Two Americans were killed on the slopes of the Austrian Alps Mountains when an avalanche erupted on Monday January 5. The two men were skiers and were training for an international competition. Ronnie Berlack, 20, of Franconia, N.H., and Bryce Astle, 19, of Sandy, Utah, were two of the rising stars in the sport of competitive skiing, but their career would sadly end when an avalanche that started nearby at the Rettenback Glacier engulfed the two.
Berlack and Astle were part of a ten-skier team, who were attempting to scale down the 10,026-foot mountainside of the Gaislachkogel Mountain. The skiers were all training and practicing for an International competition where they were going to represent the United States.
The area had been deemed hazardous of potential avalanches after a couple days of heavy snowfall, and when the two skiers started to descend the avalanche ignited.
It’s truly sad to see two passionate skiers meet their demise, by the one thing that brought them so much joy. Cindy Berlack, Ronnie’s mother, stated, “He absolutely loved skiing. It brought him alive. He worked so hard to get where he was.” She said that he started skiing at the extremely young age of two.
Tiger Shaw, the CEO and President of U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association shared his sympathy and compassion with the family by extending his condolences to the families. “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,” stated Shaw.
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