Swiss police say snowboarder Estelle Balet has been killed in an avalanche.
Police say the 21-year-old Swiss athlete was struck by the snow slide early Tuesday morning while filming above Orsieres, near Switzerland’s southern border with France and Italy.
She had been following another snowboarder, who wasn’t caught in the avalanche.
Valais state police said in a statement that rescuers were able to free Balet, who had been wearing special safety equipment, but she died at the scene.
“I feel a great sadness, a sense of bitterness and above all a solidarity with those close to her,” Nicolas Hale-Woods, the Freeride World Tour founder, told AFP. He said it was a reminder that even when supervised, practising freeride snowboarding on a mountain carried “its share of uncertainty”.
“Estelle Balet was a naturally gifted shining star and demonstrated remarkable talent … bringing home her second title as World Champion just a few weeks ago in Verbier,” said the Freeride World Tour in a statement. “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 recently won the Freeride World Tour. She was a member of watchmaker Swatch’s professional team.
Police say they have launched an investigation into the cause of the incident.