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BREAKING: Avalanche Claims Life of Freeride World Tour Champ

Estelle Balet was a back-to-back FWT champion in 2015 & 2016. She passed away in an avalanche early Tuesday morning. Getty photo. 

It is with heavy hearts that we report of the death of 21 year-old snowboarder Estelle Balet. Balet was killed by an avalanche while filming a movie on Le Portale, a mountain in the southwestern region of Switzerland. Balet was the second rider on a line, when the avalanche was triggered, carrying her down a narrow rocky slope. Although safety crews were able to extract Balet from the snow, they were not able to resuscitate her. 

At the time of the accident, Balet was wearing avalanche safety equipment, including a beacon and airbag. It is not clear whether or not she deployed the bag. 

The avalanche bulletin for Le Portale was listed as Level 3 or Considerable. The report stated, that "the snow drift accumulations of the last few days represent the main danger. Avalanches can be released by a single winter sport participant and reach medium size. Backcountry touring calls for experience in the assessment of avalanche danger."

Estelle was a two-time Freeride World Tour Champion, becoming the youngest overall champion in 2015. “Estelle Balet was a naturally gifted shining star and demonstrated remarkable talent as she quickly became a household name on the Freeride World Tour, bringing home her second title as World Champion just a few weeks ago in Verbier,” the Freeride World Tour said in a statement.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Estelle's family and friends, along with the greater snow sports community. We will update this story as we learn more. 

About The Author

stash member Jonathan Desabris

Digital Content Producer at TGR. Jackson Hole transplant from the Green Mountain State. Contrary to popular belief I have never lived in New Jersey.

A tourist-bear interaction in Yellowstone would be followed by some sort of scathing comment regarding general gaperhood, bear safety and/or idiocracy. -