Oh no! In heartbreaking news, two U.S. ski team prospects were killed in an avalanche in the Austrian Alps near their European training base on Jan. 5. Ronnie Berlack and Bryce Astle, tragically died while training near the Rettenbach glacier in the mountains over Soelden, Austria.
Bryce Astle, 19, from Salt Lake City and Ronald Berlack, 20, from Franconia, New Hampshire were part of a group of six skiers who were skiing above Soelden, which is the venue for the annual season-opening World Cup races. The group apparently left the groomed slope and inadvertently set off the avalanche. Read on for the sad details.
US Ski Team Prospects Dead: 2 Killed In Avalanche In Austrian Alps
Over 60 search and rescue team members launched an operation to find anyone caught in the avalanche, which officials had warned skiers to wary of for days due to the heavy snowfall and warm temperatures.
Fortunately the four other skiers were able to avoid the slide and escape unhurt.
“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.”
U.S. Ski Team ‘In Shock’ After Death Of Bryce Astle And Ronald Berlack
Alpine director Patrick Riml says the U.S. Ski Team is “in shock” over the tragedy.
“We are all very close,” says Patrick, an Austrian who was born and grew up in Soelden. “It’s a shock for everybody. Two great boys, great athletes, good skiers. They were fun to have around. We are all in shock, still. It’s very tragic.”
Ronnie and Bryce were part of a 10 skier development team which was preparing to race in the top-level World Cup.
Hollywoodlifers, we hope the U.S. ski team recover from this terrible loss.
— Tim Plant