Two U.S. development-level Alpine skiers died in an avalanche while freeskiing in Soelden, Austria, on Monday.
Ronnie Berlack, 20, and Bryce Astle, 19, were killed while four others skied out of the slide, according to the U.S. Ski Team.
“Ronnie and Bryce were both outstanding ski racers who were passionate about their sport – both on the race course and skiing the mountain,” U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Tiger 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.”
Berlack, of New Hampshire and Vermont’s Burke Mountain Academy, was named to the U.S. Ski Team’s Development Team after a spring tryout camp. He placed 11th in the downhill and 17th in the super-G at the 2013 U.S. Alpine Championships.
Astle, of Utah, was 13th in the giant slalom at the 2014 U.S. Alpine Championships, the top junior finisher.
“It’s a shock for everybody,” U.S. Alpine director Patrick Riml said, according to The Associated Press. “Two great boys, great athletes, good skiers. They were fun to have around. We are all in shock, still. It’s very tragic.”