Two members of the United States ski team have died after starting an avalanche in the Austrian Alps.
Ronnie Berlack of Franconia, N.H., and Bryce Astle of Sandy, Utah were among a group of six skiers descending from Mount Gaislachkogl — near the U.S. training base at Soelden — that triggered the avalanche after straying from the training path. While four members of the team managed to avoid the slide, Berlack, 20, and Astle, 19, were killed.
Team officials told the press the training area had been under an avalanche warning after mild temperatures and heavy snowfall hit the mountain just a few days prior.
U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President Tiger Shaw released a statement to the press.
“Ronnie and Bryce were both outstanding ski racers who were passionate about their sport — both on the race course and skiing the mountain,” Shaw said. “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.”