Skier Couple Killed After Mountain Accident in Italy

A World Cup competitive skier and his girlfriend were killed after falling down a mountain while hiking above the resort village of Champoluc in the northern Italian region of Aosta Valley last weekend.

According to the Italian news outlet Rai News 24, Jean-Daniel Pession, 28, a member of Italy’s national speed skiing team, and his 26-year-old girlfriend, skiing instructor Elisa Arlian, fell roughly 700 meters from the summit of Mount Zerbion in the Italian Alps.

When the couple failed to return to Champoluc from their early morning hike, their families contacted the rescue service which immediately deployed helicopters.

According to rescuers, there were no signs on the rocks to specify where precisely on the peak the couple was when they fell.

It took several hours for the three-man rescue crew to reach the couple. Eventually, Pession and Arlian were located by tracking their cellphone signals.

Rescue workers lowered themselves down using a winch and found the couple still linked together by the safety rope they were using nearly a half mile from where they fell. The bodies were taken to the mortuary in Champoluc at the base of Mount Zerbion.

What caused Pession and Arlian to fall nearly 2,300 feet to their deaths was uncertain.

In a June 1 statement, the Italian Winter Sports Federation described the incident as a “tragic mountain accident.”

Federation President Flavio Roda expressed his condolences to the families over “this tragic misfortune.”

According to the Italian Winter Sports Federation, Pession placed 15th in the 2021 final World Cup standings and finished in 22nd place at the 2022 World Championship in Vars.

The Regional Council of the Aosta Valley, where Pession is from, expressed “profound sadness” over the tragic deaths and also expressed their condolences to the families.