Tragedy in the Alps | Swiss Snowboarder Estelle Balet Dies in an Avalanche

The 21-year-old Freeride World Tour champion was killed this morning

Estelle Balet, who was tragically killed in an avalanche in Switzerland this morning. Photo: David Carlier / Freeride World Tour

The Swiss snowboarder and double Freeride World Tour champion Estelle Balet has been killed in an avalanche in the Alps, according to local police reports.

Balet was riding a face near the resort of Orsieres in Switzerland when she triggered a massive avalanche. Rescue teams received a call at around 8am this morning, but although they arrived on the scene quickly, they couldn’t revive the young world champion.

A photo released by Swiss police showing the face after the avalanche. Photo: Police Valais

Balet, who was just 21-years-old, was apparently wearing an avalanche beacon and an airbag as well as a helmet. Apparently another rider had dropped into the face before her and ridden it safely.

“Balet was one of the brightest talents in freeriding, with two world tour titles under her belt.”

Despite her youth, Balet was one of the brightest talents in freeriding. She won the Freeride World Tour for the first time last season and just a few weeks ago was celebrating a first place at the prestigious Verbier Xtreme, a win that gave her a second consecutive title.
She was filming for a new movie project when the avalanche happened.
Tributes have begun pouring in from fellow pros and people in the snowboard industry as the news spreads. The Freeride World Tour site is given over to a tribute which describes Estelle as “shining star” and the tour tweeted:

Hayley Edmonds, a commentator, TV presenter and snowboard journalist based in France wrote:

Estelle Balet represented everything positive about women’s snowboarding, pushing boundaries and paving the way for others like her. Unfortunately she was tragically taken from us in an avalanche this morning. Today, the snowboarding community mourns a determined and motivated rider who inspired so many women like her. Rest in peace Estelle X @freerideworldtour

A photo posted by Hayley Edmonds (@hayleyedmonds) on

Mpora’s sister title Whitelines Snowboarding meanwhile described the young rider as: “A phenomenal talent who always found the fun in snowboarding,” adding “Estelle will be sorely missed”.

Our thoughts are with Estelle’s friends and family.


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