Two prospective members of the U.S. Ski Team died in an avalanche near their European training base in Austria on Monday.
Ronnie Berlack and Bryce Astle were part of a group of six skiers training for the upcoming World Cup on a course in the mountains over Soelden when they triggered an avalanche. Four of the skiers veered off course and were uninjured but 20 year-old Berlack and 19 year-old Astle were tragically killed when they couldn’t escape the snow slide.
Both young men were part of a development team that had competed in the Europa Cup and hoping to compete at a higher level in the World Cup while training in the Austrian Alps. Officials had issued an avalanche alert for the area after significant snowfall and warm temperatures made conditions dangerous for skiers.
Members of the U.S. Ski Team have taken to Twitter to express their sadness at the loss of the two hopefuls and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Tiger Shaw sent condolences to the men’s families:
Ronnie and Bryce were both outstanding ski racers who were passionate about their sport — both on the race course and skiing the mountain. Our hearts go out to the Berlack and Astle families, as well as to their extended sport family. Both of them loved what they did and conveyed that to those around them.