A 24-year-old woman from Waterloo has died while hiking through an Italian mountain range.

Chelsea Alvarez died on New Year’s Day while in the South Tyrol region of northern Italy.

According to Italian media reports, she lost her balance and fell while at an elevation of approximately 2,200 metres.

Alvarez graduated from St. David Catholic Secondary School and the engineering program at Conestoga College. She worked at St. Louis Bar and Grill in Waterloo for five years before moving to Italy last summer.

“If you had to design someone who had a perfect future ahead of them, Chelsea would be it,” said Cameron Macintyre, the restaurant’s owner.

“She was beautiful. She was brilliant. She was fun to be around.”

Alvarez was in Italy with her fiancé, Colin Behenna – a Waterloo resident in his first season playing professional hockey in Italy, after stints with the OHL’s Barrie Colts and the University of Waterloo.

She was a hockey player herself, first with the Waterloo Girls Minor Hockey Association and then on a boys’ team.

“(She) was very energetic and very excited to play hockey,” said WGMHA president Sandra Hanmer, whose daughter played with Alvarez on the Waterloo Ravens.

Alvarez’s brothers, who were visiting her in Italy along with her parents, were with her on the hiking trip.

With reporting by Carina Sledz