World Champion Snowboarder Estelle Balet Killed in Alps Avalanche

World champion snowboarder Estelle Balet died on Tuesday in the Alps.

Balet’s death came as a result of an avalanche on Le Portalet high above Orsieres, Switzerland, which borders both France and Italy. A snowboarder riding ahead of Benet emerged unscathed. First responders freed the 21-year-old woman equipped with safety gear, such as a helmet and airbag, from the snow but could not help her.

Balet’s death occurred while filming a movie called “Explore the Known.” On her social media accounts, using the film’s title as a hashtag, she wrote: “Pretty awesome to get to snowboard with such a view!! Can’t wait for more filming next week.” The words captioned a beautiful scene in the Swiss Alps.

The young woman died clearly doing what she loved. She recently described “an amazing morning of riding white gold” and hashtagged several posts “neverendingwinter.”

The Swiss woman pursued a form of snowboard called freeriding, an off-trail activity inherently more risky than traditional skiing. Many of the deaths that occur every ski season come about because of avalanches triggered by freeriding.

Balet’s death comes just two weeks after she captured her second Freeride World Tour championship.


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