ESTEBAN Olivero - the champion trail runner and "gifted" mountaineer - has been killed in a skiing accident in the French Alps.

Trail running champion and talented mountaineer Esteban Olivero dies in ski accident

ESTEBAN Olivero – the champion trail runner and “gifted” mountaineer – has been killed in a skiing accident in the French Alps.

It is understood the highly popular 22-year-old was on a ski mountaineering expedition and descending La Blanche in the Ecrins Massif.

Olivero’s friends contacted emergency services when the Frenchman had not returned from the mountain by nightfall.

The remarkable athlete had only moved to the area in recent months to further hone his much-lauded skills as a mountaineer and trail runner. He was originally from Var in the south-eastern region of France.

Already an established star of trail running, Olivero cemented his place at the top of the sport earlier this year after winning the prestigious Grand Trail des Acrins 34km in Vallouise.

He also won Sweden’s Hochkönig Skyrace 50km, and took the crown at the French Under 23 Trail Running Championships.

Olivero representing inov-8

Among the many tributes for the talented sportsman, condolences were expressed by the French Athletics Foundation and also UK-based sportswear company inov-8 who Olivero represented at races.

“It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Esteban Olivero at the age of 22,” inov-8 said in a statement.

“The inov-8 France athlete sadly died yesterday following a ski accident. Esteban was a brilliant mountain runner and a fun, honest young man. He will be sadly missed by many.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”

The French Athletics Foundation said: “The entire trail running community in France and elsewhere is mourning the death of an athlete highly esteemed by his peers. Esteban will leave a great memory.

“A runner recognised for his talent during the effort but also during the post-race moments, his smile and his infectious good humour made him a much-appreciated comrade.”

The Skyrunner World Series also shared a touching memoriam, saying: “You will be with us on every start line and on every summit.”

Florent Besses of the National Excellence Ski Mountaineering Group added that Olivero’s loss would be hard to bear.

“Despite his very high level, he was simple and humble, with an infectious joy, very invested in the group,” he said.

“A bon vivant, far from the image of the ascetic.”

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