Monday, January 5, 2015

2 US Ski Team prospects die in Austrian mountain avalanche: Report

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.

Tyrolean officials said a level-three avalanche risk warning — out of five — had been declared in the area after warmer temperatures followed heavy snowfall in recent days.

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

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