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Pioneering Utah skier Kasha Rigby dies in an avalanche in Kosovo



Salt Lake City, Utah – Friends and media reports this week stated that pioneering skier Kasha Rigby, who had lived and skied in Utah, perished in an avalanche at a resort in Kosovo.

Pioneer of telemark skiing Rigby was involved in a “high-force collision with trees” on Tuesday at the Ski Center in Brezovica, Kosovo, after being swept up in a “small avalanche,” according to a report from Ski Magazine. According to the magazine, she passed away from her accident-related injuries quite swiftly.

“Her passion for skiing and adventurous spirit touched the lives of many, and we want to ensure that her legacy is remembered with the respect and admiration she deserves,” Eric Henderson, a friend and operator of a Boulder, Colorado, public relations firm, said in a statement.

For a while, the 54-year-old Rigby resided in Boulder, Utah’s Garfield County.

“She wasn’t sure the rural town of Boulder, Utah, would have enough excitement for her, but soon fell in love with the wide open slick-rock, slot canyons, endless exploring, fresh food and the amazing Hell’s Backbone Restaurant that she worked at for many years,” Outside magazine reported in 1996, as quoted in a remembrance by Powder, a ski publication. “She changed the life of everyone she met in Boulder, and it became her sanctuary.”

Ski Magazine highlighted Rigby’s inventive and avant-garde style of skiing.

“Despite facing skepticism and prejudice, Rigby aimed to redefine telemarking with her high-speed, hard-driving style,” the magazine said in an article on her death. Outside magazine, the umbrella operation that owns Ski Magazine, called her “the best female telemark skier in the known universe” upon appearing on the cover of Women Outside in a 1998 edition, Ski Magazine reported.

Ace Kvale, of Boulder, a longtime friend, said Rigby was well-known in skiing circles all along the Wasatch Front. “She was a mentor and role model for two generations of skiers, men and women,” he said.

Beyond that, Kvale described her disposition as wide and gregarious. She was an illuminating force. Every room she entered, she brightened everything,” he remarked.

According to Henderson’s statement, the catastrophic avalanche that struck Kosovo on Tuesday happened as Rigby was descending a 35-degree slope. Magnus Wolfe, her fiancé, was at her side during the avalanche and arrived fast, but due to the severity of her wounds, he was unable to revive her.

“She always loved paths unknown and she followed many of them throughout the beautiful, winding trajectory of her life. She has touched so many lives and we will all miss her dearly,” Henderson said.

To support the attempts to get Rigby’s remains back to the United States, a GoFundMe account* has been established. A portion of the money would also go toward supporting the youngsters she and Wolfe had begun helping through a therapeutic sports program designed for children in underdeveloped countries and other nations going through difficult times.


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