A SCOTTISH businessman has been killed in a skiing accident while on the French slopes with his son.
Jeremy Salvesen, 51, from Elie, Fife, had been skiing in the resort of La Clusaz on Thursday afternoon, when he fell and hit his head on a rock.
The father-of-four, who owned a luxury chalet in the resort near the Swiss border, was rushed to hospital in nearby Annecy, but was reported to have died from his injuries minutes later.
Police have launched an inquiry into the incident – which is believed to have taken place on an “easy” blue run – and are liaising with members of the deceased man’s family.
“He suffered a serious head injury and was evacuated by emergency helicopter,” a local police spokesman said.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed a fatality of a British national had taken place.
“We are aware of the death of a 51-year-old British man in France and are providing consular assistance to his family at this time,” she said.
Mr Salvesen had previously competed in a round-the-world sailing race.
Friends and neighbours in his home village of Elie took to social networking site Facebook to pay tribute to the businessman, who was said to be well liked in the local area.
Mr Salvesen had previously spoken of the close-knit community in the Fife village, which had joined with him to celebrate his sailing success five years ago.
“Immense sadness and disbelief in the village today,” wrote one friend. “So hard to believe. That smile was one in a million,” said another.
In 2009, Mr Salvesen finished third with his sailing partner, David Thomson, in the double-handed class of the Portimão Global Ocean Race on their boat Mowgli.
Despite having only learned to sail three years before entering the race, he and his more experienced partner faced treacherous conditions, at times battling 80-knot winds during the eight-month, 30,000-mile adventure, which took in South Africa, New Zealand, Brazil and the United States.
The pair’s achievement made Mr Salvesen one of only 300 people in history to have raced short-handed around the world.
Speaking after the trip, Mr Salvesen said: “I’ve achieved my dream and I hope that in a very small way this helps and encourages other people, young and old, to get off their butts and have a dream and have some passion, as we have proved that anything is achievable.”
An entrepreneur and business investor involved in a number of start-up projects in Scotland, Mr Salvesen bought the French chalet in 2012.
The resort has hosted winter sports since 1907, but is popular with tourists all year-round.
The incident had echoes of the accident that befell Formula 1 motor racing star Michael Schumacher, who fell and hit his head on a rock while skiing off-piste in the French Alps resort of Meribel, on 29 December.
Despite wearing a helmet, he suffered a traumatic brain injury that has kept him in intensive care, where he is being withdrawn from a medically induced coma.
Mr Salvesen’s death was also the latest in a spate of fatalities in the French Alps this year.
In March alone, three people were killed in three separate incidents in one day, including a seven-year-old boy who died after he was hit by another skier.