Well-Known US Skier Dies in Avalanche at Kosovo Resort

Katherine 'Kasha' Rigby, 54, was swept into a tree
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2024 12:00 AM CST
Avalanche at Kosovo Resort Kills Well-Known US Skier
A view of an empty ski resort in Brezovica, Kosovo, with the Shar mountains covered in snow on Friday, Dec 18, 2015.   (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

Katherine 'Kasha' Rigby, 54, a well-known US skier, died at a Kosovo ski resort Tuesday when she was caught up in an avalanche and swept into a tree. Rigby, who was born in Vermont and first trained on East Coast slopes, later moved to Utah and Colorado and skied all over the world. She was a pioneer of telemark skiing, Ski Magazine reports, noting that she aimed to redefine the sport "with her high-speed, hard-driving style." Telemark skiing, in which the skier bends their knees every time they turn, is a combination of Alpine and Nordic skiing, People reports. Rigby, who once won second place competing on the Ultimate Survival Alaska series, was once called "the best female telemark skier in the known universe."

Rigby was descending a 35-degree slope with her fiance, Magnus Wolfe, when the small avalanche hit, KSL reports. It was reportedly triggered by Rigby dropping in at the top of the run. Wolfe got to her almost immediately and attempted CPR, but her injuries were too traumatic and she reportedly died within seconds of impact. In her last Instagram post on February 11, just two days before her death, Rigby noted "sideways rain, a big melt, and winds too high to run lifts" at the resort, where she was participating in the Tour de Piste, in which expert skiers traverse unknown ski runs at popular ski resorts. (More skiing stories.)

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