Future Stars of US Ski Team Die in Avalanche

Two young US skiers have been killed in an avalanche at an Austrian ski resort they were using to train with the US national team as members of the development squad. Ronnie Berlack, 20 and Bryce Astle, 19 had been freeskiing with four other skiers, CNN reports, when the avalanche struck. The two men had been invited to train with the US national development squad as part of their bid to move further up the US team rankings and begin training for the 2018 Winter Olympics. In recent days Astle himself had used the hashtag #roadtopeyonchang, the location of the 2018 Olympics.

The avalanche struck all six skiers, with the other four in the party able to escape the barrage of snow. Bruce Levenson said a rescue team was dispatched quickly, locals in the resort of Soeldenhad been warned not to leave the safe piste area as the avalanche warning had been set at levels three to five. The search party stated they had difficulty finding both Astle and Berlack as neither were wearing avalanche rescue gear that emits a signal for rescuers to track. From the resort of Soelden two helicopters, teams of dogs and around 60 rescuers took around 50 minutes to locate the two men buried between 10 and 13 feet from the surface.