Quebec reacts after freestyle skier Jean-Philippe Auclair dies in avalanche

QUEBEC CITY — Jean-Philippe Auclair first began skiing at the age of five on a 200-metre bunny hill in Ste-Foy.

From there he developed into one of the world’s most exciting freestyle skiers, regularly appearing in films, such as the YouTube hit “All I Can.”

But earlier this week, Auclair’s charmed life took a tragic turn in Chile.

READ MOREQuebec extreme skier Jean-Phillipe Auclair killed in Chilean avalanche

“They climbed up the highest part of the peak of the same name, San Lorenzo, and there was an avalanche,” explained Lieutenant Colonel Juan Urrejola with the Chilean police.

Thirty-seven-year-old Auclair and Carl Andreas Fransson from Sweden were dragged 700 metres down the mountainside. Chilean police and armed forces are working to recover their bodies in a joint rescue operation.

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“It’s a big shock for the entire ski industry.”

A still from the film "All I Can" featuring JP Auclair.

Thomas Rinfret told Global News his friend JP was one of the most creative minds in ski history. Last year, he was named one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year. He was an artist and businessman; in 1998, Auclair collaborated with Solomon and in 2002, he co-founded Armada skis, a freestyle apparel company. But he never let the compliments and industry accolades go to his head.

“JP was a very humble person. Although he was a pioneer and everybody knew him, he always kept being a simple person but in a great way. He was always happy to see people, always kind and I think it’s the way he’s going to be remembered,” Rinfret explained.

Quebec’s Sports Minister said his thoughts are with Auclair’s family.

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“We want to offer our condolences to the family. He was someone who was really well known and he was a very good person,” said Yves Bolduc.

Auclair leaves behind a heartbroken family, his partner and a newborn.

The last words on his Facebook page were evocative:

WATCH: JP Auclair Street Segment (from Sherpas Cinemas’ All.I.Can)

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