Balet, the 2015 Woman Snowboard Freeride World champion and Valais Sport Awards 2015 Athlete of the Year, was shooting a film on the mountain, according to NBC News. Police said that Balet was the second snowboarder to pass through a ravine around 8 a.m. local time, triggering the avalanche. The other snowboarder was not injured, according to the New York Times.
Despite attempts at resuscitation, the athlete was pronounced dead on the scene after mountain rescue specialists arrived. She was wearing a rescue beacon, helmet and an airbag, according to NBC News.
"The Freeride community has experienced a tremendous loss today as we learned that one of the most hopeful young talents and current snowboard World Champion, Estelle Balet, has tragically passed away in an avalanche. The mortal avalanche occurred earlier this morning in the canton of Valais," the Freeride World Tour said in a statement on their website about Balet's passing. "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."
Just two days earlier, Balet posted a photo on Instagram, writing that it was "pretty awesome to get to snowboard with such a view." She added, "Can't wait for more filming next week. #ExploringTheKnown."
She also shared a video of herself skiing on Mont Blanc over the weekend, writing of an "amazing morning of riding white gold."
Freeriding is an extreme snowboarding style where the athlete rides on open terrain and un-groomed trails.