One of France's great snowboard champions, Karine Ruby, will be laid to rest tomorrow (Monday) at 3pm in an open air ceremony which will take place in the centre of Chamonix by the Maison de la Montagne.
Karine died on Friday in a fall down a crevasse on the Glacier du Geant. Since retiring from international competition Karine was training as a high mountain guide at ENSA, the prestigious Ecole National de Ski et d'Alpinisme in Chamonix. She had been guiding two clients, one of whom died with her. The second has since died from his injuries.
Karine Ruby was the first female champion in snowboarding when the sport made it's Olympic debut at Nagano in 1998. She became world champion six times before moving into the discipline of boarder cross. In 2005 she retired from competition and began her training with ENSA.
She grew up in the shadow of Mont Blanc, and learnt to snowboard on the steeps and deeps of this famous range. She had bought and renovated one of the oldest farms in Argentiere, not far from where her parents live today. She was well known and highly regarded in Chamonix, but was always friendly and down-to-earth. Xavier Chappaz, the former president of the Chamonix Compagnie des Guides, said: "For us Karine was just Karine - not an Olympic champion. She was a star of Chamonix, a true mountain girl...always smiling and respectful." (Le Dauphine 30.05.09)
She was just 31 years old.