This is so sad… and scary!
Estelle Balet, a world champion snowboarder from Switzerland, died on Tuesday after being caught in an avalanche during a snowboarding film shoot in the Alps.
Balet, just 21 years old, was filming a downhill run on Le Portalet, a mountain in Switzerland near the country’s southwest border with Italy and France, when she followed another snowboarder through a narrow ravine.
That triggered the avalanche that carried on for nearly three-quarters of a mile down the mountain, catching and trapping the young snowboarder in its wake.
Balet was equipped with all the proper emergency gear: she was wearing a rescue beacon, a helmet, and an airbag — what snowboarders use to create an air pocket should they be trapped in an avalanche — but it wasn’t enough.
Even though mountain rescue specialists flew immediately by helicopter to the site, and Balet was very quickly freed, she was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Freeride World Tour — of which Balet had just won her second world title earlier this month — released a statement on the tragic death:
“Estelle Balet was a naturally gifted shining star and demonstrated remarkable talent as she quickly became a household name on the Freeride World Tour. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Estelle Balet as we send our deepest sympathy and condolences during this very difficult time.”
Balet was an avid Instagram user, posting pics and videos of her runs routinely; it appears that she was taking video of this particular run, too.
Her final IG post from two days ago is chillingly beautiful (below):
Pretty awesome to get to snowboard with this view.. Can’t wait for more filming next week ! #ExploringTheKnown ├░┼╕ΓÇ£┬╖: @timelinemissions @audich #4vall├â┬⌐es #bliblablo #netplusA photo posted by Estelle Balet (@estelle_balet) on Apr 17, 2016 at 3:29am PDT
So beautiful and peaceful, and yet so much power and potential energy… scary. Gorgeous, and scary.
Our thoughts are prayers are with Balet’s family, friends, and loved ones during this terrible, terrible time.
[Image via Estelle Balet/Instagram.]