U.S. skiers pay tribute to pair killed in avalanche

David Chodounsky

U.S. Olympic Alpine skiers Ted Ligety and David Chodounsky were among the competitors in a World Cup race Tuesday who honored the memories of two U.S. development-level skiers who died in an avalanche Monday.

Ronnie Berlack, 20, and Bryce Astle, 19, were killed while freeskiing in Soelden, Austria.

Ligety and Chodounsky skied with Berlack and Astle’s initials on their helmets in a World Cup slalom in Zagreb, Croatia. All seven U.S. skiers in the field were to wear black armbands.

“It’s super sad losing Ronnie and Bryce, those are two young, promising guys on our team,” Ligety told media in Zagreb. “A lot of us are definitely a little beat up about it.”

Ligety, a two-time Olympic champion, and Chodounsky, a Sochi Olympian, are the top two U.S. slalom skiers. Ligety said there was no thought about not competing Tuesday.

“They’re racers, they wanted to be out there skiing,” Ligety said. “They lost their lives skiing, so I think they would have wanted us to go on.”

Chodounsky was in third place after the first of two runs but skied out in his second run while attempting to make his first career World Cup podium. Ligety also failed to finish his second run. Austrian Marcel Hirscher won.

A moment of silence was held before racing started Tuesday afternoon in Croatia. The American flag at the finish was reported to fly at half-staff.

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