An American freestyle skier died after being trapped in an avalanche in Japan on Sunday, his family confirmed.

Kyle Smaine, a skier from Lake Tahoe, California, had traveled to Japan for the «incredible quality of the snow,» according to a recent post on his Instagram account.

«This is what brings me back to Japan every winter,» wrote Smaine, who won a gold medal in the halfpipe at the 2015 FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships, while sharing a video of himself skiing.

Smaine was skiing in the Nagano prefecture on the central Japanese island of Honshu when she died after the avalanche hit, her father, William Smaine, confirmed to NBC News.

At least five men, all foreign nationals from the US and Austria, were trapped in the avalanche on the eastern slope of Mount Hakuba Norikura, a Nagano police spokesman said, according to Reuters.

Police had previously said the five men were skiing in two separate groups on the roughly 8,100-foot-high mountain. Three of the skiers were able to get down the mountain on their own on Sunday after the avalanche, but Smaine and another skier, who has not yet been identified, were left behind. Both men were later found without vital signs, Reuters reported.

Meteorological authorities issued an avalanche warning for the area after days of heavy snowfall. The warning came as Japan grappled with widespread disruption caused by heavy snowfall and record cold temperatures, and authorities were also investigating whether severe weather was behind several deaths.

Police officers board a gondola heading to the site of an avalanche in the town of Otari, Japan, on Sunday. access point

A spokesman for the US Embassy in Tokyo said the embassy was «aware of the incident in Nagano Prefecture and has contacted the relevant authorities to provide all appropriate assistance.»

«Due to privacy considerations, we are unable to comment further,» they said.

Smaine’s Instagram account was inundated with tributes from friends and fellow athletes.

«Such a bright light was missed,» wrote Marielle Thompson, a Canadian Olympic freestyle skier.

“I wish we had more time to ski in recent years,” wrote Joss Christensen, an American freestyle skier from Park City, Utah. “Thank you for always being such a positive energy,” Christensen said.

arata yamamoto, valeriya antonshchuk, Caroline Radnofsky Y Reuters contributed.