Pioneering US telemark skier Kasha Rigby believed to have died in avalanche

Avalanche on mountain
Tributes have begun online for Kasha Rigby after a slide in Kosovo claims one (Image credit: Getty)

Tributes began pouring in on social media last night for US skier Kasha Rigby, who is thought to have died in an avalanche in Kosovo. Though her death remains unconfirmed, several news outlets including Ski Magazine are reporting the victim was Rigby, a pioneer in extreme telemark skiing.

Kosovo Mountain Search and Rescue Service say they responded to a distress call at the Ski Center in Brezovica at 3:20p.m. on Tuesday afternoon during foggy and low visbility conditions. According to reporting by Vox news, the call came from an area known as “Eagle’s Nest” within the ski center from a British male who said his wife may have been caught in a slide. Search and rescue teams later uncovered the body of a woman.

Though official reports only identify the victim as a 54-year-old US citizen, Rigby is believed to have perished. Rigby, who was born in Vermont and called Utah home, has been called the best female telemark skier in the world and is renowned for her first descents of some of the world's most foreboding peaks, such as the Five Holy Peaks in Mongolia. In 2015, she appeared in the National Geographic show Ultimate Survival Alaska.

kasha rigby

In 2015, she appeared in the National Geographic show Ultimate Survival Alaska (Image credit: Frederick M. Brown / Stringer)

Avalanche safety

All skiers are reminded that avalanches can occur on any slope that is 30 degrees or more and is covered in snow and ice. Unstable snowpack is the most dangerous, meaning that the snow contains different layers of snow that vary in consistency, for example a layer of unconsolidated, loose snow topped by a thick, solid slab of ice.

Never venture into the backcountry without avalanche training and an avalanche beacon. You can learn more in our article on avalanche safety.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.