Jan 5, 2015 11:39 AM

2 US ski team prospects, including 1 from NH, die in avalanche in Austria

Staff and wire reports

SOELDEN, Austria (AP) - Two prospects from the U.S. ski team have been killed in an avalanche while skiing near their European training base in the Austrian Alps.

The U.S. ski team says Ronnie Berlack, 20, and Bryce Astle, 19, died Monday in the incident near Rettenbach glacier, the venue for the annual season-opening World Cup races.

Berlack and Astle were part of a group of six skiers who were descending from the 3,056-meter Gaislachkogel when they left the prepared slope and apparently set off the avalanche. The other four escaped unhurt.

Berlack was from Franconia and trained at Burke Mountain in Vermont.

He earned a spot on the U.S. Ski Team's Development Team following a spring 2013 tryout camp at Mammoth Mountain.

Officials in the Tyrolean region say avalanche alert had been declared for the area after days of heavy snowfall and mild temperatures.

U.S. Alpine director Patrick Riml says the team "is in shock."


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