ski in peace Matilda ❄️ We will always remember you, your big smile and the way you skied 🙏🏼
Some days and places weigh heavier than others. This is one of them. Losing a member of the tribe always leads to soul searching and a desire to make sense of it all, but as our world seems to be increasingly heading in the direction of insanity, skiing is making more sense to me than ever. You'll be dearly missed @matildarapaport 🎿😔 #skiing #life
Matilda, you ARE part of the #shadesofwinter family since the very first moments back in 2013. Your humble, kind and warmhearthing personality, your drive, motivation and professionalism for our sport and simply by being the lovely thoughtful girl from next door with open ears for anyone anytime… you ARE a true inspiration to the team and to people spread out all over the world. We will always remember you and keep your spirit lively. #inspireLikeMatilda
What I do feel is lucky to have experienced every moment I did have with her… Being part of #shadesofwinter and spending time with Matilda was the highlight of my ski career these past two years. I can't believe she is gone, but her energy will be with us forever #inspirelikeMatilda lots of love 🙏 and strength to her family and especially her love @mattiashargin 💙
There is no explanation to why some bad news is harder to cope with than other news. Matilda you have been on my mind all morning. Whether it's because we've shared so many similar goals and a hopeless love for the mountains and skiing or because I'm trying to understand the hole that will be left in many of our communities lives now that you are gone…. Our paths haven't crossed much since I first met you on our rookie year of the FWQs but I have been following your successes, constantly inspired by everything you have achieved and the grace and style that you do it in. R.I.P ❤️ My condolences to all your family and friends.
It's hard to believe such a beautiful, strong, intelligent, driven soul was taken from this world. Matilda is missed by many; the freeride community, family and friends. My heart goes out to Mattias. Life goes on but your memory will forever remain with us Matilda. I loved how you were always the voice of calmness in the group. A beautiful soul. The memories we've made will go on and on 💜💜 #inspirelikematilda
Getting to know these #freeride x #freeski ladies has been very inspiring. I express with a challenaged heart, that we lost a great spirit today. I met @matildarapaport this winter and she touched my heart with her genuine nature, healthy lifestyle and focused energy. We had some fun yoga, meditation and hotel smoothie sessions with @evelojna and @kjerstibuaas. She was very welcoming on the #fwt and I enjoyed our meals, strategy chats and powder riding together. I never would have guessed, months later two of two incredibly talented ladies would be angels from above. Avalanches are the real deal and even the worlds best equipment will not be able to save everyone from this powerful life force. Here is a photo from my most memorable session with @matildarapaport and the ladies. Pow laps all day, giggles and so many smiles! We were all so good at staying safe with our turns and looking after each other. I love you sister and my thoughts and prayers are with your family and husband.
Matilda will be remembered as an inspiring athlete and successful big-mountain skier who made her mark all over the world. And she was also a lot more than that. An energy beam, a constant smile, a creative mind, an entrepreneur, a professional and highly educated person, an open mind, a fun one, a generous soul mixed with a determined and down to earth personality. One truly amazing human being. Now in our thoughts and hearts forever. What a tragedy. Lots of love and strength to @mattiashargin, her family and closest friends. #inspirelikeMatilda
It’s a very sad day. As I look through all the photos I have of you Matilda it brings me back to all the fun times we had together. We spent a lot of time working doing long trips together the last few years but what I will remember most is the friendship we had. You were so kind, caring and smart with the biggest heart anyone can imagine. Going on trips with you was just like going on a trip with a good friend, it was so easy and fun. I will remember our years in Engelberg, I will remember the happiest day of your life when you got your Mattias, I will remember you and your smile. My thoughts go out to Mattias and your family.
There are moments in life I wish I could re-live. Like this one where I'm pretty sure @korinnekrieger said something funny right after I took this photo and we all laughed. My life has been blessed by crossing paths with some incredible people, and yet I find myself in shock when those people are gone too soon. The only thing I can take away is to relish this life. Put good into the world as much as you can and spread love and kindness as much as you are able to. I feel as though this has been a resounding quality in many of those we have lost. Which makes it so much harder and gives us so many more reasons to celebrate what they brought to our lives. #inspirelikematilda
Deeply saddened and in denial of the loss of such a bright star, kind and gentle soul, all around lovely person and a passionate and beautiful skier. I am so lucky and grateful to @atomicski for having brought us together to share some unforgettable moments this past winter, sharing thoughts on training and life in general. She was one of these people whom you met and loved instantaneously and wanted to share adventures with. I can not believe you are gone @matildarapaport. #rip🙏 😥🎿👼 #matildarapaport #inspirelikematilda
— Cody Townsend (@codytownsend) July 18, 2016
So sad 😔 https://t.co/L2AObsKA72
— Mike Douglas (@MikeDski) July 18, 2016
This is another painful shock for the freeride community & the #FWTfamily.Matilda was the embodiment of excellence, on & off the mountain <3
— Freeride World Tour (@FreerideWTour) July 18, 2016
Always kind, welcoming, and warm. Saddened that @MatildaRapaport has passed. Sending love and light to all who were close. ❤️
— Michelle Parker (@MyshellParker) July 18, 2016