Kasha Rigby Dies in Avalanche in Kosovo

Pioneering telemark, big mountain and expedition skier Kasha Rigby, 54, has been killed in an avalanche in Kosovo on Tuesday. 

Rigby pioneered ski descents all over the world. Mary McIntyre

Rigby appeared to be doing a project called #tourdepiste, which she began at her home mountain, Stowe Mountain Resort, and had taken her most recently to Kosovo.

“While unconfirmed, a woman lost her life on Tuesday as a result of an avalanche at the Ski Center in Brezovica, in the south of Kosovo,” reported Euronews.albania in an article posted Feb. 13. “The news was announced to Radio Free Europe by the Police spokesperson for the Ferizaj region, Kanun Veseli. He announced that the victim is a 54-year-old foreign citizen.”

Although her name is not mentioned in the police report, Rigby’s latest Instagram post read: “#keepingitreal. 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 #tourdepiste 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. @mag_wolfed_ @brezovica_resort

Rigby’s latest Instagram post.

In the last 15 hours an outpouring of comments have been posted to her latest Instagram post, with many praising her impact on the skiing community over the past three-plus decades.

Originally from Stowe, Vermont, Rigby is well known for her big mountain accolades. She joined The North Face team in 1995, becoming teammates and friends with another pioneering skier, Hilaree Nelson. She is recognized for having the first climb and ski descent of Cho Oyu (26,907 feet), also credited as the first telemark descent; for her Mongolia Women’s Ski Expedition, in which her team was first to ski the Five Holy Peaks in Tavan Bogd (including Kuitan, the highest peak in Mongolia); the Hanuman Tibba Women’s Expedition, including a first ski descent of RFHP, a 8,202-foot couloir in the Himachal Pradesh region of India; the Kamchatka Women’s Ski Expedition, the first ski descent of Mts. Udina and Zimina; as well as the first female ski descent of Mt. Tolbachik (all telemarked).

“Kasha was bigger than skiing,” says longtime Backcountry editor Adam Howard, who grew up just over the hill from Kasha in Vermont and later attended Western Colorado University with her. “Among so much more, she embodied compassion and free spiritedness. The whole outdoor and ski world is just gutted to lose such a special soul.”

This is a developing story. We will update it as more information becomes available.

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  1. David Rigby says:

    My dearest Kasha,
    She was my first cousin and beautiful daughter of my most beloved Aunt Debbie and Uncle George Rigby.
    No words could capture her aura, beauty, soul, smile, and spiritual generosity.
    She will be missed by so many, the peaks of the heavens will invite her in as an original member.
    My heart breaks to know she has moved on….

    • Kasha was an incredible person! She loved life, lived Life to its fullest, and by her rules. I had the pleasure of filming Kasha in Alaska, and she was the type of person that when you were around Kasha your day was better, fuller, and filled with more love. The world has lost a beautiful soul. RIP ️❤️️❤️

      • Nathan Richer says:

        Kasha was an inspirational to so many.
        In the mid 90’s I was able to persuade my little brother to join me in Utah using Kasha as the catalyst. Knowing he had a magazine picture of her on his wall back home and that she had recently moved West from Vermont, I wrote him a letter stating “great skiers are made in New England, but the best move West”, that Fall he was at my door. On a film shoot several years later I told Kasha that story, she laughed, then she turned and ripped her line.
        Today, both of our hearts are heavy.

  2. Aaron Watty says:

    Always an inspiration!

  3. Very sad right now. Had the pleasure to hang with Kasha on a few media junkets – even make a few turns together. She was always real, always smiling, always ready for adventure. Willing to take risks, but never brash about it; usually soft spoken except when laughing. Always a spark in her eyes.

    We lost a special soul today who inspired many and will be emptier for it.

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