Estelle Balet, 21-Year-Old Snowboard Champion, Killed in Avalanche

By Denisse Moreno, Epoch Times
April 19, 2016 Updated: April 20, 2016

Estelle Balet, the two-time world champion Swiss snowboarder, was killed in an avalanche on April 19 while making a film in Switzerland.

Officials say 21-year-old Balet was hit by a snow slide in Orsieres, near Switzerland’s southern border with France and Italy. She was following another snowboarder who was not caught in the avalanche.

Valais authorities said rescuers were able to free her, since she was wearing special safety equipment, but she died at the scene. The incident is under investigation.

Balet had recently won the Freeride World Tour for a second year in a row. The global series challenges athletes in extreme conditions and ungroomed snow.

Balet was snowboarding as part of watchmaker Swatch’s professional team. According to the Freeride World Tour, Balet had been competing since 2011.

“The Freeride community has experienced a tremendous loss today as we learned that one of the most hopeful young talents and current snowboard World Champion, Estelle Balet, has tragically passed away in an avalanche,” said Freeride in a statement. “Estelle Balet was a naturally gifted shining star and demonstrated remarkable talent.”

On social media, people posted messages about the death of the young champion.

Balet had posted on Instagram a picture two days earlier expressing her excitement over the film.

“Pretty awesome to get to snowboard with this view.. Can’t wait for more filming next week !” she wrote.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.