U.S. Ski Team Prospects Ronnie Berlack, Bryce Astle Killed In Avalanche
Two U.S. ski team prospects were killed in an avalanche in the Austrian Alps on Monday. 20-year-old Ronnie Berlack and 19-year-old Bryce Astle both died when their group of six skiers in Soelden, near the team’s European training base, reportedly set off an avalanche by leaving the designated slope. The other four individuals escaped without injury.
“It’s our worst nightmare come true,” veteran U.S. men’s ski team head coach Sasha Rearick told reporters. “We’ve never had a death of one of our athletes from an avalanche. “Unfortunately, there were no coaches with them at that time. There was a call, and people tried to dig them out.”
Berlack hailed from Franconia, New Hampshire. Astle came from Sandy, Utah. Both men were promising members of the developmental team that were thought to be on their way to World Cup competition level.
“Ronnie and Bryce were both outstanding ski racers who were passionate about their sport – both on the race course and skiing the mountain,” said U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association President and CEO Tiger Shaw. “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.”