Avalanche Kills FWT Snowboard World Champion Estelle Balet While Filming In Swiss Alps
Valais, Switzerland – At approximately 8 AM on Tuesday April 19, 2016, two time Freeride World Tour snowboard World Champion Estelle Balet was killed in an avalanche while filming a snowboarding segment for a film project called “Exploring The Known.” The avalanche occurred in the La Portalet area above the village of Orsieres in the canton of Valais, Switzerland near French-Italian border.
Balet was the second person to ride down the slope where the avalanche occurred. The avalanche that killed Estelle Balet was 1000 meters long. Balet was equipped with an avalanche transceiver, air bag, and helmet. She was freed from the avalanche before rescuers arrived, but resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful. She was airlifted from the mountain by air ambulance service, Air Glaciers. Swiss authorities will investigate the avalanche further.
Originally from Vercorin, Switzerland, Estelle Balet, 21, was crowned the Freeride World Champion after winning the Xtreme Verbier 2016 competition in early April 2016. She was also the FWT World Champion in 2015. Learn more about Estelle Balet on her FWT Rider Profile.
The SLF.ch reports that the size 2 avalanche occurred at 3100 meters on a NNE aspect. One person was caught and killed. The avalanche danger at the time was 3. EAWS reports the avalanche was located at 45.9899 ° N/7.0622 ° E. See where the deadly avalanche occurred on the SLF.ch topo map.
Switzerland has recorded 17 avalanche fatalities during the 2015/2016 hydrological year (October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016). Twelve have been backcountry fatalities and five off piste fatalities. (SLF.ch)
We will try to update this post as more information becomes available.
Pin on map shows location of La Portalet, not the avalanche location.