Severino Bottero, coach of the French men's giant slalom team, has died in a car accident at the age of 47.
The Italian was killed on his way to a training camp in the Swiss Alps when his car left the road. No other vehicle was apparently involved in the crash.
"This is a drama and a disaster for French ski," said French ski federation technical director Gerard Rougier.
Bottero's death occurs just over a month before the start of the Winter Olympics in the Italian city of Turin.
Rougier added: "He was a great professional and a great person. He was almost French after all those years with us."
Bottero coached Frederic Covili, the 2002 giant slalom World Cup champion.