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Student who died on Oxbridge ski trip to French Alps named


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A student who died during an Oxbridge ski trip in France has been named by friends and family as Matt Smith.

Smith, an undergraduate at the University of Oxford, was found by friends in their accommodation during a Varsity trip in Val Thorens resort in the Alps on Sunday morning, local reports said.

His brother Harry wrote on Facebook: “I love you so much, Matt. Rest well above the clouds.”

Harry Smith – I love you so much, Matt. Rest well above… | Facebook

One friend wrote on Facebook: “Still don’t believe it, he was taken far too soon. We all thought he was invincible. I’ll always love you Matt and I hope you’re resting better now. You’ll forever be one of my oldest and greatest friends.”

Smith was a student at St John’s College and was studying history. According to his LinkedIn profile he was a qualified snowboard instructor, was secretary of the university’s ski and snowboard club and played rugby for the first XV as well as being a member of the college’s first VIII rowing team.

group pic of the ski club
Matt Smith, at the centre in the front row, at the Oxford University Ski and Snowboard Club end of season dinner (Alex Jelicic/OUSSC)

In a statement, a University of Oxford spokesman said: “We would like to express our deep sadness at the tragic death, and send our condolences to his family and friends.

“While we await the findings of the official investigation we are offering support to students who may have been affected.

“Members of the College were invited to gather yesterday to remember him, and any member of the College who is particularly affected by this sad news has been encouraged to contact the chaplain or any member of the welfare team.”

A general view of St John's College in Oxford
Members of St John’s College gathered yesterday to remember the history student (Steve Parsons/PA)

Thousands of students from Oxford and Cambridge universities attend the popular annual Varsity ski trip, which dates back to 1921.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: “We are supporting the family of a British national who died in France on December 4. We are in contact with the local authorities.”

Smith was described as “fun-loving” and “adventurous” by friends from Oxford University Ski and Snowboard Club (OUSSC), in which he served as social secretary last year.

We were all shocked to hear the news of Matt’s …

In a statement Alex Jelicic, president of the OUSSC, said: “We were all shocked to hear the news of Matt’s untimely death yesterday. He was a valued member of the club, not least in his capacity as social secretary last year, and he has made a lasting impression on all who were lucky enough to know him personally.

“He was well known for being a fun-loving, adventurous individual who brought good humour with him at all times. We are proud to have had him serve on our committee, and he will be sorely missed by all members of the club.”

Smith undertook an internship in the press office of auction house Sotheby’s in London for three months from September.

In a statement, a Sotheby’s spokesman said: “We were extremely sad to hear of Matt’s death. Our thoughts are with his family.”

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