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American skier Kasha Rigby, 54, shared heart-breaking final post before being killed in Kosovo avalanche describing the harsh ‘sideways rain’ and ‘too high winds’


American skier Katherine ‘Kasha’ Rigby who died following an avalanche shared a heart-breaking post just days before her death, describing harsh rain and winds. 

The pioneering athlete was in Brezovica, Kosovo, with her fiancé, Magnus Wolfe Murray, when she was caught in a small avalanche that swept her into the trees on Tuesday. 

She was reportedly killed on impact. Wolfe Murray was able to reach her in 20 seconds and attempted to resuscitate her, but was unsuccessful, according to Back Country Magazine

In her last post to her Instagram, Rigby posted: ‘Sideways rain, a big melt, and winds too high to run lifts, doesn’t keep these skiers and sledders off the t-bar and slope. 

‘While seeking winter our Tour De Piste continues, running the fringes of resorts. We have had a few chances to poke around up high, but today we were back in the lower country. Still just happy to be in the snow.’

In the 1990s, Rigby established a name for herself as 'the best telemark skier in the known universe'

In the 1990s, Rigby established a name for herself as ‘the best telemark skier in the known universe’

Rigby's last Instagram post from four days ago put her in Kosova, where she and her husband were reportedly off-trail skiing

Rigby’s last Instagram post from four days ago put her in Kosova, where she and her husband were reportedly off-trail skiing

The death of a 54-year-old skier was initially reported Tuesday by Euronew.albania. A spokesperson for the regional police told Radio Free Europe that the victim of the avalanche was a ’54-year-old foreign citizen.’

Prior to her tragic passing, Rigby was immersed in a project called the Tour de Piste – an effort by expert skiers to navigate uncharted ski runs at popular locations.

In her final post, Rigby described the project as ‘running the fringes of resorts.’

Following the death, authorities at Brezovica warned skiers to ‘only ski on ski trails.’

‘The paths are safe and Brezovica is also safe,’ said a member of the Mountain Search and Rescue Service of Kosovo, who added that even a small diversion of a charted course could lead to devastation.

According to local media, a representative from the Mountain Search and Rescue Service of Kosovo said that crews eventually located the body of an American skier after several attempts.

The weather was foggy and the visibility was very low. It was very difficult to locate the accident site. After several attempts, we found that the accident happened in the place called ‘The place of Eagles.’ 

‘After a short search, the body was located, but unfortunately, due to trauma from the avalanche, a foreign citizen passed away,’ said the representative.

Rigby was reportedly killed on impact. Wolfe Murray was able to reach her in 20 seconds and attempted to resuscitate her, but was unsuccessful

Rigby was reportedly killed on impact. Wolfe Murray was able to reach her in 20 seconds and attempted to resuscitate her, but was unsuccessful

Ski patrol transports a body down the mountain in Kosova after an avalanche killed an American skier

Ski patrol transports a body down the mountain in Kosova after an avalanche killed an American skier

The report out of Europe did not specifically name Rigby as the victim of the avalanche at the Ski Center in Brezovica, but the skier’s friends and loved ones began posting tributes to her Instagram account.

In the 1990s, Rigby established a name for herself as ‘the best telemark skier in the known universe,’ a title given to her by Outside magazine.

Rigby often skied alongside fellow iconic skier Hilaree Nelson, who like Rigby, met her end on a mountain. She perished while skiing down from the summit of Manaslu in 2022. 

The fearless athlete was born in Vermont, before moving to Colorado and later Utah.

She was celebrated for, among other things, becoming the first skier to telemark ski on Cho You, a Himalayan mountain and the sixth highest in the world.

Telemark skiing is a technique that combines elements of Alpine and Nordic skiing. The rear foot is leveraged to keep balanced while pushing on the front foot.

Rigby also also descended from challenging peaks in Russia, Ecuador, and Lebanon, according to Ski Magazine.

She also competed on season three of National Geographic’s reality program ‘Ultimate Survival Alaska’ in 2015. 

In the 1990s, Rigby established a name for herself as 'the best telemark skier in the known universe,' a title given to her by Outside magazine

In the 1990s, Rigby established a name for herself as ‘the best telemark skier in the known universe,’ a title given to her by Outside magazine 

The pioneering athlete was in Brezovica with her fiancé, Magnus Wolfe Murray, seen here, when she was caught in a small avalanche that swept her into the trees

The pioneering athlete was in Brezovica with her fiancé, Magnus Wolfe Murray, seen here, when she was caught in a small avalanche that swept her into the trees

Tributes poured in on the ski star’s Instagram page as the news broke of her tragic passing.

American mountaineer Jimmy Chin wrote below her final post: ‘I will forever be able to hear your voice and see your smile. 

‘Dancing and living to a different beautiful drum beat we all wish we could hear. Thank you for sharing so much joy and wisdom w all of us.’

‘The world lost a really beautiful soul and will never be the same without you magic one. I’ll forever miss you my love and cherish all the beautiful moments I got to spend with you. 

‘I still don’t believe it was the snow that got you. But I suppose that was in your contract, to be the best in the world, the fine print, you must die by that thing that you are so committed to,’ wrote friend Scott Whitaker in a Facebook tribute. 





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