1. ITV Report

Tributes to 'outstanding' US ski racers who died in Austrian Alps avalanche

Tributes have been paid to two young ski racers who were killed in an avalanche in the Austrian Alps while training with the US development-level ski team.

Ronnie Berlack, 20, and Bryce Astle, 19, were caught by the avalanche while free-skiing in Soelden, in the Tyrol region,the US Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) said in a statement. Four other team members skiing with them survived.

Ronnie Berlack, 20. Credit: RTV

Berlack, from Franconia, New Hampshire, had been on the US development team since 2013 and Astle, from Sandy, Utah, had been invited to train with it this season. The Austrian broadcaster ORF said neither man was wearing avalanche emergency gear.

Ronnie and Bryce were both outstanding ski racers who were passionate about their sport – both on the race course and skiing the mountain.

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.

– Tiger Shaw, USSA President and CEO
Bryce Astle, 19. Credit: RTV

The danger level on the mountain at the time was rated at three on a scale of five, meaning there was a 'considerable' risk of avalanche, according to the Austrian news agency APA.