Swatch today paid tribute to world champion snowboarder and brand ambassador Estelle Balet after she was tragically killed in an avalanche on the Swiss border.
In a statement published on its website, the watch group said that the Proteam athlete’s death was a “tremendous loss” and extended its “warmest thoughts” to her family and friends.
The fatal avalanche occurred yesterday morning when Ms Balet was shooting a movie in the canton of Valais. She was following another snowboarder, who wasn’t caught in the avalanche, when a slab of snow broke away and swept her down a rocky slope.
The 21-year-old joined Swatch’s professional team four years ago and recently won the Freeride World Tour.
Swatch described her as “so full of life and joy”. It said: “It has been a real privilege to know her and to feel the energy of her presence on the Swatch Proteam, which she joined in September 2012. She was at the beginning of her career, in only her third season on the professional Freeride World Tour.
“As a rookie she placed second at Verbier in her first year, and won the World Championship in both her second and third years. A very outgoing and fun-loving person with a positive spirit, she was always smiling and full of joie de vivre.”
On its website, the brand published a video of Ms Balet perfecting her moves. “The best homage we can give to Estelle is to show her practicing the passion that ignited her entire life,” it said. “We will miss her deeply.”
The montage that Swatch posted can be viewed HERE.
Swiss police are understood to have launched an investigation into her death.